The Buttonsmashers PC Gamers Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

Most of the Editorial team here on The Buttonsmashers are primarily PC gamers, and so we thought we’d put together a list of recommendations for upgrades, and games you may want to acquire for your PC this holiday.

Let’s begin with hardware upgrades, because as any self respecting PC Gamer knows, what you have under the hood helps dictate what you can play on that system.
graphics-card

So, lets begin with the GPU. Your choice of GPU could depend on numerous factors, including your budget, current hardware, future build plans, and what software you are planning to use on the system.

I’ve used AMD GPUs for the past 4 to 5 years, and in that time I have grown to dislike them due to their lack of software support. I’m sure you’ve all heard of AMDs new drivers code named Crimson. These drivers harness the power of current generation AMD GPUs, and allow them to perform well with applications that use DirectX 12. This is all in all a good thing, but AMD have in the process abandoned their previous line of GPUs to suffer without driver updates, making those cards absolute. Some of the graphics cards that have been left without support are still quite capable, but practices like this force end-users to upgrade even when they might otherwise have a GPU that can handle newer titles. AMD have hindered the use of some of their cards by not supporting them with newer driver updates. The point I’m trying to make is that AMD may have superior hardware in some situations, but their support for that hardware, and some of their other practices may otherwise deter potential buyers who may may be considering purchasing their cards.

Due to the reasons mentioned above, our recommendations for GPUs for this season are the Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti, 1060 & 1070:

The GTX 1050 Ti is the entry level to PC gaming, and it offers a powerful solution to gamers that are either working with a tight budget, or are using a system that does not have the ability to use a 6 pin power connector. These little beauties are best for those using 1080p monitors.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1050 Ti mini: Link

MSI GTX 1050 TI 4G OC: Link

EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GAMING: Link

Each of these options for the 1050 have higher clocked variations. If you have the extra cash I’d recommend get one of the more powerful ones.

The GTX 1060 is the next step for those who have better PSU options. They are generally priced around the $300 USD price mark, so only consider getting this if you know that you’re going to be using your PC to play 4K titles. They come in both 3 and 6 GB variants. I recommend getting the 6GB model for obvious reasons. MORE POWER!

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1060 Mini: Link

MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 1060: Link

EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 GAMING: Link

The GTX 1070 is the entry level to VR Gaming on the PC. It is a powerful card at about the price of a current gen home console. I would only recommend purchasing such a card if you have intentions to play VR games, use multiple 4K displays, or something outrageous like that.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1070 Mini: Link

MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 1070: Link

EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 SC GAMING: Link

Now keep in mind that these are my personal recommendations for GPUs on behalf of The Buttonsmashers. You are free to use or not use these recommendations as you see fit.

Moving on from the GPU, let’s take a look  at some of the other components that you may need.

 

power_supply

I recommend getting any Corsair PSU, but keep in mind that the wattage doesn’t need to be high if you have no plans for overclocking your system, or using a lot of components.

If your build is a standard one with a stock GPU, a stock CPU, standard memory, and an SSD + HDD, then you don’t need anymore than the Corsair CX Series, CX600, 600 Watt (600W) Power Supply: Link

If you’re doing any of those aforementioned things then the  Corsair RMx Series, RM850x, 850W, Fully Modular Power Supply should get the job done: Link

I also recommend using a power supply calculator to help make your choice in PSU a lot easier: Link

 

memory

We have had the pleasure of using memory from crucial earlier this year, and they are still our number 1 recommendation for quality memory for PCs/ Laptops. Their system scanner is a must have for anyone that would like to know what’s inside their system without having to open it up, and if you’re buying memory, why not get yourself some SSD magic to help speed that system up a bit more. Use the scanner to learn about what type of memory your system currently has, then decide what you may need.

Ballistix Elite 2133 MHz DDR3 Review: http://simplybinge.com/2016/07/review-ballistix-elite-2133-mhz-ddr3-ram/

If you’re just getting your first SSD, then I recommend the Crucial MX300 525 SATA 2.5 internal Solid State Drive for storing your Operating System and important programs: Link

If you already have your Operating System on an SSD, and have the spare cash, then I recommend the Crucial MX300 1TB SATA 2.5 Inch Internal Solid State Drive for storing games and applications: Link

Review: http://simplybinge.com/2016/04/tech-talk-how-much-does-high-end-memory-improve-performance/

Please remember SSDs improve loading time. They do not affect the performance after the application/ game has already loaded. Applications/Games that benefit most from their use are The Adobe suite, Sony Vegas, and open world games like GTA.

 

processor

As for upgrading your CPU… don’t. AMD’s Zen Architecture CPUs are not on the market just yet so fans of AMD CPUs should just hold out till they are available. If you’re an Intel user that has either a i5 or i7 from any of the last 4 generations, you are fine without the need to upgrade your CPU.

 

If your PC is all powered up on the inside, then it’s time to place your focus on the hardware that you interact with regularly. These include your mouse, Keyboard, headset, and controllers.

 

Mouse: When we think mice we always think Logitech. They simply make the best in the business and so we have placed two of their mice in this section. The Logitech MX Master Wireless Mouse is my first choice for a mouse, because of it’s design, feel and wireless capability: Link

For gamers that are worried about latency the you’ll want to get the Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum RGB Tunable Gaming Mouse: Link

 

 

Now the choices we’ve listed for this one are also between two keyboards, but this time they’re not from the same manufacturer. The first of which is one that I personally use every day due to a hand injury I picked up. The Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 for Business is an easy recommendation for any PC user who suffers with pains or cramps in their hands while using the keyboard: Link

If you’re not a broken human like me then you’re probably going to want something a bit more mechanical and flashy like the HyperX Alloy FPS keyboard. At its $99 USD price tag, and backlit mechanical keys, it’s hard to not recommend this keyboard: Link


When it comes to headsets we recommend mainly LucidSound or HyperX. Both companies have great headsets that offer high quality audio experiences. Between the two I personally prefer the options LucidSound have to offer, because of their superior sound and base, but where HyperX shines is in the comfort department. Their headsets are so comfortable that you will forget they’re on your head almost immediately after you put them on.

 

LucidSound: LS30 is a powerful wireless headset that enhances any audio experience. I found them useful for gaming on console, and PC, as well as listening to music off of those device: Link

Review: http://simplybinge.com/2016/09/tech-review-lucidsound-ls30-gaming-headset/

The LS20s are similar in sound quality to the LS30, but they are smaller for greater portability, and corded. It’s pretty much the best headset you can get when considering audio quality for $100 USD: Link 

Review: http://simplybinge.com/2016/11/hardware-review-lucidsound-ls20-gaming-headset/

LucidSound also have a new headset scheduled for release at the end of December called the LS40. We haven’t had a chance to test these yet, but we’d like to assume that they will meet the same high quality as the previous LucidSound Headsets: Link

 

As for HyperX we recommend the HyperX Cloud II. It’s a $100 USD 7.1 surround sound USB headset that can also be used as a stereo headset when being used without the USB attachment: Link 

If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on audio, then you may want to consider the well priced HyperX Cloud Stinger Gaming Headset. It is priced at $50 USD and offers the same comfort as other HyperX headsets: Link

Review: http://simplybinge.com/2016/10/hyperx-cloud-stinger-review/

On the PC when it involves game controllers. We always recommend either the XBOX ONE or XBOX 360 controllers due to them being supported by any game that offers controller options; however, in recent months we have also recommended the Steam controllers and PS4 controllers for playing games on PC. 

If the XBOX ONE controller is your choice, and it should be, then you should get some accessories for it. The cable that comes with the controller isn’t very durable and the rubber on the sticks wear away due to extensive use. You’ll only require one thing to avoid any of those aforementioned issues. The Snakebyte XBOX ONE Game: Kit. It’s got everything you’ll need for all your controller care needs in one nice package.

Review: http://simplybinge.com/2016/12/tech-review-snakebyte-vrcontroller-gamekit/


online-stores-header

If you’re going to be gaming on your PC, you’re going to want to have mainly Steam and Origin on your PC. They are the two most major distributors of software on the platform. Other options include Microsoft’s XBOX App which offers access to XBOX ONE exclusives, and Then there’s GOG, who offer a DRM free experience for gamers that don’t like invasive software on their PC.

Before you start downloaded any games from any of the previously mentioned platforms, you’re going to want to update your drivers so that those games can run properly on your system. Both AMD and Nvidia have made this update experience a bit easier in recent years with Nvidia Experience and AMD’s Evolve.

 

With walled gardens and drivers out of the way we can finally talk about the games.

If you use steam we recommend following our curator for recommendations through out the year: Link

 

Hue: http://simplybinge.com/2016/08/game-review-hue-pc/ 

Steam – Link

Hue is Easily the best game I’ve played this year.

~Qudduws

 

Attack on Titan / A.O.T. Wings of Freedom: http://simplybinge.com/2016/09/game-review-attack-on-titan-ps-vita/

Steam – Link

Inside: http://simplybinge.com/2016/07/game-review-inside/

Steam – Link

Boid: http://simplybinge.com/2016/07/game-review-boid/

Steam – Link

Rive: Wreck, Hack, Die, Retry!: http://simplybinge.com/2016/10/rive-review-wreck-hack-die-retry-pc-1080p-60fps/

Steam – Link

Yomawari: Night Alone: http://simplybinge.com/2016/10/game-review-yomawari-night-alone/

Steam – Link

A simple, but very subtle and profound coming-of-age story.

~Jorge

 

Layers of Fear: http://simplybinge.com/2016/03/layers-of-fear-review-dont-look-back/

Steam – Link

What lies beneath? I won’t say, but you must…finish it.

~Tim

 

Loading Human: Chapter One: http://simplybinge.com/2016/11/game-review-loading-human-chapter-1-playstation-vr/

Steam – Link

Adam Wolfe: http://simplybinge.com/2016/12/game-review-adam-wolfe/

Steam – Link

Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus: http://simplybinge.com/2016/12/game-review-senran-kagura-shinovi-versus-pc/

Steam – Link

Earth’s Dawn

Steam – Link

Mark McMorris Infinite Air

Steam – Link

 

For Origin users we recommend getting:

FIFA 17: http://simplybinge.com/2016/10/game-review-fifa-17/

Mass Effect Trilogy

Need For Speed

Mirror’s Edge & Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

The Dragon Age series, yes including part 2

Titanfall 2

Battlefield 1

 

For those that use the XBOX app:

Forza Motorsport 6: Apex: http://simplybinge.com/2016/05/forza-motorsport-6-apex-pc-first-impressions/

Asphalt 8: Airborne: https://youtu.be/emsUFNVIrtk

Forza Horizon 3

Gears Of War 4

 

If you’re on GOG get yourself:

Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

BROTHERS: A TALE OF TWO SONS

BANNER SAGA

Please note that this is not a definitive list of all the great stuff you can get for your PC this holiday. These are just our suggestions. As a responsible gamer, it is your responsibility to do your own research to help you decide if any of our suggestions are useful to you. 

Roger Bergstrom

Podcasting & Multiplayer is his game, PC is his preference.

Jessica Brown

Retro Games and Technology Editor. She'll beat pretty much every Mega Man game without breaking a sweat.

Qudduws Campbell

That messy hair bloke: Romantic, Food lover, Gamer, Sports Fan, Manga Reader, Tech Head, Podcaster... Pretty much do a bit of everything.

Tim Bledsoe

Podcasts & Single-player games are his thing except on "Adventure Time Tuesdays"

Zach Auld

Explosive, outspoken Podcaster/ Streamer

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