10 essential PC peripherals

PC steering wheel. £150. What does it do? Turns any driving game into a brilliantly realistic experience, complete with gearshift and pedals. Looks amazing. Why would you buy? Well, you'd have to be serious about your driving games to warrant spending this kind of money. But if you are, you simply won't find a better setup for anywhere near the same price. And it looks simply spectacular.

Canon Pixma iP5300

Inkjet printer. £85. What does it do? It's a hybrid five-ink printer that does a great job with photos and documents. Why would you buy? Once you've bought a printer, there are three things that make a difference: quality, speed and cost. And in all three areas the iP5300 outdoes its main rivals, making it a great all-rounder that will meet all your printing needs.

Asus Silent Square Pro

Cooling. £30. What does it do? Quite simply, it keeps your motherboard from getting too hot. Why would you buy? Even at this price, it may seem overkill for many casual users, and perhaps it is. But if your computer does a lot of work, you need to make sure it remains well ventilated. If you're looking at some of the other items on this list, you should look at this too.

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer

Sound card. £60. What does it do? Improves significantly on your computer's on-board sound, and adds the possibility of up to 7.1 audio. Why would you buy? This isn't a card for serious audio creation, or perhaps even hardcore gamers. But if you've never had a separate sound card, the cost is a small price to pay for the noticeable improvement to the audio your PC produces. Gives you significantly improved control over your audio too.

Reviews originally appeared in PC Plus, PC Format and PC Answers magazines.


Previous top 10s: High-definition TVs under £1,000 ; Digital SLRs ; High-def projectors ; The best of Blu-ray ; LCD TVs ; Smartphones ; Budget laptops ; High-definition TVs