Computer Gifts For PC Gamers

A Selection of PC Hardware Items Perfect For The Computer Gamer

Nov 16, 2016 - Computer gaming can be one of the most demanding applications for PC hardware. Not only can the hardware inside of the computer make a big difference in the gaming experience, so can all of the peripherals. If you happen to know someone who likes playing games on a computer and aren't sure of what to get them as a gift, check out some of these PC hardware related items that can make a great gift.

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PC High End Graphics Card

eVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti ACX 2.0+ PCI-Express Graphics Card
eVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti ACX 2.0+. ©EVGA

One of the most important aspects of a computer's hardware for PC gaming is the graphics card. A poor graphics card will degrade the overall feel and experience. Some games may not even be able to be properly run without a certain level of hardware. As computer displays get larger and larger, the need for a higher performance graphics card to take full advantage of the displays. This is especially true of the new 4K or UltraHD displays. A high end graphics card will let the player become fully immersed in the experience. One thing to be aware of is that the high end graphics cards require specific power, motherboard and even space requirements to be used properly. Expect to pay anywhere from just about $300 to over $700 for such a card.

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PC Budget Graphics Cards

eVGA GeForce GTX 960 SSC 4GB PCI-Express Graphics Card
EVGA GeForce GTX 960 SSC AXC 2.0+. ©eVGA

While the graphics card is an important aspect of a gaming computer, one does not necessarily need the highest level of graphics in order to enjoy a game. Most budget minded graphics cards can play modern games at the 1920x1080 resolution of the average monitor just fine. This can be a great gift for someone who happens to have a desktop computer but has to run their PC games at lower resolutions or quality levels. The hardware requirements of the computer to run one of the budget level cards is not as strict as a high end card but there are still some. Expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $250 for a budget graphics card. Be sure to check to make sure the PC has the proper sized power supply to handle any cards before purchase.

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New LCD Monitor

Dell U2414
Dell U2414. ©Dell

The display is a critical component for any PC gamer. The size and resolution will determine how detailed the computer can render the gaming world. The 24-inch screens are a great compromise between size and features. They tend to have a 1920x1040 resolution  but also have additional inputs allowing devices such as a gaming console (Wii U, XBOX One, PS4) to be plugged into them as well. This can allow the PC gamer to experience more than just gaming on their computer. Of course 27-inch and 30-inch displays are also available with higher resolutions and large screens. Prices range from around $200 to more than $1000.

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PC Audio Card

Creative Sound Blaster Z
Creative Sound Blaster Z. ©Creative Technology

While graphics may be the most important feature of games, the audio experience can be just as important. While most desktops feature built-in audio solutions, their quality can leave much to be desired. There are a variety of different audio cards available on the market that offer a varying number of features as well as prices. Gamers are probably most interested in cards that support Creative's EAX extensions for environmental audio effects. Secondary features may include digital audio output for speakers or internal audio amplifiers for high end headphones. Cards are available for both PCI and PCI-Express expansion slots. Prices range from around $50 to over $200.

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Audio Headset

Sennheiser PC 320 Headset
Sennheiser PC 320 Headset. ©Sennheiser

As more and more games have social aspects to them, the need to be able to communicate with other players in the game is more critical. While it is possible to do with with a standard microphone and audio speakers on a computer, they tend to be distracting for players on both ends. An audio headset gives the immersion of being inside the game while allowing the player to better control what audio is sent to the other players. Sennheiser is a huge name in audio and they make some superb headsets. The PC 320 uses a standard mini-jack audio and microphone plug to work with just about any type of PC. Priced around $100 to $120.

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Gaming Keyboard

Logitech G710+ Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Logitech G710+. ©Logitech

The keyboard is the primary input device for all computers. Of course any old standard computer keyboard will work for playing PC games, but a gaming keyboard can provide that extra edge over other players.The Logitech G710+ is a solid mid-range gaming keyboard that offers some fast response times, a good number of programmable buttons, adjustable LED backlighting with mechanical keys. Prices start from $100.

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Gaming Mouse

Corsair Vengeance M65
Corsair Vengeance M65. ©Corsair

For many games, the mouse is used as the primary means of looking around and aiming. The precision of this input device is critical to being successful in the games. The average computer mouse has a very limited resolution and sensitivity making them not very useful, especially for first person shooter games. The Corsair Vengence M65 offers a high level of accuracy thanks to its 8200dpr laser sensor and rapid response times thanks to its wired USB connector. It even features a solid unibody aluminum frame with adjustable weights. Priced around $60.

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PC Gamepad

Microsoft XBOX One Controller with PC Cable
XBOX One Controller With PC Cable. ©Microsoft

More and more games are being made across multiple platforms. This means that a publisher creates a game that is available for the PC and multiple consoles. When games are designed like this, they tend to have a control scheme designed for a gamepad even when used with the PC. Because of this, a gamepad for the PC is a very useful device for gamers. This is essentially the same controller used with the XBOX One game system but with a cable to plug into a standard USB port on a PC. For those that don't want to deal with wires, there is also a version with a USB wireless dongle. The wired version is around $50 while the wireless model is $80.

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PC Joystick/Throttle Combo

Saitek X52 Flight System
Saitek X52 Flight System. ©Mad Catz

Flight simulation games are a popular genre for PC gaming. While it is possible to play these games using a mouse and keyboard, they don't provide the same level of experience as using the same style controls one would find in a plane. There are a number of specialty companies and products out there for flight sims but they can get extremely expensive or unique to one particular setup. The Saitek X52 flight control system is a good system that is very flexible yet affordable. It comes with both a flight stick and throttle unit with a huge number of switches and programmable buttons. The controller uses USB with prices between $110 to $130.

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SSD Upgrade

Samsung 850 Pro SATA III SSD
Samsung 850 Pro. ©Samsung

Gamers like to get an edge anywhere they can even if it is just the speed at which a game starts or can load a new level. Hard drives are great for their massive capacity which can allow gamers to keep buying more and more games on the Steam sales which fill up their drives but they do lack the performance of dedicated solid state drives. Prices have dropped a lot where they are much more viable as the primary boot and application drive. Of course, upgrading to a SSD can me more than just installing it as the operating system and data will have to be moved over as well so it might be good to look for an SSD upgrade kit that includes cloning software. Priced range from around $100 for a roughly 250GB drive to over $500 for terabyte sized drives.