If you’re anything like me you’ve spent the bulk of your gaming career fatefully devoted to the console life. But maybe, like me, you’re starting to think about investing in a proper PC gaming setup to get in on all of those games you’ve missed out on over the years.
But where do you start? Obviously, you’ll need a computer—desktop or laptop?—but have you thought about every other scrap of hardware you’ll need? What about a keyboard, mouse, and headset? There’s a lot that goes into a PC gaming setup and lucky for you, we’re here to guide the way.
USA Today has tested and reviewed dozens if not hundreds of gaming mice, gaming keyboards, gaming headphones, VR-ready desktops, and gaming laptops in order to find the best in each category. Now that we can definitively say what’s the best keyboard or mouse for gaming, here is what you need to set yourself up as a PC gaming pro.
Asus G11CD — Best VR-Ready Desktop
While plenty of people might advise you to build your own desktop PC if you want to game, not everyone has the time or inclination. We took a look at some of the most popular and affordable Oculus-ready PCs to find which was the best and the Asus G11CD impressed our reviewer from the beginning.
It hits that sweet spot of affordability and power that’s perfect for anyone who’s just starting out in the PC gaming world. Plus, it’s not the hulking behemoth that other desktops turn out to be. In fact, it’s sized perfectly to fit in a smaller space like an apartment or modest living room.
Another key selling point was the port layout. You’ll most likely be removing and hooking up your VR headset of choice multiple times a day or week. You want that process to be as painless as possible and the G11CD makes it cinch thanks to clearly marked ports that won’t leave you frustrated with a handful of cables.
Razer Blade — Best Gaming Laptop
So if you’re looking to game on the go, we’d recommend spending the extra dough to get a machine that will live up to your expectations. A gaming laptop won’t be able to reach the levels of performance a desktop can muster (usually for less money) but if portability is important you might not have a choice.
HyperX Cloud — Best Gaming Headset
When it comes down to the audio performance, you’ll need to be a little cautious. These things are explosively loud—if you’re not careful they could destroy your ears. But once you’ve dialed in the correct volume, you’re left with a headset that delivers every note and range of your game audio with beautifully detailed clarity. I was constantly surprised by new sound effects I heard while playing Overwatch, a game I’ve logged well over 400 hours on. That’s not to mention the detachable mic that—while not as clear and powerful as the Razer ManO’Wars—still left me impressed.
Logitech Pro — Best Gaming Keyboard
The Logitech Pro has the perfect combination of reliable performance, a compact size, and a simple, robust feature set. By ditching the number pad found on the right side of most keyboards and offering a detachable cable, the Pro excels at portability. The mechanical keys boasted reliable, quick travel, and the symmetrical layout was ideal for general-use typing as well as gaming—no matter the genre of game you play.
Razer Mamba Tournament Edition — Best Gaming Mouse
Unlike a lot of the mice we tested, the Mama Tournament Edition felt great to use thanks to higher-quality materials and a balanced weight that didn’t need to be balanced in the slightest. Unless you need a button-heavy mouse to map your hotkeys for an MMO or MOBA, this is the best gaming mouse for your money.