Can I Use my School PC as a Gaming PC?

Can I Use my School PC as a Gaming PC?

There are some great methods for determining whether a school-oriented desktop can run games stock or with minor upgrades.

Most desktop PCs marketed for school use have a case, motherboard, CPU, and storage layout with a lower-wattage PSU (Power Supply Unit). Depending on the system, adding a dedicated graphics card or upgrading the PSU can increase the performance. Overall, stock integrated systems can play some games; however, they may require a dedicated GPU to play more intensive games.

This article compares school and gaming PCs concerning integrated graphics and hardware prebuilds that can fit to increase base performance.

Capabilities of a PC for School

Some prebuilt models come from Apex and other SIs (System Integrators) that run on integrated graphics to keep costs and performance relative to their market.

These integrated graphics-based systems are great platforms for upgrading a school computer to a gaming-oriented PC or PC whose lifetime may include gaming. 

APUs and the Performance of Integrated Graphics

Recent strides in manufacturing have made AMDs recent APUs (Advanced Processing Units) like the 5600G and 5700G run games like CSGO, Fortnite, Valorant, and GTA at higher frames than generations past. Here are benchmarks in over 40 games that perform from playable to performant.

The Intel variants in the 12th generation of CPUs have significantly increased in integrated graphics technology compared to their 11th generation. Here is a face-off between a 11700K and AMD 5700G in which the 5700G is 30-100% more performant than the 11700K for integrated graphics alone.

Intel closes this gap in its 12th generation with an i5-12600K being 5-30% performant of AMDs 5600G, developing competition in the integrated GPU market.

Between the two, A 5000G series processor is still the best option for those looking to get an integrated graphics system. 

Upgrade Paths for Dedicated GPUs 

Even with a 450/500W PSU, GPUs like a GTX 1650 up to an RTX 2060 could run on low to mid-end systems.

Most bigger SI’s(system Integrators) will often include PCIe Lanes to accommodate these upgrades. 

Most integrated graphics systems can be upgraded to a GTX 1650/1660 super for increased gaming performance without major core components switching. The amount of Wattage demanded of a PSU is important to consider when upgrading a GPU due to safety features. Make sure to check your PSU max wattage and rating.  

Here is a handy graph for the most modern cards on the market.

(Reference for wattage is an i5-12400 CPU )


Recommended PSU

GTX 1650


GTX 1650 Super




GTX 1660 Super


GTX 1660 Ti


RTX 2060


RTX 2060 Super


RTX 3050


RTX 3060


RTX 3060 Ti


RTX 3070


RTX 3070 Ti



SSDs vs. NVMEs

NVMEs that come with some prebuilt will be bound to their factory speed. When looking for a fair market performance drive, a decent brand for the price is either Samsung’s Pro 980 or Seagate's FireCuda 520 as a price-to-performance upgrade.

If the motherboard lacks an M.2 slot, installing a SATA SSD is the best route. Apex uses brands like Team Group and their SSDs like the AX2.

There will be a significant difference in loading times during games and general read and write speeds, no matter your choice.

Performance and Airflow

A computer case significantly contributes to thermal performance for all encased components. The addition of more components can contribute to stagnant air within the case. 

Additional fans can be attached to increase airflow depending on your GPU, PSU, and CPU. Getting 120MM fans or 40MM fans with zip ties on proprietary cases may do the trick. Here is a quick guide on airflow and the importance of fan orientation.   

Benchmarking your System

Now that we’ve gone over all potential upgrades, it's important to distinguish how the system can improve with benchmarks. Having a benchmark to see the progress of improvements can outline how well the PC will perform in-game.

These are popular benchmarks for measuring upgrades made to the systems.

Uniengine superposition-This is an excellent benchmark software for testing a CPU and GPU combo due to its high fidelity graphics and SSRTGI (Screen-Space Ray-Traced Global Illumination) for the RTX series of GPUs.  

ADIA 64-Adia 64(Engineer) is a great tool to show the particular stresses of components such as the CPU, RAM, and storage. Its use is to simulate unrealistic workloads on the CPU and associated components.  

Time Spy(3D Mark)- Time Spy is a part of the 3D Mark series of benchmarks that test everything from gaming on mobile phones to high-end desktops. Time Spy focuses extensively on components displaying 1080p to 1440p monitors for the highest performance expected from the hardware. 

Apex’s Recommendation for a Great School PC 

At Apex Gaming PCs, we understand that schoolwork is just as important as gaming on your time off. Our PCs are designed for both school and gaming, from upgrades ranging from expanded storage to faster PC parts. Our Apex Alpha is an excellent value-to-performance PC in our Apex Line with its 12400F and GTX 1650, offering effective performance for both school and gaming. 

Wrap up on Using a School Computer for Gaming

 Whether you are on an integrated graphics PC or considering lower-end prebuilt; there are always options to upgrade your systems for intensive gaming. AMD’s Ryzen 5600G and 5700G are performant APUs for gaming, and schoolwork is our Apex Bronze made for those looking to get into lighting gaming or schoolwork. Whatever your school or gaming needs, We hope to fulfill them at Apex!

Written By William Wilson

Photo Credits by Pavan Bhakta

Header Photo Credit Macron Leiper


Edited: 5/10/23

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