Buying presents for geeks is hard. Books? No-one reads books, mum, they're on the Internet now. A nice pair of pants? No thanks. Target your present to the right demographic, though, and you'll be laughing. Here is some PC gaming gear that we'd love to find in our stocking come Christmas morning.
The latest iteration of Razer's iconic Mamba gaming mouse is completely wireless, with an integrated charging dock — and both have that trademark Razer Chroma multi-colour LED lighting system. You can use Razer's Synapse software to customise the lighting to suit your preferences — whether you want it pulsing or static or reacting to your movements and clicks — as well as adjust the responsiveness of the incredible 16,000 DPI sensor and even the feedback of each mouse click.
The Crucial BX200 is one of the newest and most advanced mid-range SATA3 solid-state drives out there; despite being incredibly cheap per gigabyte — less than 50 cents per GB — it still skips along at 540MBps read and 490MBps write speeds, making it a very fast and capable drive. Buying an SSD will transform any aging PC, and it's one of the cheapest and best value upgrades that you can buy for an avid PC gamer.
You'll pay anywhere upwards of about $120 for the cheapest 240GB Crucial BX200 SSD, or around $200-plus for the 480GB version, making it great value as SSDs go. Take a look on StaticIce or PCPartPicker to find the best deal.
As we predicted, Nvidia's GeForce GTX 970 turned out to be the best value gaming graphics card in the company's 2015 line-up — pound for pound and Watt for Watt, it's an excellent GPU and one of the best ways to get a smooth 60fps gameplay from modern games on a 1080p Full HD monitor or big-screen TV. If you have a slightly older gaming system — maybe a couple of years old — a new GPU will give it a new lease of life.
Nvidia doesn't set a RRP for the GTX 970 — instead, you'll buy an Asus or MSI or Gigabyte or another brand of card using Nvidia's GPU. No matter what brand you choose, you'll find it cheaper if you look on StaticIce or PCPartPicker.
Intel's Core i5-6600K is the best chip in its mid-range i5 line-up, so it's a value-for-money overclocking monster that, with some good cooling, can easily match its significantly more expensive i7 siblings when it comes to gaming. The i5-6600K matches up with brand new motherboards using Intel's Z170 chipsets, so it can be the starting point for an excellent and good value gaming PC that'll last for years.
Intel doesn't sell the i5-6600K directly through any kind of online store, so you'll have to visit your local computer retailer. Still, you'll find it cheaper if you look on StaticIce or PCPartPicker.
The AMD Radeon R9 380 is another Full HD 1080p prize fighter; if you like buying your cards from Big Red rather than Big Green, it's the natural competitor to the GeForce GTX 970 and comes in at a significantly cheaper price tag. It'd team up very well with a FreeSync monitor, too, like the beautiful Asus MG278Q, for clear and smooth gaming regardless of your frame rate.
AMD doesn't set a RRP for the R9 380 — instead, you'll buy an Asus or MSI or Gigabyte or another brand of card using AMD's GPU. No matter what brand you choose, you'll find it cheaper if you look on StaticIce or PCPartPicker.
Desktop PC looking a bit bland or sounding a bit loud? Rip out all the parts and stick them inside a shiny, new, sound-deadened Fractal Design Define R5, one of the sturdiest and quietest Full ATX cases that you can buy. I've used Fractal cases for quite a while, and I love how well constructed they are without sacrificing cooling airflow. Plus they're incredibly quiet, even with hot and loud components inside.
Fractal doesn't sell directly in Australia, so you'll have to find the best price online or at a bricks and mortar store through StaticIce or PCPartPicker, and pick up your purchase to save on shipping.
Gaming PCs? Pffffh. Thin, light, portable laptops? Phooey. What you want is this serious gaming laptop from Origin PC, with a desktop-grade GeForce GTX 980 and desktop-grade Intel Core i7-6700K overclockable CPU inside, as well as multiple SSDs and up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM. This thing is an absolute monster, and it'll handle absolutely any game you throw at it without a sweat. Buy one, even if you have to mortgage your house and sell the kids. Merry Christmas.
Origin PC sells directly to customers in Australia — you can customise your own amazing EON-17 here.
In partnership with the Toshiba Radius 12
Questions, comments, tips? You can find me on Twitter at @csimps0n.