You’re about to enter the wild world of PC gaming. Perhaps you’ve pieced together a rig from scratch, or you’ve ordered a prebuilt machine from our list of the best PC gaming computers. You’ve assembled everything, installed the requisite software, and compiled a list of all the titles you’re itching to explore—but you’re only halfway there.
A healthy gaming system is so much more than the base computer. There are countless peripherals ranging from essential equipment to superfluous kitsch, but each has its own place in the world of gaming. Here are our favorite ways to round out your setup.
Anyone who’s made the transition from a standard-definition monitor to something higher quality will tell you difference is night and day. Of course, at a certain point, price becomes a major concern, as does GPU performance.
The two ratings you want to note when choosing a monitor are the resolution (p) and the refresh rate (Hz). 1080p and 60Hz are entry-level gaming options in 2018, and can be acquired for around $100 while still providing decent quality. If you’re a competitive gamer and want to upgrade from there, prioritize the refresh rate over resolution for buttery smooth gameplay. The 1080p 144Hz Acer GN246HL is a stellar choice for the price, but if you have more room in your budget, 1440p, 4K, and even multi-monitor layouts will take your setup to the next level.
Keyboards come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. There are the basic mechanical keyboards you’ll find in every public library, sleek professional models with backlighting and wrist support, and even novelty options built into controllers that often resemble abstract art.
For our money, we like the $69 Razer Ornata Chroma. The mechanical keyboard offers sturdy construction, individually backlit keys, and a leatherette wrist support that’s quite comfortable to use. There’s something for everyone in 2018, and a unique keyboard will make you feel right at home every time you sit down.
There was a time when a mouse was simply a mouse—a basic tool used to move a cursor around a screen, and if the mood struck, click on things. You also had to take them apart if a speck of dust somehow got inside. Today, mice are designed ergonomically and feature enough buttons that they’re on the verge of replacing keyboards altogether.
For example, the Logitech G502 Hero has 11 programmable buttons, onboard memory, weights for balancing, RGB lighting, and sensitivity settings that range from 200 to 1,200 dpi. Whether you’re building structures in Fortnite, stringing together attack commands in DOTA 2, or saving content with ShadowPlay, this beast of a mouse can do it all. For something a little less intimidating, try the Razer DeathAdder Elite, which has seven buttons, RGB lighting, and a nice hand fit in a less daunting package. Oh, and don’t forget a mousepad.
Speakers are great for listening to music and watching YouTube, but for gaming, most players opt for headphones. Not only are they more immersive, they can give you a competitive edge when locating enemies in combat. And while standard earbuds can work fine, top-notch gaming headsets differ in a few key ways.
The obvious difference is they almost always feature a microphone for voice chat, but sound-wise, there are some variances, too. They’re generally geared toward surround sound, with less attention on deep bass and more focus on high detail. In addition, a top gaming headset has to be pleasant to wear, as gaming sessions typically go for hours at a time.
The HyperX Cloud II looks unassuming compared to its flamboyant competition, but it ticks all the necessary boxes at a great value. An extremely satisfying headset to wear, the Cloud II boasts amazing audio quality and noise canceling with its USB sound card, and its rugged metal frame is built to last. For a wireless alternative, check out the Corsair Void Pro.
Throne of games
You can have the fastest car in the world, but if you put cheap tires on it, you aren’t getting your money’s worth. The same logic applies to gaming, albeit to a lesser extent. A well-made gaming chair must provide support and comfort for hours-long sessions of first-person combat, racing, crafting, and everything in between. Of course, adjustability is a plus, too.
While you can certainly get away with an exercise ball or a bean bag as your gaming throne, a purpose-built unit like Devoko’s Gaming Chair is a significant upgrade. It’s around $100, but still has lock-tilt adjustment up to 180 degrees, lumbar support, a headrest, and a 300-pound load capacity. The only downside? You can’t use “they had a better gaming chair” as an excuse for losing anymore.