Is it the man that makes the machine or is it the other way around? Or, in PC gaming terms, is it possible that helpful tools or system upgrades can bolster your kill/death ratio, help you get the drop on enemies, and provide that extra edge to elevate a player from good to great?
Some hold that, like any other skill, gaming is something you either have or you don’t. Chug as much Red Bull and pull as many all-nighters plowing through Battlefield 4 as you want, some folks just lack the hand/eye coordination, reflexes and problem solving skills to be a truly great gamer. But that doesn’t mean that the right enhancements can’t bring your game along a few steps further. Or, for those who have the skills but can’t quite hang with the highest tiers, is there perhaps a way to give yourself a little extra boost?
Time for an upgrade
For starters, it doesn’t matter how good you are, if you’re gaming on an out-of-date rig, your performance in online games is going to suffer. The first thing you’ll want to take a look at is your RAM. Nowadays, 4 GB is the absolute minimum you want to be running. In short, the more RAM, the faster and smoother your PC is going to run. Obviously, that’s pretty important if you’re using said PC for gaming. If you can boost your RAM to 6 or even 8 GB, you’re off to a good start. Another big consideration for gaming is your graphics card. Similar to RAM, this component can make or break your gaming sessions, so you’ll want to put that second on your upgrade list. Tech Radar has a great, in-depth breakdown of the various other types of upgrades you’ll want to consider if you’re willing to fork over a bit of extra cash, but the RAM and graphics card are usually the easiest, most helpful and the cheapest way to get that initial boost. For the graphics card, they recommend going with the Phenom II, which just so happens to be strong, tidy and affordable.
Also, if it’s been a good five years since you purchased your router, you might want to consider investing in a new one. Those things slowly start to drop off in performance over the years and lower bars means a worse connection. Again, that’s a big no-no when it comes to online gaming.
The right tools
So now your system is up to date, but what about your gaming gear? Most serious gamers refuse to use equipment that comes straight out of the box with a modern PC. No matter what your game preference, there’s probably a keyboard and/or mouse made especially to fit your needs, ranging in everything from MMORPG-specific offerings, to those best suited for an FPS.
PC Magazine recently broke down the top 10 gaming mice and keyboards currently available, offering loads of information on their perks, features and what types of games they’re best suited for. Shop around, find something that fits your individual needs, then do away with those clunky pieces of plastic that came with your PC. Having hardware specifically designed with your gaming needs in mind could make all the difference in the world.
Need more control?
While some may consider this blasphemous, others hold that some people just aren’t made for gaming with a mouse and keyboard. For those people, there’s nothing to be ashamed of in plugging a good old fashioned gaming pad to your PC. Gamepad Review offers a great system for finding the right controller to fit your gaming needs but, as a reminder, you might already have a top-notch controller already sitting in the living room. Both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 4 controllers are hailed as being some of the best on the market, both of which also happen to work perfectly on the computer, too.