Computer Memory, Video Cards and Other Essentials
This year PC gaming is once again in vogue. Games like Battlefield 3 are available on all of the major platforms, but the best gaming experience can only be found on a PC. There is a high cost of entry, though, your PC has to be able to display all of the stunning details that can't be found on the console versions.
The biggest limiting factor for these next generation games is the video card. You need brute force to display the high polygon count worlds being built with DirectX 11. Benchmarks have shown NVIDIA based video cards perform better in Battlefield 3, but even the very fast GTX 580 isn't capable of displaying the game to the highest levels of detail known as Ultra Mode.
That means when it comes to video cards, the more you spend on features like larger memory buffers and core clock speed will result in higher frame rates and graphic detail. Expect to spend around 500 Dollars on a GTX 580 with a 1536 MB frame buffer and close to 600 Dollars on a card with 3072 MBs.
I think most gamers would fall over backwards if they unwrapped a new GTX 580 Christmas morning, but the cost is a bit prohibitive. Don't worry, though, there are other options that will bring great joy. At this time memory is at its lowest price ever per capacity. There are many options available, but you can't go wrong with a DDR3-1600 MHz in a quad stick kit. A kit with four sticks covers most platforms from both AMD and Intel. A 16GB kit from Corsair can be picked up for as low as 85 Dollars . This is remarkable value from a memory manufacturer with years of proven experience.
Corsair also just launched their new gaming peripherals line that includes gaming headphones, keyboards and mice. I went to the launch event a couple of months ago and think the headphones and keyboards are amazing products. James just finished his article on the Vengeance 1500 Gaming Headset and called it "…one of the better headsets out there for a very good price…" - I have to agree! Look to spend just under 95 Dollars at Newegg.
Corsair also has two very good keyboards this year. The Vengeance K90 is built for MMO gaming and includes an extra bank of macro keys. The Vengeance K60 is built for FPS gaming and includes a set of special keys designed for comfort. Both use premium mechanical key switches that are considered the best in the industry. If your gamer tends to eat at the keyboard while playing, then these are your best bet. The keys are not enclosed in a base, so crumbs just fall right out.