Taking advantage of upgrades is one of the best parts of being a PC gamer. PCs offer the most features, best performance, and greatest longevity compared to other systems out there. New PC gaming hardware comes out yearly, with higher benchmarks to measure and features to leverage, and the holidays is a perfect time to look for deals on upgrades.
If you are looking to upgrade your PC setup, this guide can help you find the best gear to level up your rig, whether for gaming or creating. And with holiday sales fast approaching, you can get the most bang for your buck on everything from components to peripherals.
It’s a good time to do so. The holiday season is a perfect time to look for deals on gaming upgrades.
More importantly, upgrading can make a huge impact on performance. Replacing my 2016 GPU (graphics processing unit) with a new NVIDIA card showed me just how big a change a few years of tech developments can make. Continuing my playthrough felt completely different, with dramatically improved frame rates and graphic fidelity. In titles like No Man’s Sky, I could leverage newer NVIDIA features like DLSS and DLAA, two enhancers to improve performance and visual quality, not supported in older GPUs. NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs can also handle even the most demanding creative workflows for content creation. If you haven’t upgraded your CPU or GPU in a few years, the gains to performance and new features are massive.
Advanced tech for your PC
Equipping yourself with the latest tech won’t just boost performance during gaming; you may find the newer systems and software help with creative multitasking, studies (especially for college students in STEM fields) and creative workflows. Here are some tech upgrades to consider investing in:
A new computer
These days, the desktop PCs from iBUYPOWER are a great example of power and affordability. This iBUYPOWER Desktop with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 is priced at $1,250, and includes an Intel i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and an SSD and HDD for storing tons of games. The NVIDIA graphics card in particular lets you leverage advanced graphic features like ray tracing and DLSS (more on those later).
You can even get a gaming laptop like this Acer Nitro 5 with GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU for less than $1,000. Aside from stellar all-around performance, this Acer Nitro 5 features NVIDIA’s new Advanced Optimus technology, which helps optimize communication between the CPU (central processing unit) and GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) for improved performance and battery life when gaming.
For the aspiring artist or seasoned pro, NVIDIA Studio products like the ASUS ProArt StudioBook 16 Laptop are purpose-built to power creative performance and feature cutting-edge GeForce RTX GPUs. With vivid displays, blazing-fast memory and storage, as well as NVIDIA Studio support, these laptops can do it all, whether content creation or gaming.
A modern graphics card
If you’re content with your desktop PC, consider boosting your performance by installing a new graphics card.
I have always used NVIDIA GPUs, and recently upgraded my desktop with the MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 GPU. In particular, the RTX 3070 and 3080 graphics cards offer cutting edge performance for gaming at 1440 pixels and 4K. Both support advanced ray tracing performance, which realistically and vividly simulates light and lighting effects in games. Because 4K resolution and ray tracing can be taxing on frame rates, it’s smart to employ features like DLSS, which uses artificial intelligence to massively boost performance while maintaining great image quality. In addition to the above, the ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 3080 GPU can completely transform your gaming experience.
A responsive monitor
You can upgrade your PC all you want, but if you don’t have a modern monitor, you won’t be able to see the power your computer is capable of. The best gaming monitors, from budget to premium, all have a few things in common. They are ergonomically adjustable, have modern connectivity, and feature a refresh rate of at least 120Hz. Historically, I have used 1080p Asus gaming monitors with NVIDIA G-SYNC. When paired with an NVIDIA GPU, these monitors work to reduce all possible hiccups and screen tearing between the system and the screen, offering an incredibly smooth experience.
The above is more than enough for my needs. But competitive gamers seeking a professional tool that can keep up with their skills should look into more premium options. ASUS’s ROG Swift PG259QNR is at the top of its class, with a ridiculously fast 360Hz refresh rate on a 1080p screen that supports latency-busting features like NVIDIA Reflex.
Comfortable, practical peripherals
Upgrading your PC isn’t the only way to enhance your gaming experience. Gear like mice, keyboards, controllers, headphones, microphones and even lighting can help craft an environment that’s perfect for you. Here are a few extras to level up:
A responsive mouse
A fast, responsive gaming mouse can help reduce the gap between you and the mission. One of our favorite affordable gaming mice is the Corsair Dark Core Pro SE, a wireless, rechargeable option that’s comfortable, customizable, and quick. Other impressive choices include the budget-friendly Cooler Master M720 or the premium Logitech G Pro X Superlight. If you pair any of these mice with a G-Sync monitor with Reflex, you can enable NVIDIA Reflex Analyzer, a tool that measures system latency between your monitor and your inputs. In competitive shooters like Valorant, reducing this input lag is a big step in the path towards victory.
An immersive headset
Audio is a crucial yet often overlooked part of gaming. Whether you’re diving deep into the mysterious world of Stray or relaying crucial information to teammates over your microphone in Apex Legends, the Arctis 1 Wireless Gaming Headset has got you covered. Its flexibility is its biggest strength—it can connect wirelessly over Bluetooth or via a lossless 2.4 Ghz dongle. Either way, you’ll enjoy clear audio in-game and over chat.
A comfortable chair
Forgetting to invest in proper seating is a big mistake. Discount options with “gamer” aesthetics may be visually appealing, but many lack the ergonomic design of more seasoned task furniture brand Branch. I personally use a Herman Miller Aeron Chair, a timeless but expensive option I would only recommend if you can find it discounted, either used or on sale.
And big, exciting games
With your setup perfectly suited to your needs, it’s time to play some awesome games. 2022 has shown just how much new technology can improve older titles.
The best-selling Marvel’s Spider-Man from 2018 received a glow-up when it came to PC as Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, with huge gains in resolution, frame rate, and tech like ray tracing, DLSS, and more. Marvel’s Spider-Man isn’t the only classic to receive the remastered treatment; 2007’s puzzle game Portal is being released as Portal with RTX, featuring new 4K graphics, ray tracing, and more.
It has also been an incredible year for new releases, with titles like Elden Ring offering sprawling adventures for gamers to enjoy. Fans of heavy action should check out the upcoming Warhammer 40K: Darktide, a dark co-op shooter out of the long-running Warhammer franchise. If you’re looking for an epic world and story, God of War, one of our favorite PlayStation games, recently made its way to PC, with plenty of high fidelity improvements to graphics and performance. Regardless of what kind you like, there is something to enjoy on PC, especially with a refreshed setup.