Here at PC Gamer, we love a bit of friendly competition. So, we’ve been asking you to cast your votes for your favourite PC gaming hardware and accessories. We weren’t asking you to trawl through benchmarks and discern the most high-performance, battle ready, gaming gear of all time... that’s our job. Instead, this was a chance to gush about the tech you’re devoted to, despite what those mean bullies said about your fancy RGB LED strips.
From components to peripherals and beyond, we've pulled together a shortlist for each category, also created by the PC Gamer audience. When it comes to the industry leaders, cold, hard numbers may reveal superior technical power, but it's always your opinions, and where you spend your cash, that really turns the tide for big companies.
So, to show our allegiance to the public (and to democracy!) we thought you might like to give a heartfelt nod to the gaming tech manufacturers that hold a special place in your heart. This time, your personal passions had a shot at triumph over technological prowess.
Let’s see if they did… and whether you agree with the final reckonings.
Best graphics card
1. Nvidia RTX 2070 Super
"Never thought I could be playing on high end hardware before."
2. Nvidia GTX 1060
"So far so good, at 1080p runs everything at max."
3. AMD RX 580
"My spark of joy is my Radeon RX 580"
Unsurprisingly, Nvidia's RTX 2070 Super demolished the competition by a landslide (I take it back, technological prowess is always more important when it comes to GPUs). It's a super-powerful graphics card, that has no equal from the Radeon side. To further the bloody battle between Nvidia and AMD, however, the GTX 1060 and RX 580 results were a little more interesting.
The GTX 1060 did take the lead but only by a miniscule margin. So, that extra memory and spare beer tokens hasn’t quite won you all over? The RX 580 might be a more consistent performer when it comes to playing anything that doesn’t run on Unreal Engine, and is undoubtedly the better value for money, but it seems the love for the GTX 1060 has trumped the odd 5-8% performance gain you might see from the AMD silicon.
Personally, I feel AMD probably CUDA done better...
This is our pick for the best graphics card today.
Best processor for gaming
1. AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
"The perfect balance between power consumption, processing power, core count, silence, TDP, frequencies and more."
2. AMD Ryzen 5 3600
"After years with Intel and zero innovation in cores / speed AMD, like a ninja, striked with Ryzen 5 3600, and I love it."
3. Intel Core i5 3570K
"I know it's sad to feel connected with an inanimate piece of silicon but I feel a slight pang of regret at letting it go."
There’s something to be said here about the fact the 3700X won by a meager 1% against the 3600. Seems there’s really not a lot in it when it comes to the 3rd Gen Ryzen chips, raising the question: is the 40% price markup really worth it? But let's not get into a six vs. eight cores for gaming debate here.
It does seem intel has fallen out of favour recently. It’s no surprise then that there were no modern intel chips to be seen on our crowd-sourced shortlist. Still, there was some love showing through for the 8 year-old Core i5. But let's face it, however great the Ivy Bridge architecture is for overclocking, it had no chance pitted against the up-and-coming underdogs at AMD.
This is our pick for the best CPU for gaming today.
Best gaming monitor manufacturer
1. Asus ROG
"The monitor I fell in love with was my very first GSync one."
"AOC's budget IPS monitors haven't missed the mark for me yet."
3. Acer Predator
"I will only change it when it gives up the ghost entirely."
Here, Asus' ROG range of screens has smashed it, securing more votes than both AOC and Acer combined. We love Asus gaming monitors, and the people rate them too, so we can get behind that. I guess if you’re going to spend so much on a monitor you have to justify it somehow, right? But, seriously, it is great to see Asus getting the public recognition it deserves for such high quality gear.
This is our pick for the best gaming monitor today.
Best gaming keyboard manufacturer
1. Logitech G
"Mechanical wireless keyboards with the same response time as wired ones."
"Love them so much after I bought one for home, I bought one for the office."
"Somehow strikes this perfect balance between office-formal and weekend unhinged."
When it comes to keyboards, Logitech has a long-lived legacy to uphold. Voters are still enamoured with the affordability, sturdy workmanship, and office chic Logitech has to offer. The simplicity of the software probably plays a role here too. So, that’s a clear win in both categories for Logitech. They may not have been at the top of our list for best keyboards, with Corsair our consistent favourite, but we can certainly appreciate the Logi appeal. You’re all very practical, no-nonsense people, and we respect that.
Corsair does take a very solid second place, showing that there are still a lot of fans out there. And, despite Razer's recent showing with ever-improving mechanical gaming keyboards, Corsair ended up with twice the number of votes in the keyboard category than the green-tinged team.
This is our pick for the best gaming keyboard.
Best gaming mouse manufacturer
1. Logitech G
"Reliable & accurate. Need nothing more."
"Comfortable and the most fit-for-purpose mouse I've ever owned."
"Probably not the world's best mice, but comfortable as heck."
Again it's Logitech at the top of the tree for gaming mice. With so much effort put into both the sensor technology and the connections, Logitech has almost entirely sewn up the market. Its Lightspeed wireless tech means that it can create wireless mice which are indistinguishable from wired ones, and with the PowerPlay feature you practically never have to charge them up either.
Razer's gaming mouse heritage does mean it can boast a creditable second place, pushing Corsair into a close third. But the public have spoken and they want a Logitech mouse and keyboard on their desktops.
This is our pick for the best gaming mouse today.
Best gaming headset manufacturer
"I've bought four of them (one for me, two for kids, one for my brother).”
"Solid build, great sound for their price range, discreet but still cool-looking and very comfortable."
"Fantastic sound and fantastic mic."
Looks like Razer didn’t manage to snake its way into this category. Logitech and Corsair are also slacking behind, and HyperX only managed to grab second place, despite the Cloud Alpha being one of the best headsets ever made.
Instead, we have SteelSeries coming out on top, with top-quality, affordable wired and wireless gaming headsets, with both the looks and the aural quality. And they're not-so-closely followed by HyperX. That Arctis Pro + retractable mic, tasteful RGBs, and all-round sound quality has you all in a steel grip, does it? Understandable.
This is our pick for the best gaming headsets today.
Best microphone manufacturer
"Blue Yeti with RTX Voice, elite combo."
"Unless you want to invest in a mixer you will need to use a usb microphone."
"The classic SM7B for me for life."
Fanboys will be happy to hear, it is indeed a happy blue mic day. Recently acquired by Logitech, it’s not surprising that the boys in Blue, with their smart knobs, have come out on top. In fact, Blue's mics secured more votes than the losing teams put together.
The competition between Rode and Sure was much tighter though, with Rode obtaining second place only by a smidge. Even so, as we may have predicted, Blue microphones continue to dazzle us with their clarity, versatility and reliability. Victors from the blue team, leave the arena now and rest, you’ve earned it.
This is our pick for the best gaming microphone today.
The wildcard entry
1. Herman Miller chairs
"I wish I knew what I've been missing all these years."
2. Nvidia Shield
"I have always wanted to play my PC like a console and now I can!"
3. Elgato Key Light
"A remote controlled light I use for streaming and video calls, it honestly is a high quality product too."
This one ended up a bit of an odd mishmash of products. All of the above are champions in their own right. Still, it seems the need to avoid sweaty gamer-back and lumbar strain is greater than the need to curl up on the sofa to enjoy the countless features the Nvidia Shield has to offer.
Either way, the top two left the Elgato Key Light in the dark here. Who needs professional lighting anyway? Darkness is more mysterious and edgy.
This is our pick for the best gaming chair today.