As a new term begins at university – or you’ve settled back in at school or college, you might be looking for a new laptop which can tackle not just coursework and the like, but also provide some downtime with demanding gaming sessions. And naturally you’ll want something portable, too. Nobody wants to lug a bulky or heavy notebook around campus with them, or anywhere else for that matter.
In the past, these different needs would work against each other. A high-performing notebook would be a larger, heftier machine, simply because manufacturers couldn’t fit more powerful, chunkier components inside a thinner laptop chassis.
However, the good news is that these days, laptop tech has moved on considerably, and a truly surprising amount of power can be packed into a thin-and-light laptop – with Nvidia leading the way on the graphics front in this respect with its latest GeForce RTX and GTX mobile GPUs.
These Turing-based graphics cards are very impressive performers, delivering close to desktop PC levels of GPU performance in neatly compact laptops, and therefore offering some potentially major cost-savings.
Cost-savings? How does that work? Well, let’s imagine that you decide to go for a cheap bottom-of-the-range laptop for your work at uni or college. Such a model will be nowhere near capable of gaming, so if you want to enjoy some Fortnite or Borderlands 3 in your downtime, then you’re looking at also buying a separate desktop PC for gaming.
And when you add up the cost of a decent desktop gaming rig and a basic notebook, it’s likely to be far more expensive than getting a good laptop with a capable Nvidia GPU which can handle work, gaming, and indeed anything else you throw at it.
Not only this, but you also get all those portability advantages, as a slim notebook is dead easy to take round to a friend’s place, or indeed to a LAN party. A big old desktop rig? Not so much…
Furthermore, there’s another reason why Nvidia is a leading player in laptop graphics, and that’s the company’s innovative Max-Q technology.
Max-Q is essentially Nvidia’s way of optimising the design and power requirements of the graphics solution inside a laptop – inspired by NASA engineering, no less – allowing a powerful gaming notebook to be even slimmer.
There are other benefits of Max-Q, as well, one of which is that it helps devices to run quietly, with no loud fans or other potential sources of noise pollution that could disrupt an environment like a library or lecture hall.
Even when tackling demanding gaming sessions, this tech helps to keep noise levels down, so while you might be piloting an F-15 in a virtual world, your laptop won’t be making any convincingly realistic impressions of your fighter’s jet engines (unlike some gaming laptops we’ve used in the past).
There’s a final good reason to consider taking the plunge with a GeForce-powered laptop, and that’s some of the deals available on these machines right now. There are lots of top-notch laptops suitable for students with some impressive discounts lopped off, so to give you some inspiration, let’s highlight a few models.
Check out these machines (some of which use Max-Q technology) which are currently being offered in mighty tempting ‘back to uni’ deals which boast up to £300 off.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G
First up is the Asus ROG Zephyrus G GA502DU, a gaming notebook which runs with an AMD Ryzen 7 3750H quad-core processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (6GB) graphics card that utilises Max-Q technology.
Those core components are backed up with a healthy 16GB of system RAM, and a seriously quick 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD for storage. The 15.6-inch Full HD display has a refresh rate of 120Hz (meaning you’ll be able to play games at up to 120 frames per second) and extremely thin bezels. The laptop itself is less than 19mm thin, and can currently be had with a £300 discount from Box.
Acer Predator Helios 300
Then there’s the Acer Predator Helios 300 PH317-53-71HF which is built around a six-core Intel Core i7-9750H processor capable of Turbo up to 4.5GHz. That’s partnered with a GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q (8GB) graphics card, a combo that will make very short work of any game you throw at it.
This Acer gaming laptop is also equipped with 16GB of RAM and a pair of 512GB SSDs (for 1TB of storage in total). You also get a 17.3-inch Full HD screen with a refresh rate of 144Hz. Box has dropped the price on the Predator Helios 300 by £200.
Asus TUF Gaming
Looking for something a little less high-end? Consider the Asus TUF Gaming FX505DT-AL086T which still packs more than enough power with an AMD Ryzen 5 3550H quad-core CPU twinned with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 (4GB) graphics card.
This laptop has a 15.6-inch Full HD display with a 120Hz refresh rate, along with 8GB of system RAM and a 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD. It has been knocked down by £150 at Box.
HP Omen 15
Finally, if you want a machine that hits more of the middle ground – with plentiful storage – check out the HP Omen 15-DC1001NA. This laptop runs with an Intel Core i5-8300H quad-core CPU with Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 (6GB) graphics. For system memory, you get 8GB, and there’s lots of storage in the form of a 256GB NVMe SSD paired with a 1TB hard drive.
The screen is a 15.6-inch Full HD affair with a 144Hz refresh rate and vanishingly slim bezels, with Box offering a £100 discount on this HP laptop.
Whatever your ‘back to uni’ budget, there’s a thin-and-light laptop out there with Nvidia GeForce graphics that can cater for all your computing, work and gaming needs in one neat and highly portable package.