It doesn’t matter if you know every last detail of your video game’s sprawling universe like the back of your hand. You can put in dedicated gameplay until kingdom come, training for eSports as if it were your 9 to 5 job, but the thing is, that glory won’t ever come if you’re competing against people with better rigs.
Sad as it may be, experience and expertise are only two out of three pillars of leaderboard gamers. What’s the third? Equipment. You need essential gaming gear that can help you see more detail, pivot faster, and shoot quicker. Not sure where to spend your money in order to join the league of gaming greats? Here are the top three you should buy to take your performance to the next level.
1. A Powerful Processor
We’ve talked about how you can find fast gaming laptops and PCs under $500, and these are great options for entry-level gamers who want to refine their newbie skills before entering the big leagues. But if you’re serious about competitive gaming and want to get a leg up on your opponents, you should invest your money on a premium gaming computer that can chomp through data and advanced graphics like it’s nobody’s business.
There are two facets of a gaming computer that you should pay close attention to:
- Central Processing Unit (CPU)—Your CPU handles task execution and, with enough power, will allow you to effortlessly multitask between gameplay, audio recording, screen filming, and live streaming onto Twitch, Steam, or YouTube. Purchase one capable of hyper-threading in order to process more data threads at once; our pick is the AMD 2nd Gen 32-core Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX.
- Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)—The GPU is responsible for delivering fast-paced, buttery smooth graphics without buffering or lag. Today’s best AAA titles need powerful GPU cards in order to render their advanced, demanding graphics; we suggest the NVIDIA GeForce RTX. Be sure to pick up a monitor for gaming that can show off your graphics in sharp detail and crisp resolution!
2. Mouse and Mouse Pad
Now that your gaming laptop or PC is set up and you’re ready to take down the enemy, you need to choose your ancillary accessories that will affect how you interact and play the game. If you want to become the master of your craft, you need to step it up with a gaming mouse. These usually come loaded with a host of buttons and features that make these devices totally worth your initial investment, because they allow you to toggle weapons and release the trigger faster with ergonomic design and tactile feedback. Check out our breakdown of the best gaming mice that money can buy, broken down by budget, illumination, and game style (FPS or MMO).
Note: If you’re going to invest in a gaming mouse, you need to pair it with the best mouse pad. It might not sound like it’s worth the money, but there are plenty of reasons that justify the expense—if you’ve ever experienced a mouse that seems to slip and slide on its own, then you know what we’re talking about. Gaming mouse pads make your movements more stable and precise, and are built with higher quality material that can withstand years of repetitive wear without showing signs of degradation.
3. Gaming Desk and Chair
You’re so close to completing your gaming rig! The last piece of the puzzle is setting up your battle station where you’ll sit down, strap in, and blast your opponents with next-level speed and accuracy. When it comes to the best gaming desks, it’s all about convenience. It should be the right height, boast enough space for your towers and monitors, and include a hideaway for your keyboard. Long hours of gaming need to be done in comfort, though; that’s why a gaming chair is equally as important as the desk you decide on! Pick a chair catering to your favorite style of game, whether that’s a bucket-style racing chair to enhance your high-speed drifts or an ergonomic gaming chair that allows you to lean back and look up into your immersive VR video game.
That’s it—you’ve got everything you need to launch your gaming to a whole new level thanks to their in-game performance boosters!