Back to School Cool: Turbo-Charge Your Dorm Room


If you’re going away to boarding school or college, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in a small-sized dormitory room, probably with a roommate, and definitely without your parent or guardian around. You need to make some smart choices regarding the equipment you have with you. You need to make some serious choices. You need to make some fun choices. No pressure.

But there are things you might not have even considered adding to your fall repertoire for school. We picked out five basic items that are must-haves, and will make being so far from home a little easier.

An All-in-One Computer

An all-in-one serves two purposes: it frees up space and it serves as a multimedia entertainment center. You can stream movies and music, and even bring in TV channels through a streaming stick. Here’s a bonus—this all-in-one, the ASUS 23.8" Z240IE Multi-Touch All-in-One Desktop Computer, has an Intel® Core™ i7 quad-core processor, a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card for gaming, and 16GB of RAM. Spec-wise it’s plenty powerful, so getting work done on this is a no-brainer. If you want to add a little entertainment to your long nights of studying, this all-in-one has  you covered with a 23.8" 4K UHD 3840 x 2160 multi-touch screen.

ASUS 23.8" Z240IE Multi-Touch All-in-One Desktop Computer

ASUS RT-AC68U Router

If you’re going to have a lot going on—an all-in-one PC, smartphones, wireless hard drives—you want one of the best routers to handle all that traffic. The ASUS RT-AC68U Dual-Band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router is one of the best, with the ability to handle dual-band traffic using the 802.11 ac protocol (backwards compatible with 802.11 a/b/g/n), five Ethernet ports to hardwire your most important peripherals, and three antennas to help spread the signal. A good, dependable router will ease any communication breakdowns between your devices. Communication breakdowns with your professors are up to you to settle.

ASUS RT-AC68U Dual-Band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router

Streaming Media

Getting movies and music to you is now simpler than ever before. Most desktops and laptops have apps that will stream Netflix and Hulu and many other services. HBO Go is everywhere. But getting a dedicated streaming stick will open up your viewing possibilities even more. We like the Roku 3600R Streaming Stick. It’s compact, it plugs into any HDMI port on your TV or All-in-One computer, and it features dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity (perfect for crowded campuses where the 2.4 GHz band is more crowded than the cafeteria). You have instant access to more than 3,000 channels, which run the gamut from fascinating to freaky. Another plus: you can take this from room to room in an instant, and still enjoy the full functionality of streaming all your movies, and you can stream movies and music directly from your network-connected server or hard drive.

Roku 3600R Streaming Stick

Xbox One X Gaming Console

All work and no play make Jack a danger to others, so loosen up a bit and get your game on. The Xbox One X is our choice because it has a host of incredible features, including 4K and HDR support, a built-in UHD Blu-ray player, a full terabyte of onboard storage, and so much more. You can even use the Xbox One X to stream movies and music from a network-connected server, meaning everything you’ll need is in the palm of your hands.

Microsoft Xbox One X Gaming Console

Your Own Personal Cloud

Why would you want your own personal cloud server in your dorm room? Actually, if you think a server requires rack mounting and an IT staff, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the WD MyCloud series. Our choice is the 2nd-Generation 6TB WD MyCloud Mirror, which adds the benefit of massive storage backup and protection of your data by copying it to one of the two included disks. Once connected to your router, you can access all of your files from anywhere with an Internet connection. Out on the quad and want to watch a movie? Stream it from the MyCloud Mirror Drive. Want to share your class work with a friend while in class? Give them access and they can view or download documents from your own personal cloud. The days of saying your dog ate your homework have passed. With a personal cloud, your digital data is always with you.

WD My Cloud Mirror (Gen 2) 6TB 2-Bay NAS Server

So there you have it—five items that will totally turbo-charge your game room. Now your home away from home may be more fun than home, without all that delicious home cooking and someone to do your laundry. That’s a huge drawback, in fact. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!