Gaming has become a huge part of many people’s lives all across the globe. However, desktop gaming PCs and consoles are solely designed for players who wish to play games in the comfort of their homes.
But, for college students, travelers, or those who want to game on the go, there are powerful portable gaming laptops that are comparable to high-end desktop PCs. With regards to performance, most gaming laptops today are more powerful than consoles and are even more powerful than some desktop gaming PCs.
In addition, it is not just the performance that makes gaming laptops a great buy, but it is also the portability. Besides school, these gaming laptops are also great for work, surfing the web, Microsoft Office, and even video editing as they sport extremely powerful CPUs, GPUs, and display resolutions.
Gaming laptops for college students should be versatile. Not only should these machines be good enough for day-to-day tasks such as completing homework and assignments; but gaming laptops should also have good power, durability, and thermal solution (cooling) to support the various game titles such as Battlefield 5, PUBG, Fortnite, and more.
Therefore, if you are a college student or traveler in search of a gaming laptop that can replace your desktop PC, the laptops below are what you should be considering.
- Gaming Laptop Guide for College Students
- Best Gaming Laptops for College Students:
- Razer Blade 15 RTX Gaming Laptop
- GIGABYTE AERO 15-X9-RT5P Gaming Laptop
- ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Slim Gaming Laptop
- Acer Predator Triton 500 PT515-51-71VV Gaming Laptop
- MSI GV63 8SE-014 Gaming Laptop
- HP OMEN 15-dc0030nr Gaming Laptop
- Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop
- ASUS TUF FX504 Gaming Laptop
- MSI GV62 8RD-200 Gaming Laptop
- HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15-cx0056wm Gaming Laptop
Gaming Laptop Guide for College Students:
In choosing a laptop, college students should consider the following performance factors:
College students are always on the go so the common misconception is that the smaller the laptop screen, the better it is for them. This may be the case for some college students but for those looking to play games, a bigger screen is always ideal.
A 15.6-inch screen is considered the sweet spot for gaming laptops. Thickness would be around an inch or so and the weight should be less than 5 pounds. This allows you to carry around the laptop without it being too heavy, while the 15.6-inch screen is big enough to immerse you during gameplay.
While gaming laptops powered by an Intel Core i5 processor are good enough for gaming, it’s recommended that college students look for one with at least an Intel Core i7 CPU. You would get better performance not only when playing AAA titles but also when multitasking.
From browsing the Internet to preparing a PowerPoint presentation to video editing, college students will find a Core i7-based laptop more powerful and faster for their day-to-day tasks.
Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
The GTX 1050 and 1050ti are good enough for most gaming laptops but college students who want better graphical performance out of their laptops should look for one with a GTX 1060 or better GPU especial around the $1000 or greater price range.
College students should also find a laptop with at least 8GB of RAM though you should opt for a 16GB laptop or better if you can. More RAM means more applications that can run at the same time.
Good gaming laptops today should have a bare minimum screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It’d be nice to score a gaming laptop with 4K resolution and or Nvidia g-sync technology if you can, but that would also mean a higher price tag.
While most college students would opt to stay plugged in when playing games, the fact is that there would always be times when they don’t have access to an outlet. Therefore, it’s essential to find a gaming laptop with a good battery life of at least 4 hours.
The rating of the battery, which is expressed either in milliamp-hours (mAh) or watt-hours, can also be indicative of the battery life. The rule is simple– the higher the figures are, the longer-lasting the battery is.
Gaming laptops with both solid state drive (SDD) and hard disc drive (HDD) are idea these days, especially for college students. You can put your Operating system, apps, and one or two of your favorite games on the SSD for much faster load times. While putting your larger games and files such as Grand Theft Auto, documents, photos, and other large files on the HDD.
Thermal Solution (Cooling)
As mentioned earlier, Core i7 and i5 based laptops combined with their GPU and other components produce large amounts of energy as heat when gaming, which can be a concern especially for the safety of those components and those who like to use their laptops on their laps most of the time.
Thus, it is critical to look for a gaming laptop with a great cooling solution to keep the temperatures manageable even during intense gaming situations.
Best Gaming Laptops for College Students:
These Laptops are sorted from most expensive to cheapest. They are the best college gaming laptops in their respective price range.
Razer Blade 15 RTX
CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H 2.2GHz | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q 8GB | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD
Dimensions: 9.25 x 13.98 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 4.63 pounds
Razer is a household name in the gaming industry, but their Blade 15 RTX is far from a typical gaming laptop. Thanks to the CNC machined unibody and slim bezels, it’s one of the smallest 15.6” gaming laptops, making it a great option for college students.
You can throw it in a backpack and not even feel it’s there. It’s built like a tank, and it will endure daily college use. Specs are as good as they can be – six-core Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.
There’s nothing lacking in terms of specs, and the Blade 15 can take whatever you can throw at it. It also comes with Razer’s Vapor Chamber cooling system which promises to keep temps down even when the laptop is under load. The battery should last up to 6 hours, which may get you through the day, depending on how long your day is.
In short, the Razer Blade 15 RTX is a portable and powerful gaming laptop that’s ideal for most college students. If you can afford it, this is the ultimate college laptop.
- Six-core CPU up to 4.1GHz
- Powerful RTX graphics
- 512GB solid state drive
- CNC machined metal unibody guarantees durability
- Extremely slim bezels and thin body make it extremely portable
- Per-key RGB lighting with Razer Chroma support
- NVMe SSD
GIGABYTE AERO 15-X9-RT5P Gaming Laptop
CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H 2.2GHz | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 8GB | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB SSD
Dimensions: 14 x 9.8 x 0.74 inches | Weight: 4.49 pounds
GIGABYTE is a well-known manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, but not a lot of people know that they make some impressive gaming laptops. Their AERO 15 is an excellent blend of portability and power, which is why the high price is very much justified.
The specs are as impressive as you’d expect – Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card, 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a massive, 1TB M.2 SSD. However, it’s not just the specs that make this laptop a great option for college – it’s the battery life and chassis.
It’s made with a metal chassis, making it durable even if you do throw it in the backpack every day. The battery should last up to 8 hours, which is enough to get you through a day in college. To round out the package, you also get a 144Hz refresh rate IPS panel that’s been Pantone certified for color calibration.
This isn’t just a great laptop for college and gaming – you can do some graphically accurate work on it as well.
- Six-core CPU
- RTX graphics card
- 2 NVMe PCIe SSD
- Metal chassis that’s built to last
- Up to 8 hours of battery life
- X-Rite Pantone certified display with a 1080p resolution and 144Hz refresh rate
- RGB backlit keyboard
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Slim Gaming Laptop
CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H 2.2GHz | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 8GB | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD
Dimensions: 14.2 x 10.6 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 4.63 pounds
There’s a reason why gaming laptops and college laptops often aren’t the same thing. Gaming laptops are often heavy and thick, making them very impractical for carrying around in a backpack. This is where ASUS’s Republic of Gamers Zephyrus S comes in.
It comes in at 4.63 pounds and only 0.6 inches thick, making it very portable, and it’s built out of military-grade magnesium alloy. The portability doesn’t impact its specs or performance – it’s still a beast. With a six-core Intel Core i7-8750H and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070, it can handle pretty much anything you throw at it.
With less demanding games, it will easily push the 144 frames per second to match the full HD IPS panel’s 144Hz refresh rate. For all of your multitasking needs, you’ll get 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and you can store your OS, apps, and games on the super-fast 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD.
- Ultra-thin and light magnesium alloy chassis for maximum portability
- Six-core CPU that turbos up to 4.1GHz
- Ray tracing graphics card by Nvidia
- 144Hz refresh rate IPS display
- RGB keyboard with AuraSync support
Acer Predator Triton 500 PT515-51-71VV Gaming Laptop
CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H 2.2GHz | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 6GB | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD
Dimensions: 14.11 x 10.04 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 4.63 pounds
The Triton 500 gaming laptop is a significant step up from the Helios 300 below. It does cost considerably more, but it improves on every aspect of the Helios 300.
The CPU is the Intel Core i7-8750H, but you get a much better graphics card – the Nvidia RTX 2060 Max P. It’s very powerful and more than capable to push games to the display’s maximum 144Hz refresh rate. To help with multitasking, you have 16GB of DDR4 RAM.
Last but not least, you can store your OS, your most used apps, as well as quite a bit of game on the 512GB SSD that’s inside the Triton. The whole laptop is cooled with three fans, one of which is a 4th Gen AeroBlade 3D, as well as five copper heat pipes which keep temperatures to a minimum.
- Six-core CPU and a turbo frequency of up to 4.1GHz
- RTX graphics card with ray tracing technology
- Extremely fast 144Hz refresh rate display with a 3ms response time
- Amazing cooling system with 3 fans and 5 copper heat pipes
- Great for multitasking with 16GB of RAM
- Super-fast PCIe NVMe storage
MSI GV63 8SE-014 Gaming Laptop
CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H 2.2GHz | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-P 6GB | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB HDD & 256GB SSD
Dimensions: 15.07 x 10.23 x 1.16 inches | Weight: 4.8 lbs
The MSI GV63 comes with an impressive build quality and brand reputation, including significantly more powerful hardware then the GV62 below. Sure, there’s a price increase, but once you see what’s inside, it’s more than worth it.
The brain is Intel’s six-core Core i7-8750H CPU, running at a base frequency of 2.2GHz with a turbo of up to 4.1GHz. This is the first laptop in our list with Nvidia’s new ray tracing graphics cards, namely the RTX 2060 6GB. It’s a great GPU that should easily handle even demanding AAA titles and push them at high framerates.
You’ll be able to see those framerates, thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time full HD display, which also boasts 100% sRGB coverage and wide viewing angles. 16GB of DDR4 RAM (upgradeable up to 32GB), a 256GB NVMe SSD and a 1TB hard drive round out this fantastic college/gaming laptop.
- Six-core Intel Core i7 CPU
- Ray tracing-enabled graphics card by Nvidia
- 120Hz refresh rate display with a 3ms response time
- Excellent cooling system with two fans, two exhausts, and six copper heat pipes
- Nahimic 3 Digital 7.1 Audio Enhancer system
- 16GB of RAM for multitasking, upgradeable to 32GB
HP OMEN 15-dc0030nr Gaming Laptop
CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H 2.2GHz | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB HDD & 128GB SSD
Dimensions: 10.35 x 14.17 x 1.02 inches | Weight: 5.56 pounds
We praised HP for their OMEN gaming lineup, and we have one of their laptops in our roundup. It’s the HP OMEN 15 gaming laptop, which is a powerhouse that’s more than enough for all of your college tasks, and you can easily game on it, regardless of the games you play.
The performance is taken care of by Intel’s six-core i7-8750H CPU and Nvidia’s GTX 1060 graphics card in a 6GB VRAM variant. You can easily reach the display’s 60Hz in any game, with the settings at high, or ultra with less demanding titles.
The display is a 15.6” IPS panel with a resolution of 1920x1080p. There’s 16GB of RAM, which is upgradeable with two slots that are easy to reach. There are two storage options – a very fast 128GB PCIe NVMe SSD, for your OS and a game or two, and a 1TB conventional hard drive for everything else.
- Intel Core i7 six-core CPU
- 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card
- 16GB of RAM for all your multitasking needs
- Two storage options – a fast one for your OS, and a hard drive for multimedia storage
- RGB backlit keyboard with independent zones
- Up to 6 hours of battery life
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop
CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H 2.2GHz | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 256GB SSD
Dimensions: 10.47 x 15.35 x 1.05 inches | Weight: 5.51 pounds
The Helios 300 is Acer’s midrange gaming laptop. It improves on every component of the laptops below, and it’s well worth its asking price.
To begin with, you have a six-core CPU, Intel’s Core i7-8750H which runs at 2.2GHz, and can turbo up to 4.1GHz. It’s an excellent CPU for gaming and college work, as well as productivity. The graphics card is another GTX 1060 by Nvidia, but this time it’s the variant with 6GB of VRAM, compared to the 3GB one in the ASUS TUF.
The memory also sees an upgrade, as we have 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and you again get a 256GB NVMe SSD. Another great feature of the Helios 300 is the full HD IPS panel which has a 144Hz refresh rate.
- Six-core Intel i7 CPU
- Nvidia GTX graphics card
- 16GB of RAM is more than enough for multitasking
- Fast NVMe storage drive
- Full HD display with a 144Hz refresh rate for an excellent gaming experience
ASUS TUF FX504 Gaming Laptop
ASUS has their Republic of Gamers lineup, which we’ll discuss earlier, but the TUF FX504 is a part of their more affordable series. It’s still an excellent gaming laptop with quite a lot going for it.
Gaming performance is better than both of the laptops we just spoke about, thanks to Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card. Intel’s Core i5-8300H quad-core CPU makes a third appearance, solidifying itself as a great midrange gaming CPU.
8GB of RAM should be enough for multitasking, and you have 256GB of extremely fast storage in the form of an M.2 SSD. The display is a full HD IPS-level display with a 3ms response time.
- Quad-core Intel CPU
- Nvidia GTX graphics card
- Fast, 3ms response time display
- Very fast M.2 storage
- Full-size backlit keyboard
MSI GV62 8RD-200 Gaming Laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5-8300H 2.3GHz | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 1TB HDD & 16GB Intel Optane
Dimensions: 15.07 x 10.23 x 1.16 inches | Weight: 4.8 lbs
The GV62 gaming laptop is MSI’s entry-level model in their lineup, as its price is considerably cheaper than the other gaming laptops in this article.
Aside from the brand reputation and build quality, the inclusion of Intel’s Optane memory is another great aspect of this laptop. The 16GB Optane memory will automatically see which apps or games you run most often and make sure they load as fast as possible.
Additionally, you also get the fairly powerful Intel Core i5-8300H processor, as well as the 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. You’ll get 8GB of RAM, as well as a 1TB storage drive. You are somewhat paying for the brand name, but you also get an excellent build quality and a reputable brand behind it.
- Quad-core Intel CPU
- 4GB graphics card
- Excellent build quality
- Intel Optane memory
- Full-size backlit keyboard made by Steelseries
HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15-cx0056wm Gaming Laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5-8300H 2.3GHz | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 1TB HDD
Dimensions: 14.37 x 10.1 x 1 inches | Weight: 4.85 pounds
Even though not a part of their Omen gaming lineup, the HP Pavilion 15-cx0056wm is a great gaming laptop. This specific model comes with Intel’s Core i5-8300H processor, which is a quad-core CPU running at a frequency of 2.3GHz. It can also turbo up to 4GHz, which makes it excellent for almost any kind of workload.
The graphics side of things is taken care of by Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 Ti in a 4GB variant, which is a decent gaming graphics card. The laptop is good for not very demanding games such as Fortnite, Apex Legends, Rainbow Six Siege, and more.
There’s 8GB of DDR4 RAM, running at 2,666Mhz. The 1TB hard drive, even though not too fast, should store plenty of games. All in all, a great laptop for the price.
- Quad-core Intel CPU
- Graphics card with 4GB of VRAM
- Full HD IPS anti-glare display
- Full-size backlit keyboard