Holiday Buying Guide for PC Gamers

Holiday Buying Guide for PC Gamers
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Pulling Out All the Stops

Gamers love their toys. Be it gaming hardware, controllers, sound systems, headset, or any number of other products, gamers love having the latest and greatest technology. Buying for gamers can, therefor, be quite expensive. But if you really want to pull out all the stops and buy your favorite gamer a gift they will never forget you’ll need to check out these three insanely awesome presents.

Racing Simulator Cockpit ($300+)

If you know a gamer who is into racing games of any kind then a racing simulator cockpit is sure to be a perfect gift. A cockpit of this types aims to reconstruct the feel of being inside a real race car by perfectly mounting the locations of the seat, pedals, and wheels. Most racing cockpits are made of steel or aluminum, so they are extremely durable, although often quite heavy, and almost all racing simulator cockpits come with their own seats which are modeled after the seats in real sports cars. Racing simulator cockpits don’t generally come with their own wheel and pedal sets, so you’ll probably want to look into something like the Logitech G25 if the lucky gamer doesn’t already own the gear.

There are many racing simulator cockpits available, and many are very similar, so picking out just one from the crowd can be difficult. An affordable option is the Playseat Racing Cockpit, which includes all of the basics at around $320 dollars. The Virtual Roadster, which ranges between $800 and $1000 dollars based on options, is more expensive but more durable and elaborate cockpit made mostly of high-strength steel. Your wallet is the limit, however. The designs of the cockpits are not overly complex, so it is entirely possible to pay a metal working shop to fabricate a cockpit based on your specifications. You could even use the seat of a real sports car in a scrap yard.

Falcon Northwest Gaming PC ($2000+)

Falcon Northwest Mach V

There are many gaming PC makers in the world, and I generally don’t pay much attention to them. I am a hardware enthusiast as well as a gamer, so I usually build my own computers. There is one PC manufacturer, however, that I have a huge amount of respect for - Falcon Northwest.

Falcon Northwest has been around since 1992 and is located in Medford, Oregon. While most PC manufacturers have expanded massively from their roots, Falcon Northwest has continued to focus on the art of making amazing gaming PCs. While I doubt that has made the CEO of Falcon Northwest absurdly rich, it has resulted in an amazing quality of product. The top class of Falcon Northwest’s product line is the Mach V, and hand-crafted piece of gaming art.

High performance? Of course it is. Depending on the options you select the Mach V will range from being quick to feeling like a portable black hole generator. What makes the Mach V special, however, is the customization that you can add to it. Custom paint jobs, side windows, exotic hardware configurations - it is all there. It will cost you, of course. The base Mach V costs around $2000 and goes up rapidly from there, but if you have the money to spend on a custom gaming PC the Mach V is the one to have.

Astro A40 Audio System ($250+)

Astro A40 Headset

Generally speaking, gaming headsets are kind of terrible. There are many, many bad headsets on the market, and even the good ones only just nice enough to keep you from feeling like you’ve been ripped off. This is because audio quality both for the microphones and the headphones is decent at best and because the extra features are, well, generally non-existent.

The Astro A40 steps things up a notch. Reduced to its most basic form, the Astro A40 is simply a good gaming headset. Its audio quality is only a little bit less than a pair of headphones at a similar price, and its microphone quality beats everything else on the market today. But that is only where things get started. The Astro A40’s trump card is the inclusion of an external amp called the MixAmp. The MixAmp offloads decoding of voice communications to the A40, decreasing the load on your PC. PC Gamers who own consoles will also appreciate the fact the MixAmp allows the Astro A40 to work with the Xbox 360 as well.

Although the Astro A40 headset can be bought by itself, with the MixAmp - which is the way you really should buy it - the Astro A40 costs $250 dollars. With all the optons, including a rechargeable battery pack, the A40 will reach $310. Nevertheless, the Astro A40 is clearly the best gaming headset on the market.