Back 2 School Guide: Hardware and Accessories Tips

Summer is slowly but surely coming to an end. For many younger gamers in the Netherlands, this means that school will soon start again. That requires good preparation and the right equipment – ​​the kind that can also be useful outside of school. This guide offers some helpful tips for hardware and accessories to get the school year off to a good, relaxed start.

By: Luuc ten Velde

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Finding the right school supplies before studying starts is not easy. To make sure you don’t regret it afterwards, we’ll give you a helping hand with a guide who serves both gamer and student. From a powerful gaming PC that helps with the toughest school assignments to a Chromebook for all your lectures; everything you need is listed below.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

For many, a new school offers the opportunity to acquire new hardware. A laptop is currently the standard in higher education classrooms, and there are a lot of different types of models available. In any case, a laptop does not have to cost much, as the Lenovo Chromebook Duet proves. That is an excellent 2-in-1 Chromebook, which can also be used as a laptop.

Chromebooks are known for limited hardware power, but that’s not a problem for most school applications. You can arrange all your school affairs via Google’s cloud programs, making them available everywhere. The Chromebook is ideal for taking notes, keeping your calendar and video calling, as is writing reports and taking digital lessons.

Especially the cost makes this Lenovo device attractive, because you pay less than 300 euros for it. This way you have money left over for other useful school matters.

Build Game PC

With the money you save by choosing the Chromebook above, you still have a lot of budget left to build a powerful PC for any heavier school work and – of course – games. Think of video and photo editing in programs from Adobe Suite.

We have already explained how exactly you build a gaming PC, but the question is of course whether the prices for components are reasonable again. Because of the chip shortages, it has been cheaper in recent years to take a pre-built one. In the meantime, prices have dropped somewhat again, making building a gaming PC yourself once again feasible. This way you can choose the best specifications to run all heavy programs as well as fine gaming in the highest quality.

For just under 1900 euros you can find fantastic assemblies that exceed the performance of many pre-built devices. A combination of the Intel Core i5-12400 processor and the ASUS Prime B660-PLUS D4 LGA 1700 ATX motherboard is a good basis for this. As a graphics card, the Gigabyte Aorus GeForce RTX 3080 Master 12G is the most convenient to get in combination with the Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 X 8GB) DDR4 3600 MHz as RAM memory.

A good power source cannot be missing for the gaming PC. Excellent efficiency makes the Evga SuperNOVA 850 Ga, 80 Plus Gold 850W a top choice. Storage memory still has to be arranged, in which the freedom of choice is somewhat greater. Western Digital and Samsung have excellent options, but the Crucial P2 1TB 3D NAND NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD is also recommended thanks to the read and write speeds of up to 2400MB/1900MB per second respectively.

Everything then still has to be in a PC cabinet, in which there is again the possibility to play in the choice. However, the Corsair 4000D is the smartest choice. It has a handy way to hide the cables, while the airflow is also good and the parts do not heat up as quickly. Upgrading in the future is of course also a pleasant side effect, when new video cards appear, for example.

Accessories for PC

Just don’t forget that in addition to the desktops you built yourself, you still need a monitor, mouse and keyboard. The LG UltraGear 32GP850 is highly recommended, even though the monitor was released in May 2021. Not only is it very affordable thanks to various price drops, but also ideal in terms of specifications. The screen contains a good IPS panel and has a refresh rate of 180 Hz. The balance between response times and signal overshoot is also excellent, while the color setting is also fine.

In terms of mouse, there is only one recommendation that is both nice for gaming and work, and that is the Logitech MX Master Mouse 3. This mouse offers both fantastic grip for gaming and a second wheel for scrolling, which is useful for programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Excel.

On the other hand, you can also go for the cheaper option with the Logitech Lightspeed G305. You can always easily tuck this light mouse away in your backpack, making it just a little easier to work from school. The mouse is also equipped with a bluetooth connection and has six programmable buttons. It is not without reason that well-known streamer Shroud received a special version of the mouse: this was also his favorite PC accessory for the successful esports player.

For a keyboard it is better to ignore the well-known brands. While those are good, there are often cheaper options that also look stylish. In it, the Ducky One 3 and Keychron K2-V2 stand out as good options. The former stands out for its fantastic design, while the Keychron with its wireless function sets the new standard for affordable mechanical keyboards. The latter also has a version with low profile keycaps that are ergonomically a lot nicer for the long term.

Regardless of the choice, a keyboard is a must if you’re building a gaming PC. Making a stylish choice may well be, while these mechanical keyboards have another big advantage. They are easy to carry when you use the Keychron wirelessly. You can also easily release the keys to clean the keyboard, which is guaranteed to be necessary after intense use.

Razer Blackshark V2

You could classify a good gaming headset as accessories for the PC, but that is not quite the case with the Razer Blackshark V2. This model can also be used via a 3.5mm connection on, for example, a Nintendo Switch. Yet the focus is mainly on PC use and that is where the Blackshark V2 excels the most.

The headset has a sleek design and fantastic audio, all without paying a premium. That’s great, because Razer has managed to pump 7.1 surround sound into the headset, while maintaining comfort for longer playing sessions. The fact that the headset also has noise canceling can be seen as icing on the cake. This also allows you to focus well while studying.

Of course, the headset is equipped with a good microphone. You can use these during the virtual lessons or discussions with your study group. The fact that you can find the headset for less than 80 euros makes it perhaps the best deal in this guide.

Alternative PC Option: Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

If a powerful PC for school is really a requirement, then the above combination of a gaming PC and Chromebook is not an option. If you need computing power in school, it is better to opt for a gaming laptop. Then you often just can’t see the forest for the trees. In 2022, the best choice is the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro from earlier this year. After all, you choose an affordable option with high-end specs on which you can play for years.

The combination of an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H processor and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 graphics card is a good example of this. These are only available with the most expensive model, which also comes with 32GB of RAM. Titles like Red Dead Redemption 2, Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered and Elden Ring run fine – with a 1440p resolution on an IPS display with a 165Hz refresh rate.

Nintendo Switch Oled

If you don’t have to choose the alternative PC option, there is one more recommendation that you can put in your bag as standard: a Nintendo Switch. Nintendo’s hybrid console fits easily in any bag and after more than five years on the market, there are countless games that are worth playing. Almost every genre has top titles that run like a charm. In addition, the OLED model has a nicer screen, which makes colors stand out better.

If you are not a fan of Nintendo, there is an alternative option. The Steam Deck was released earlier this year and immediately gives you the option to play all your Steam titles in handheld form. Unfortunately, the queue of the handheld is very long, so you no longer have a chance to get it before the start of the school year, unless you manage to score a second-hand copy through Marktplaats.

Great start to the school year

With the above hardware tips you can start the school year with a flying start. There is a choice for every education, while you can find a new group of friends with the Switch. You can do a good job at school and play nice games at home with your new setup: the best of both worlds.

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