When you’re putting together a new system there are a ton of things to consider, from power supplies to video cards, and a whole host of other components. There are also accessories to consider: the essentials, such as keyboards, mice and monitors, are pretty hard to forget since you need them just to get Windows installed.
Some accessories are less obvious. These are things that might not sound all that exciting: they won’t boost your FPS or drastically improve the look of your system. What they will do, however, is drastically improve your quality of life—at least when it comes to your computer.
Releasable zip ties
For $11, you can have a pack of 100 reusable zip ties (opens in new tab) in varying lengths and in both black and white. We like reusable ones for organizing cables, and you can still cut them if you want for cable management in your PC case.
Good cable management is a staple of any enthusiast’s build but sometimes we don’t take enough time to consider the products we use to keep our cables looking their best. Zip ties are a common sight in our tool kits, but typical zip ties limit our ability to make changes down the road. Velcro has reusability on its side but tends to collect dust. Luckily there is a product that offers the best of both worlds, reusable zip ties.
Here's a good set of screwdrivers with magnetic tips (opens in new tab) so you don't lose your case screws. They come in varying lengths for hard to reach situations. $15 only. The large grips allow more torque.
Here's another screwdriver set with many more bits (opens in new tab) for the same price as the set above. This is another magnetized set, but the handle is not as large. Still good for precision work.
Anyone who has built a computer has experienced this at some point. Your parts arrive at your door, you tear everything out of their packages and frantically start putting everything together. As you’re mounting your motherboard, a screw drops and halts your progress sending you into a semi-rage. A magnetic screwdriver makes this a non-issue and will let you spend your time gaming instead of trying to pick a screw out from between the mosfets.
Powered USB hubs
Aukey makes great accessories and its 10-port USB 3.0 hub (opens in new tab) has 3 dedicated charging ports and 7 full USB 3.0 data ports. Use 3M double-sided adhesive and stick one under your desk or some other place for quick access. $28.
Every year gaming technology takes a giant leap forward. Our hardware gets more and more capable and the amount of devices that take up precious USB ports increases. We have mice, keyboards, printers, and headphone amplifiers. Throw in a VR headset and the IO Panel starts to look pretty cramped. A powered USB hub gives you the extra connectivity you want and all the power your devices need.
Hard drive docks and adapters
Got a lot of spare hard drives and SSDs laying around? A drive dock might prove useful for bringing them back to life. Just drop your drives into this thing and you get immediate access. $62 from StarTech (opens in new tab).
Don't need a full-on hard drive dock? A USB 3.0 to SATA adapter is good for times when you just want to access spare SSDs without having to connect them to your motherboard. Here's one for $12 (opens in new tab).
Being a PC gamer also tends to make you the de facto computer technician for the whole family, which means every so often you get asked to retrieve files from a broken machine or to nuke a drive before an old machine gets sold or passed on. Dropping a drive into a hard drive dock is a lot more convenient than having to dig around for an extra SATA cable and open up your own machine. A dock also allows you to repurpose internal SATA drives for use as an external backup.