Winter is upon us, but not every gamer’s PC is ready for the 24/7 attention that a heavy snowfall brings. Some lack the right processor and others run sub-par GPUs that can’t handle the latest and greatest games. If any of this sounds like someone you know and love, check out our PC Gamer holiday buying guide. We’ll help you find that certain someone an awesome keyboard, mouse, set of headphones, gaming laptop, or hardcore desktop. And if that doesn’t do it for you, we also have a few ways to beef up an aging gaming rig.
SteelSeries Siberia Elite ($200)
Each of the Siberia Elite’s cushy ear cups surround you in sound, and have rings that light up based on the sounds emitted in game. If you’re firing a gun in-game, the rings will light up to match the sound pattern of the gun or any other sounds. This will let your girlfriend know to stay away, because you’re in the zone.
ASUS G750JX-DB71 ($1,650)
Want to get something for a gamer who’s always on the go? Say hello to the Asus G750JX-DB71, a gaming laptop that can keep up with the best of them, has a roomy keyboard, and hold a charge, too. The only problem might be its weight. At 10lbs, it’s gonna leave a mark on your shoulder if you carry it too far. Still, for a gaming notebook, the Asus G750JX-DB71 is a great deal. You can snag it from Newegg for under $1,800.
Origin Millennium ($4,000)
If you’re feeling extra generous this holiday season, consider gifting the Origin Millennium desktop PC. You can configure it at at Origin’s site, which has models starting at about $1,300, but if you want a real beast of a machine, it will cost you as much as $4,000. If you want an idea of the Millennium’s power, our unit ran Deus Ex: Human Revolution at 154fps. If that doesn’t impress you, trust us; it will impress who you’re buying this for. In the world of gaming desktops, the Millennium isn’t a bad deal, either. Competitors like the Falcon Northwest Talon and the Maingear Shift cost significantly more: nearly $4,400 and $6,000, respectively. With the Origin Millennium, you get a powerhouse rig while saving some green.
Dell Alienware X51 (2013) ($1,750)
Gaming systems are bulky, but their price tags dwarf their size. If some of these price tags scare you, we feel your pain. There are slimmer gaming rigs that won’t break the bank. The Alienware X51 wears a slim chassis not commonly used with gaming PCs. However, the X51 is equipped to play, powered by an Intel Core i7 CPU, Nvidia GeForce GTX 760 Ti GPU, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD paired with a 1TB hard drive. When we reviewed the X51 earlier this year, it shipped with a GTX 670 graphics card and the entire system was costly. With the 760 Ti card, the X51 now comes in under $1,800.
Logitech G400S ($40)
Some gaming mice try to reinvent the wheel, often looking so futuristic they may as well be a set piece in Avatar or a small Transformer. We prefer a simpler approach. If this sounds like the gamer on your wish list, consider the Logitech G400S.
The G400s sports eight programmable buttons, an ocean-blue hue on its left and right click buttons, and a curved indent to rest your thumb. We especially like the thumb indent. Extended gaming sessions of 8 hours or more can put some stress on your hand and fingers. Any mouse that aims to decrease that stress gets a plus in our book. We’re sure your loved one would appreciate it that design touch, too. Perhaps best of all, at $60, the G400S won’t break the bank.
Logitech G510S ($80)
Much like the G400S mouse, the Logitech G510s doesn’t sport any crazy curves or jagged edges as part of its frame. What it does wield is an LCD screen at the top that displays in-game information depending on what you’re playing, which can be very helpful. If the gamer in your life doesn’t care for crazy designs and has a soft spot in their heart for relative austerity, the G510s and its combination of buttons, LCD screen, and colored back-lighting options should offer enough pizazz to wow them, while also refraining from the overly flashy design choices served up by other gaming keyboards.
AMD Radeon R290X ($600)
The graphics card wars rage on between the Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti and the AMD Radeon R9 290X. Both cards are supremely powerful and almost evenly matched in terms of what they offer. So why are we recommending AMD’s option over Nvidia’s? For one reason: price.
The AMD Radeon R9 290X is about $150 cheaper than the GTX 780 Ti, which is significant, especially considering that the sliver of extra performance offered by the 780 Ti doesn’t justify the increased price. If the gamer close to you is in desperate need of a GPU upgrade, you can’t do much better the the R9 290X.
So you’re looking to get your favorite gamer a gift that will make them freak, cry, and build statues in your honor, you’ll want to snag the Intel Core i7-4960X Processor Extreme Edition. This six-core monster is clocked at 3.6GHz and runs at 130 watts, so you should slyly ask about their rig to make sure their system can handle the power required to run it. Just say you’ve heard of the Extreme Edition and make sure they have a Socket LGA 2011 motherboard. If so, getting any gamer an Intel Core i7-4960X Processor Extreme Edition make them very happy.