The essential PC gaming arsenal
As PC gaming continues to grow into a full-fledged subculture, there are certain things that have become ubiquitous among PC gamers. From things like RGB lighting on, well, everything and keyboards that make a ton of noise, but feel amazing – we here at TechRadar have created a list of 10 things that PC gamers can’t give up.
This list is for all PC gamers, whether you’re new to PC gaming, and you want to play the best PC games in style, or whether you’re a grizzled veteran, rocking one of the best gaming PCs and looking to check off your list. So, read on to either nod your head in agreement, or maybe even find that missing item to make your gaming setup complete.
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In 2018, it’s no longer enough to just have components that do their job well, they also have to light up your gaming rig and your desk like a technologically advanced Christmas Tree. Everything these days is decked out in RGB lighting from your keyboard to your USB hub – even your RAM.
Sure, some settings can be a little obnoxious and distract you from your game, but thanks to manufacturers’ myriad custom software, you can tweak your lighting setup to be as loud or subtle as you please. You can even buy strips of RGB lights these days, so you can take your lighting to a level only matched by your imagination.
Microsoft's Xbox One gamepad
You can ask any PC gamer, and they’ll go on at length about the superiority of gaming keyboard and gaming mouse controls over traditional console-esque gamepads. However, you just can’t get around the fact that some games just play better with a controller. Whether you’re trying to play an intense action RPG like Dark Souls 3 or a high-octane racing game like Forza Motorsport 7, you’re going to want an Xbox One gamepad to reach your full potential.
Luckily, the days of complicated and buggy controller integration are over, and to use an Xbox One controller, all you have to do is simply plug it into your computer and start playing. And, even if you prefer a PS4 controller, it’s a little more complicated, but you can still do it.
A mechanical keyboard
To the uninitiated, it might seem frivolous to demand to only play on a mechanical keyboard, but once you play on one of the best gaming keyboards, you won’t be able to go back. Sure, they’re loud and they might seem tough to type on at first, but once you boot up a game you’ll absolutely notice the difference.
Not only do you not have to worry about accidental key presses, but thanks to anti-ghosting technology, you won’t have to worry about commands not registering because you hit several buttons at once – something that absolutely will happen in more high-octane titles. Plus, that clicking noise that Cherry MX switches – and other mechanical variants – make is one of the most strangely satisfying aspects of PC gaming.
A PC gaming chair
We don’t know about you, but when we sit down to play our favorite PC games, there are times when we’ll play for hours. And, nobody wants to sit in an uncomfortable chair for hours on end, only to have to look like Igor when when walk away. Luckily, there is a wide range of chairs that are tailor-made for PC gamers, and once you sit in one, your (gaming) life will change.
Usually featuring comfortable, quality materials and multiple pillows for Lumbar and neck support, the best PC gaming chairs will make even the longest gaming marathon a pleasant, comfortable experience. Because, if you’re dominating your opposition, shouldn’t you be comfortable in your gaming throne?
A second monitor
Sure, you only need one gaming monitor to play a game, but what if you need a guide to get through that tough section? Or, maybe you just want to watch a YouTube video while you grind in the endgame of your favorite RPG. Even if you have the best screen, having a second (or even third) monitor is a life-changer when you’re gaming – and you won’t want to go back.
There are ways around this, of course, especially if you have an ultra-wide monitor, but the concept is the same – sometimes you just need to multitask, and a second monitor is going to be cheaper than a laptop or tablet. Just make sure you have the RAM necessary to multitask.
A PC gaming headset
While it isn’t the only way to communicate in multiplayer games, a headset is becoming more and more necessary in today’s PC gaming landscape. As programs like Discord gain ubiquity in every gaming community, you’re going to want one of the best PC gaming headsets to join in on the action.
And, now that gaming headsets feature sick RGB lighting, amazing surround sound and a wide variety of quality-of-life features, you won’t want to play your games without one. Nothing takes you out of an immersive gaming experience like subpar sound.
While it’s faced its fair share of issues in recent years, you simply cannot talk about PC gaming in 2018 without Steam coming up in some fashion. Not only is it the most convenient place to buy and play your games, due to its all-encompassing library and community functionality – but it’s gained a sort of cult following over the years. PC gamers absolutely will not go elsewhere.
And, while there has been some new competition in recent years by the likes of EA, Ubisoft and even Microsoft – when it comes to market share and population – nothing approaches Steam’s numbers. This is likely due to its seasonal sales, letting gamers fill up their gaming libraries on the cheap – which is by itself one of the biggest advantages PC gaming holds over consoles.
Unless you’re playing on one of the best gaming laptops, being able to troubleshoot and upgrade your PC is one of the core pillars of PC gaming – and you’ll want to be sure you have the tools to take care of it.
You won’t need anything especially complicated, just a small magnetic screwdriver and maybe an anti-static wristband. But, trust us, you don’t want to find yourself scrambling for a screwdriver when you upgrade to one of the best gaming PCs. Also consider a magnetic parts tray and some spare case screws.
Dust is the eternal enemy of electronics, and your gaming PC is no different. There’s nothing worse than getting totally immersed in your favorite game, only to be pulled out instantly by having your PC’s performance suddenly tank due to thermal throttling. And, when that happens, you’re going to want some canned air handy, so you get back in the game as quickly as possible.
Just keep in mind: it’s generally advised to clean out your PC every month. So, you should get used to picking up some canned air regularly to keep your rig at peak performance at all times.
A misplaced sense of superiority
Have you ever found yourself watching gameplay for an upcoming game, only to turn your nose up when you find out it’s running on a PS4 or Xbox One? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Especially when you’re fresh off of upgrading to a new graphics card, or even a new PC, it’s easy to gain a sense of superiority over people playing on consoles. But, just keep in mind that gaming is a widespread and inclusive medium and all forms should be celebrated.
But, there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of bragging every once in a while. Just try not to go overboard. Maybe try to recruit some console gamers to the PC side of the aisle instead of scaring them away.