Back-To-School PC Guide: Work Hard, Play Harder


Tis the season to think about going back to school! We've already touched on some great Mac devices to take back as well as some great accessories for your laptop or desktop, but we had yet to dig into great back-to-school laptops and desktops... until today! Our champions have four stellar recommendations for a wide range of needs. From budget-friendly gaming to portable productivity, we've got you covered! And if you don't see your exact need, stop by your local Micro Center - our associates will be happy to help you find your perfect back-to-school PC!

We'll kick it off with Ron's recommendation that doubles as a quick explainer of all the core computer components!

Acer Aspire 5 15 A515-58MT-70H4 15.6" Laptop Computer - Steel Gray - @ronwoodson

Hey there, future world changers! You're probably gearing up for the new academic year, and one question that's likely on your mind is: "What's the best laptop for my major?" Well, if you're on the hunt for a laptop that offers maximum power without breaking the bank (and let's face it, who isn't?), we've got a recommendation that's right up your alley - the Acer Aspire 5 15 A515-58MT-70H4. This isn't a gaming beast, but rather a high-performance, cost-effective workhorse that's perfect for a wide range of collegiate disciplines.

First off, the Acer Aspire 5 15 is a snappy-looking laptop sporting a cool steel gray color. It runs on Windows 11 Home and features a 15.6" full HD widescreen LED-backlit IPS touch display. This means that not only will your visuals be crisp and sharp, but you'll also have the convenience of a touchscreen at your fingertips (literally!). But that's just the surface, let's dive deeper.

At its heart, this laptop is powered by a 13th Gen Intel Core i7 processor that clocks in at 1.2GHz and can turbo boost up to a whopping 5.0GHz. If the CPU is the brain of the computer, a turbo-boosted CPU is like having a super-smart brain that can think faster and process more information simultaneously. So, whether you're running complex simulations for your engineering course or editing a short film for your multimedia project, this laptop is ready to assist.

The Aspire 5 15 comes with a generous 32GB of onboard LPDDR5 RAM. Think of RAM as the space on your desk where you spread out all the books, papers, and tools you're currently using. The more RAM you have, the larger your "desk" and the more things you can work on at the same time without feeling cluttered. With 32GB of RAM, you can run multiple heavy-duty applications simultaneously without a hitch. For example, with 32GB of RAM, the Aspire 5 15 A515-58MT-70H4 provides ample memory space for today's virtual machine engineering operations, which can be memory-intensive, enabling smoother execution and better performance of RiSC and stack-based programs.

Graphics-wise, the Aspire 5 15 is equipped with Intel Iris Xe Graphics. That handles all the visuals, animations, and images. While it's not a high-end dedicated graphics card usually seen in gaming rigs, it's still pretty capable. If you're dabbling in light 3D modeling for your engineering designs or rendering animations for your multimedia class, this can handle it decently well.

The laptop also features a colossal 1TB Solid State Drive (SSD) for storage. That's plenty of room to store all your coursework, projects, programs, and even a sizable media library. And since it's an SSD, you can expect faster load and transfer times compared to traditional hard drives.

On the connectivity front, the Aspire 5 15 is well-equipped with the latest Wi-Fi 6E 802.11ax for lightning-fast wireless connections, and Bluetooth 5.1 for all your peripheral devices. With multiple USB ports and an HDMI port, you're all set for presentations, external storage, and peripheral devices.

Additionally, the laptop boasts a backlit keyboard (perfect for late-night study sessions), a multi-gesture touchpad, and an array of smart tech features like Hyper-Threading Technology, Intel Speed Shift Technology, and Intel Deep Learning Boost to name a few. These all contribute to enhancing the overall performance and user experience.

All in all, the Acer Aspire 5 15 A515-58MT-70H4 is an excellent, budget-friendly choice for students seeking a powerful, feature-rich laptop that won't burn a hole in their pocket (SKU: 556951 | $799.99). Whether you're an engineer designing the next green technology, an animator bringing characters to life, a content creator influencing the digital space, or just a power user who needs a reliable machine, this laptop is a versatile companion that's ready to take on the challenge.

Now, go forth and conquer your academic year with the right tech by your side!

HP ProBook 450 G9 15.6" Laptop Computer - Silver - @Julia_V

The HP ProBook 450 G9, with its long battery life, excellent specifications, and sturdy chassis, is an excellent option for those that are looking for a back-to-school laptop. The ProBook 450 G9 is perfect for students that are looking to use word processing software, create presentations, and need to study on the go. 

The HP ProBook is a business-grade machine that features a 12th Generation Intel i7-1255U processor, 16GB of memory, and a large 1TB Solid State Drive. Battery life is excellent thanks to the power-efficient U-series Intel Processor, giving the user up to 10 hours with one charge. As this sort of machine is mainly used for creating and storing text files and PDF documents, I have no doubts that it will last several years with the massive 1TB drive. The Probook also has a wide range of connectivity options, with 3 high-speed USB 3.1 ports, an HDMI port, a fast USB-C port, and even the option for wired ethernet. The laptop can easily be hooked up to an external projector or monitor, and plugging in peripherals such as a wireless mouse and keyboard to the laptop is a breeze. Its 15-inch Full HD Anti-glare touchscreen display makes it easy to open multiple browser windows or applications to maximize productivity. More often than not, I find that students often use their laptops as much, if not more, than people that use their laptops for work. The business-quality chassis will be able to handle any online classes, online textbooks, and having to submit writing online over several years of school to come.

G516PowerSpec G516 Gaming PC - @Lambdaben

Whether you're looking for the ultimate gaming experience or the ultimate college workstation, the Powerspec G516 has you covered. Featuring the powerful, Micro Center exclusive AMD Ryzen 5 5600X3D, this is a desktop that is ready for school work and the much-needed breaks in between assignments. This beast of a CPU boasts 6 cores and 12 threads, delivering impressive performance and unrivaled multitasking capabilities. Paired with the AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT graphics card, you'll witness breathtaking visuals and seamless gameplay at max settings. Whether you're conquering the latest AAA titles or diving into creative projects, this PC build ensures you stay ahead of the curve.

With a swift 16GB of RAM, multitasking becomes a breeze, allowing you to run multiple applications effortlessly, like Word while you wait for your next round of Valorant to load. Say goodbye to long boot times, as the 500GB NVMe solid-state drive guarantees quick boot-ups and snappy performance. The ASRock B550M-C motherboard provides a reliable and feature-rich foundation, while the 650W Gold power supply ensures efficient and stable power delivery, reducing the risk of unexpected crashes during those intense gaming sessions.

Assembled with meticulous attention to detail, the Powerspec G516 is a masterpiece that balances power, efficiency, and affordability. Experience gaming like never before, where every frame comes to life, and never worry "can my computer run this class-required program" again! Don't miss out on the opportunity to elevate your college setup with our AMD Ryzen 5 5600X3D, AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT, and cutting-edge components that guarantee an unforgettable journey. Upgrade your gaming arsenal today!

(We recently published a full review of the PowerSpec G516, if you want to know more!)

Acer Aspire 5 Spin A5SP14-51MTN-74SB 14" 2-in-1 Laptop Computer - Steel Gray - @tbarggs

If you’re looking for a recommendation for a great back-to-school computer, the Acer Aspire 5 Spin is a fantastic option. It boasts an Intel i7 13th Gen processor, 16 GB of RAM, & 1TB of storage. These specs make it perfect for back to school as it will handle any school needs ranging from word processing to watching videos! On top of the already great specs, it also is a 2-in-1 with a touchscreen. This means that it can be flipped over and used as a tablet, and it comes with a built-in pen which is great for handwriting notes.

This laptop is very portable and lightweight, which makes it a perfect machine for back to school. You don’t want to be lugging around a huge laptop for everyday use! This laptop also has an HDMI port, so if the 14” screen seems a bit small for your needs, you can still plug it into a bigger monitor to use when you’re at home or in your dorm. Overall, this machine is great for school and is a great recommendation for anyone looking for an easy-to-use, no-frills laptop!

More from the Micro Center Community:

Looking for more information about tech buying? We’ve got Community sections dedicated to buying guides and reviews, as well as buying guides for Back-To-School Computers and Build-Your-Own Computers. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to post a new discussion and the Community will be happy to help!


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