What we want for Christmas

The holiday season is upon us, which means we here at PC Gamer have recommended everything from what gifts to buy your friends and family to what components to throw in your next rig. But as the season draws to a close, we know there's one burning question on all of your minds: what do we want for Christmas?

James Davenport: VR on a Budget

In the supposed ‘Year of VR’, I’ve yet to find the incentive to plop anywhere near to $500 on a headset, let alone the expensive games needed to make use of one. So while I wait for the hardware to catch up with my budget, I figured I’d find a way to experience the magic of VR without emptying my bank account.

Space Expedition Virtual Explorer: First up, I’m going to slap these fancy space goggles on and look at some orbs, up close. Orange, yellow, purple—all the orbs are there, and since your periphery is cut off, nothing else exists, just orbs.

Ambience of Deep Space FX album: Next, I’ll need to convince my ears that I’m in actually in space and not in my room. Because I’ll need to blot out the sounds of alley cats meowing at 2am, I’ll need to turn the ambience up a bit louder than I’d like, but hopefully a loud, sustained metallic whoosh is enough to convince me that I’m actually in space with my orbs.

Ivation Full Body Wetsuit: If you’re going for a complete, tactile illusion, you’ll need to separate your body from the outside world. A wetsuit should do the trick. Throw it on and roll around. Basically a space suit, right? Maybe buy a swing to hang in your room in case you want to feel weightlessness or an exercise ball if you want to simulate having an actual orb to touch. Boom, a complete VR experience for just about $100. That’s $400 that can go straight to the burger bank. 

Wes Fenlon: Some choice PC parts for a new build

I'm anticipating a new PC build in early 2017, as my current rig is running on a Sandy Bridge Extreme CPU that's really showing its age. So what I really want for Christmas is a brand new Intel Kaby Lake i7, but those aren't quite for sale just yet. Instead, I'm coveting the rest of the parts I want for my new PC!

Case: Fractal Design Define S or Define Mini
Okay, these won't really fit in a stocking. Humor me. Fractal makes my favorite PC cases because they're padded to be super quiet, and full of smart little design choices that make them a pleasure to build in. Pure black obelisk is my style when it comes to cases (although I am a bit in love with the current tempered glass trend). If I go for a full-size ATX motherboard, I'll choose the Define S, which has a ton of building room in its empty chamber. But I'm leaning towards micro-ATX, which means the compact Define Mini. Decisions, decisions…

Cooler: NZXT Kraken X62
NZXT's latest big daddy CPU cooler, the X62 is a sleek 280mm closed-loop unit that's scored well in recent reviews on both cooling and quiet. If I go with the larger Define S case, this will definitely be my cooler of choice. It also has some snazzy RGB LEDs built in, and while I mostly want my PC to be quiet and invisible, pairing that cooler with the Hue+ is pretty tempting, too. 

Evan Lahti: Monitor cleaning supplies

In October we wrote about the importance of knowing how to properly clean your monitor. It's a mundane thing, but I also don't take the time to do as often as I should, and the occasional smudge or dust glaze on my 144hz Acer display probably affects my gaming experience as much as anything else, honestly. This year I'm asking Computerclaus for a bunch of cheap microcloths so I don't have to worry about losing them.

Bo Moore: A new keyboard, the Logitech G213

Call me a plebeian if you want, but I'm a sucker for membrane keyboards. They're what I spent most of my formative years gaming on, and by way of laptops, what I've spent most of my adult life typing on. So when I joined the PC Gamer team, I was delighted to find the keyboard that was donated to my office rig was the Logitech G213, which uses "mech-dome" switches that feel both familiar to a membrane plank but also offer the precision and feedback of a mechanical board. Even better, it's equipped with all the gaming-keyboard accoutrements: RGB lighting, media controls, and customizable gaming software. I love using the board with my office rig, and I want a second one in my stocking this year to complement my desktop at home.  

Tim Clark: Pictures of orcs and space stuff

I see Wes has already picked out an unrealistically large stocking filler, so please tell Pappy Claus that I would also like a sound-strangling PC case for this non-denominational holiday period. According to hardware senpai Jarred, the Corsair Carbide Quiet 600Q Inverse ATX Full Tower Case is a baller when it comes to silent running rigs, so that’ll do nicely. Failing that, I’d like the The Art of Blizzard Entertainment book. At this point I’ve played enough of the company’s games to be dangerously close to fanboyism, so I suppose I might as well go all-in and leave a glossy tome full of muscular orcs in metal lingerie lying around. I am old enough to remember a time when my uncle felt it was acceptable to leave “Photography magazines” chock-full of B&W nudes on the coffee table, so this seems like an entirely fine alternative.  

Jarred Walton: a GP102 in a pear tree

I have the joy of testing virtually every new graphics card that comes along, which is great. Until Nvidia decides that the new Titan X isn't a gaming card, per se, and doesn't send one over for review. And the only way to get a Titan X is through Nvidia or one of their system integrator partners, because Asus, EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI, and all the other graphics card partners aren't allowed to sell rebranded Titan X cards now. Bo got to poke around at the Falcon Northwest Tiki with a Titan X, and the LPC has two, but I haven't actually had the joy of playing games with Nvidia's top prosumer card. And that makes me sad.

It might have something to do with the $1,200 price tag—I'm certainly not going to run out and buy the card on my meager journalist salary—and I can't really complain too much since I have a pair of 1080 cards on hand. The problem is that scaling with SLI isn't all that great these days. Doom, Dishonored 2, Titanfall 2, most DirectX 12 games, and pretty much everything using Unreal Engine or Unity all thumb their collective noses at SLI/CrossFire. Which means despite the hefty price tag, the Titan X is arguably a better purchase decision than 1080 SLI.

Barring the Titan X showing up in my stocking, maybe Nvidia can just send me a GTX 1080 Ti as an early gift instead? That'd do nicely.

Chris Livingston: A mic arm and pop filter for streaming

Sometimes I toy with the idea of streaming a game, but I always balk because I don’t have much of a microphone setup at home. My mic just sits flat on my desk, and I have a Corsair mechanical keyboard, so I’m afraid if I stream a game all anyone will hear is the thumping and pounding of my fingers on the keys. So, I’d like a mic arm, such as the Neewer Scissor Microphone Stand, and maybe a proper pop filter. And if there’s a gadget that could make my voice sound like Sean Bean instead of a 12-year-old kid, I'll take a couple of those too.

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