The best gifts for PC gamers

PC gamers are fickle and opinionated, which makes tracking down the best gifts for PC gamers quite the chore. We rounded up 11 gifts that any PC gamer would be happy to find in this year, from budget stocking stuffers to massive gaming monitors.

We split our guide into two sections. The top five gifts will work for anyone. If you’re not sure what to buy for the PC gamer in your life, these are the ones to stick with. The bottom six are our favorite peripherals in various categories, but make sure to check with who you’re shopping for to make sure they need an upgrade in the first place.

A Steam gift card

Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you don’t know what to buy for the PC gamer in your life, pick up a Steam gift card. The holiday season is flanked by two massive Steam sales every year: The autumn sale, which arrives around Black Friday, and the winter sale, which usually spans the last week of December and the first week of January.

Steam is the largest marketplace for PC games, and the platform has made a name for itself with its massive sales. What we don’t recommend is buying a PC game as a gift. Most PC games are only available digitally through Steam, and you’ll generally spend more elsewhere. $50 might only buy a single PC game at a retailer. A $50 Steam gift card, though, can often buy three games or more.

Corsair MM700 RGB extended mouse pad

Corsair MM700 mouse pad on a desk.Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Corsair MM700 makes the most mundane PC peripheral exciting again. It’s an extended mouse pad that can hold a mouse and keyboard at the same time, and it features RGB lighting around the edge that players can sync with the rest of their components. There are other RGB mouse pads that are cheaper, but none deliver the quality Corsair offers.

Although the lighting is the main draw of the Corsair MM700, it’s a great mouse pad in its own right. It’s 4mm thick, which is perfect for most setups, and it includes two USB ports so gamers can plug in their mouse and keyboard without a mess of cables. A mouse pad may not normally get a PC gamer excited, but the Corsair MM700 will.

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Xbox Game Pass

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate logo.Image used with permission by copyright holder

What’s better than a few PC games? Over 300 PC games. Xbox Game Pass may carry the Xbox name, but it works across consoles and PC. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes the PC version, which will unlock somewhere between 300 and 350 games automatically. It’s a subscription service, so your PC gamer will have to keep up with it. The monthly price is worth it, though.

Game Pass has a lot of games, but more than that, it has a lot of good games. Full-priced, $60 games arrive on the service almost every month, and there’s a massive backlog of titles for players to dig into. We recommend a three-month gift card because it carries a solid discount. That said, you can pick up a single month as well.

Velcro cable ties

Velcro cable ties bundle.Image used with permission by copyright holder

Although not the most exciting gift, most PC gamers can appreciate a tidy battle station. We’re fans of the Velcro Brand One-Wrap cable ties for cleaning up messy cables. They come in a variety of colors so your PC gamer can match the color with the rest of their rig, and they make tidying up loose cables a breeze.

When building a gaming PC, there’s a lot of focus on cable management inside the PC, while the cables on the outside are usually forgotten about. Any PC gamer can tell you that they have a dozen or more cables running to and from their PC, and a couple of reusable cable ties can turn that bird’s nest into clean cable runs.

Compressed air duster

Compressed air duster pack.Image used with permission by copyright holder

Like cable ties, compressed air may not seem exciting, but it’s essential for any PC gamer. Dust is the plague that all PC gamers are trying to avoid, and that requires regular cleanings. Instead of an endless pile of Dust-Off, we recommend picking up a reusable compressed air duster that gamers can use for years to come.

The one we chose is wireless and comes with a long, thin nozzle. That’s great for poking into the crevices of the PC and blowing out dust, crumbs, and pet hair from a keyboard.

Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animate

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animate is the best gaming keyboard you can buy. It’s expensive, but any PC gamer can appreciate the goodies it brings. The aluminum construction is sturdy and it gives way to the keyboard’s signature feature — the AniMe matrix, which is a grid of LEDs that you can customize with images, animations, and useful features like a clock.

As you can read in our Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animate review, it’s certainly a great-looking keyboard. We’re recommending it because it includes hot-swappable key switches, however. This allows you to change the mechanism for each key, customizing the feel of typing and ensuring the keyboard can last for decades.

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A close-up of the Western Digital SN850 SSD.Image used with permission by copyright holder

More storage space is never a bad thing, especially as the size of games continues to grow. Although standard hard drives offer more storage for a lower price, the best SSDs, such as the WD_BLACK SN850, are much faster. That means two things: faster install times and faster loading times.

We highly recommend asking before picking up this hard drive, though. You’ll want to make sure that your PC gamer can install it in their PC and that they have a space to slot it in. This drive uses the PCIe 4.0 connection standard, too, which is much faster than the previous version. That said, some PCs don’t support the standard, so it’s best to double-check.

Steelseries Arctis Nova Pro headset

Logo on the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro headset.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro is the gaming headset to end all gaming headsets. It’s easily the best gaming headset you can buy, bringing together a beautiful design with exceptional sound quality with compatibility with any system you can throw at it.

Read our SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro review for all the details, but you don’t need the full rundown to see this is a great gaming headset. It comes with active noise canceling, which you can use in and outside of games, as well as two batteries that charge while you’re playing so you never have to plug the headset in. The Arctis Nova Pro is pricey, but it’s worth every penny.

Scuf Instinct Pro controller

Hands holding the Scuf Instinct Pro controller.Image used with permission by copyright holder

Keyboard and mouse are the way to go for PC gamers, but there are some games that just work better on a controller. You shouldn’t just pick up any old controller, though. The Scuf Instinct Pro is the perfect complement to a keyboard and mouse, and although it’s expensive, the price is worth it.

The key difference between the Instinct Pro and other controllers is the addition of four back buttons. PC gamers are used to using all of their fingers to play games, but standard controllers only take advantage of thumbs and index fingers. The extra back buttons allow the PC gamer in your life to use all of their fingers, making the transition from keyboard and mouse much more comfortable.

Corsair Sabre RGB Pro wireless mouse

Corsair Sabre Pro RGB mouse on black background.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Corsair is a titan in the world of PC peripherals, and the Sabre RGB Pro shows why. It’s a wireless gaming mouse that manages to outclass the competition in specs while undercutting on price. It’s the full package, which is why we awarded it a rare Editors’ Choice award in our Corsair Sabre RGB Pro Wireless review.

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Although cheaper than the competition, the Sabre RGB Pro is still around $100. If you’re on a tighter budget, we recommend looking at wired options. Corsair offers a wired version of the Sabre Pro for around $50, and the Logitech G502 Hero is an excellent alternative for around the same price.

Alienware 34 QD-OLED

The Alienware QD-OLED monitor in front of a window.Digital Trends

The Alienware 34 QD-OLED is the best gaming monitor you can buy, and it’s the crown jewel for PC gamers in 2022. The big reason is right in the name: QD-OLED. This panel technology provides deep contrast and vibrant colors, offering one of the best images you can get out of a monitor right now.

It’s an ultrawide monitor, which means it’s a bit wider than a typical display. For a lot of PC gamers, that’s a perk. The extra horizontal space leads to more immersion in games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Horizon Zero Dawn. Just double-check on desk space — the Alienware 34 QD-OLED is a larger monitor.

Infamously hard to shop for

A Pc gamer playing games.gorodenkoff/Getty Images

PC gamers are difficult to shop for. We’re a highly opinionated bunch, and with so many great options on the market, it’s not as easy as picking up something from a buying guide and calling it a day. If you don’t know what to buy, ask. Ask what brands they prefer, what peripherals they need for their setup, and what type of device they’re looking for.

If you’d rather keep your gift a surprise, the best course of action is to pick up a Steam gift card or Xbox Game Pass subscription. There isn’t a PC gamer out there that would be disappointed to see extra Steam credit or access to hundreds of games in their stocking.

Editors’ Recommendations

Categories: GAMING

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