The best gaming system for schools is a very important bit of kit as it can be the difference between a flourishing student esports offering and a waste of money. Yup, get this wrong and you could end up with computers that aren't powerful enough for gaming but are overkill for day-to-day use.
As esports competitive gaming continues to grow, more and more research is revealing just how beneficial it can be for education. From improved STEM and social skills to great opportunities in new career sectors, there's lots to be gained. But like any new program, it costs money to acquire and maintain gaming systems.
- How to Build an Inclusive Esports Community
- Esports: How to Get Started with Cloud Gaming
- How Esports Can Support Equity
From K-12 to higher ed, there are more and more esports leagues creating a place for gamers to find community, challenge themselves, and build social skills. While many students who take an interest may already have a way to game online at home, having a setup at school is an important part of offering a dedicated gaming program.
So which are the best machines to get your school up and running? Even though there are plenty of leagues to pick from, until you have the hardware to play, there's little point in trying to join.
One great option is to set students to the task of building gaming systems, making that a part of the education experience. If that seems too much of a pressure on your tech department, then buying systems might be easier.
So here are the best gaming systems for esports in schools, not only complete systems but also the key parts that make for a good setup.
Best PC Gaming System for Schools
Dell G5 Gaming Desktop
One of the top-end gaming PC systems, which remains far more affordable than most, is the Dell G5 Gaming Desktop. This is a single desktop tower-style computer that's powered by a future-proof 9th Gen Intel Core i3 at the basic end or up to an i7 if you can afford more power. Though with the backing of 8GB of RAM as a minimum and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics processor, even the most basic setup will handle all games with ease.
Of course, you can always lower the graphics to play more intense games in the future, meaning this will last. But for the foreseeable future this offers more than enough power to handle any gaming challenge your students wish to take on. You will still need to pair it with all the other kit to get gaming. More on that below.
Asus VP228HE gaming monitor
The important part is the gaming machine, as previously mentioned. The monitor, while also important, doesn't require the same investment. For example, 4K gaming screens aren't really needed to help a student have an effective online match. Lag time can be more important but with the Asus VP228HE that's covered.
This monitor offers a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution, 60Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time on a 21.5-inch screen. Alright that's not the largest, but with most students playing close to the screen, it's plenty. This is one of the most affordable monitors you can buy and it will get the job done well. Save money here and invest that in the best desktop machine you can afford to go the distance.
Dell G7 15 Gaming Laptop
One way to avoid the expense of a desktop machine, display, keyboard, and mouse all separately, is to go for a gaming laptop. This also means the freedom to move rooms, use for other classes, and to allow students to take on tournament visits or to practice at home, if needed.
The Dell G7 15 is an affordable yet very powerful option that should see you through for a good few years of use. You get Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics, a large 15.6-inch display, and a LED keyboard, all of which weighs in at a go-anywhere friendly 5.5 pounds.
Kingston HyperX Cloud Alpha Pro Gaming Headset
A gaming headset is often classed as an optional extra in a gaming setup. But for the real benefits of esports in schools, you'll want your students setup for vocal interaction. This is a very top-end model with a lower-than-most price. Yes, there are cheaper options out there, but then again, any headphones with a mic can do the job – we're laying out the best gaming dedicated options here for you.
This investment gets you a dual-chamber design that results in deep bass notes and superb highs without distortion. It's also made with an aluminum frame, meaning it's solid and built to last.
Logitech G512 Gaming Keyboard
The Logitech G512 gaming keyboard is a fully fledged mechanical affair. That aluminum-magnesium alloy construction means it's built to last the violent button bashing that a gaming session will deal out. Since it will be getting a lot of use, across many students and years, it's a great choice for those who want to invest in something that will last.
On top of that, this is built for gaming with multicolored backlit keys that have three mechanical settings, including clicky and tactile feedback. It also has a USB pass-through allowing you to run the mouse through this – meaning students can bring their own and easily plug in if needed. It also makes for easy charging for a device such as a smartphone – a very welcoming feature for students.
Razer Abyssus Essential Gaming Mouse
Gaming specialist Razer offers a do-it-all gaming mouse in the Abyssus Essential that, as the name suggests, doesn't break the bank. This affordable option doesn't scrimp on features with LED lighting, adjustable weights, and a good selection of buttons.
Plus, no worries about customizations, as with more high-end gaming mouse options. You can save a few bucks here while also saving on the hassle of managing and handling more complex devices.
Best Handheld Gaming System for Schools
One great way to keeping gaming simple, affordable, and easy to share is to get a handheld console. The Nintendo Switch is a prime example as it can be plugged into a display for big screen gaming or used on the go with its built-in screen. Up to four players can game at the same time locally, making it a great option for in-school gaming if a network connection is a problem.
Since many students may already own this console, it's a great way to integrate with what's already there, allowing those students who can't afford one to join in. Switch games aren't cheap, but since it is super simple to use, savings come on maintenance in the long term.
Aside from gaming, the Nintendo Switch also offers plenty of educational titles, and allows students to compete in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a very widely played and popular esports game unavailable outside the Nintendo world.