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8 Best Gaming Desktops in 2020- Play Your Games Right Out of the Box

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When you want to have your own PC, you have two choices- you can either build your own or buy a pre-built one.

While there is a lot of joy and pride that you can feel when you build your own PC, the majority of people are not savvy enough to put the components together and that is why getting a pre-built system makes sense for them.

If you are part of that demographic, read on to find out the best gaming desktops in 2020.

Why Pre-built?

There are some that are vehemently against pre-builts simply because they are more expensive than getting the individual components and building the rig on your own.

However, even though it is indeed true that they are more expensive, they provide the convenience of allowing you to play your favorite games right out of the box. You simply plug the machine to an electrical outlet, flick the power switch of the PSU, and then press the button to start things up.

Now, what are the most important things to consider when you are buying a pre-built? First and foremost, you look at the components. If you are going to build a gaming pc, it is imperative that you look at the CPU, as well as the graphics card. Other components that are worth mentioning are SSDs, RAM, CPU cooler, and power supply unit (PSU).

It is also worth considering the size of the pre-built system. There are those that are bulkier than others and there are some that have a compact form factor that allows you to place them in more places than their bigger counterparts.

Of course, the choice is entirely up to you. The good thing is that you can choose between a variety of different configurations that will suit your budget so there really is no problem when getting a pre-built.

Since there are so many gaming desktops out there, I will narrow down the playing field by providing you the best of the best. Here are some of the best gaming PCs on the market:

Best Gaming Desktops

1.Alienware Aurora R10 Ryzen Edition

Price: Starts at $999

Alienware Aurora R10 Ryzen Edition

Alienware has always been at the forefront of gaming PCs for so many years now. In fact, the company’s laptops are touted to be one of the best- both in terms of performance and aesthetics.

Well, the company is now offering gaming desktops with Ryzen 3000 series processes in the form of the Alienware Aurora R10 Ryzen edition.

Prices start at $999 with a modest Ryzen 5 3500 for the processor and an Nvidia GTX 1660 Super 6GB graphics card as the GPU.

If you want the most high-end configuration, you will have to spend $1,849 for it. At this price, you will be getting a gaming desktop with the Ryzen 7 3700X as the CPU and the Nvidia Geforce 2080 Super 8GB as the GPU.

At the same configuration, you will also be getting a HyperX Fury 16GB DDR4 RAM, as well as a 1TB NVMe PCIe SSD.

For what you are getting, I’d say that this is a pretty good starting point for many users simply because even the high-end configuration is offered below $2,000.

The looks might not appeal to everyone, but for the price, I would definitely recommend this one if you have less than 2 grand to spend.

2.Corsair ONE i160

Price: $3,399

Corsair ONE i160

If you want a pretty powerful gaming desktop that has a compact form factor, then the Corsair ONE i160 is for you.

It is a mini-ITX machine which means that its footprint is pretty small, but don’t let its stature fool you as it packs a beast inside that is waiting to be unleashed.

For its CPU, you are getting the Intel Core i9-9900K and for the graphics card, you will be getting the top-of-the-line Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080Ti.

As part of the package, this PC is also equipped with 32GB of DDR4 RAM, liquid cooling for both the CPU and the GPU, and 480GB NVMe SSD + 2TB of HDD storage to help you store your operating system and games.

You also get some nice additions such as a built-in WiFi AC card, Bluetooth 4.2 receiver, a wealth of USB 3.0 Gen1 and Gen2 ports, as well as a combo microphone/headphone jack.

I love the fact that the case that Corsair used for this gaming desktop has a lot of vents so that it can dissipate heat really well. The downside is that you will have to clean the components more often than not, but that is something that you are probably okay with.

Now for the negatives. While I like this gaming PC from a pure performance standpoint, some components could have been better.

For instance, since the 10th generation Intel Core i9 chips have been released, it would have been better if it is equipped with that instead of the Intel Core i9-9900K.

Aside from that, the included hard disk drive is only a measly 5400RPM drive. Sure, it has 2TB of storage capacity, but its slower read speed might not be ideal for storing your games as it will load significantly slower.

Still, the company does offer a solid 2-year warranty for both parts and services so it would still be a worthy choice for people that want a mini-ITX gaming rig.

3.Maingear Vybe Stage 4

Price: $2,749

If you want to get the top of the line gaming CPU in the form of the Intel Core i9-10900K, then the Maingear Vybe Stage 4 is for you. The ‘Stage 4’ in its product name signifies the highest-end model, but you can go for the more modest $899 build if you are on a budget.

Anyway, aside from the best gaming CPU on the market today, you will also get a beefy Nvidia RTX 2080 Super graphics card to go along with it as well.

Other notables include 16GB of RAM, an Intel 660p 512GB NVMe SSD, 2GB 7200RPM HDD, 750W PSU, and it already comes with Windows 10 Home OEM installed in the system. It is also worth mentioning that the processor is also equipped with the Epic 240mm AIO cooler so you can do some overclocking if you are okay with that.

The case that the company went for this build is a standard-sized CPU case because it makes use of an ATX motherboard.

Speaking of the motherboard, the Maingear Vybe’s mobo is probably its weakest link. You see, it comes with MSI’s Z490 A-Pro motherboard and it is an entry-level mobo from MSI. Sure, you can overclock using this part, but at its price, this could have been better.

Still, the overall package comes with RGB bling so if you want flashy lights on your system, you no longer have to buy separate RGB fans and whatnot as they are already built into the machine.

You will also probably love the fact that when you purchase the highest configuration (which is this one), you will also get a Star Wars: Fallen Order and Total War: Three Kingdoms games absolutely free.

4.iBuyPower Gaming Elixir II

Price: $2,999

iBuyPower Gaming Elixir II

iBuyPower is also a reputable brand when it comes to gaming PC pre-built systems. The company’s Gaming Elixir II is the highest configuration on offer and it sells for a little under $3,000.

So, what are you getting for the price? Well, you will be getting an Intel Core i9-9900KF for its CPU, Gigabyte Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 Super for its GPU, 16GB of DDR-4000 RAM, a 360mm Thermaltake AIO cooler for the CPU, and 1TB NVMe SSD as your main storage.

It does have onboard WiFI so you can take advantage of your home network wirelessly and that you do not have to contend with wires and such.

Of course, at this price point, you can expect a whole suite of RGB goodness- from the case fans to the case itself.

For the price, you are also getting a free gaming mouse and keyboard to go along with the system so you are pretty much getting the whole package.

Now, I do have some complaints about this build. For one, it uses a 9th generation Intel Core i9 processor and a Z390 motherboard to go along with it. It would have been nice if they had a configuration that uses the latest CPU from Intel and it would have been so much better than this one.

Still, I love the fact that they’ve used an InWin case for this build as the said company makes impeccable cases that are great in terms of aesthetics and build quality.

5.CyberPower PC Gamer Master

Price: $1050

CyberPower PC Gamer Master

I understand that not a lot of people can spend more than $2,000 on a gaming desktop, so I’ve also included some worthy budget options as well.

The CyberPower PC Gamer Master is equipped with the Ryzen 5 3600 CPU, which is considered as one of the best budget CPUs on the market today. It is coupled with an Nvidia Geforce GTX 1660Ti graphics card which is a good mid-range performer.

For storage, the system is equipped with 500 gigabytes SATA SSD and an additional 1TB HDD that has an RPM of 7200. Of course, you will also be getting 16GB of RAM which is probably the minimum requirement for a good gaming PC nowadays.

At its asking price, I am surprised that the company was kind enough to include some RGB goodness into the gaming rig, as well as bundle it with a good mouse and keyboard as well.

This is one that I can wholeheartedly recommend for people who are on a budget.

6.Zotac MEK Mini

Price: $1700

Zotac MEK Mini

If you want a solid mini ITX build that doesn’t break the bank, the Zotac MEK Mini is one that you should consider.

Let’s talk about the case first. It is built by the company itself and I have to say that it combines both good air cooling performance, as well as flashy aesthetics. That is thanks to the RGB lighting that is at the front of the case.

Anyway, for the components, the MEK Mini comes with an Intel Core i7-9700 processor, which is an 8-core chip that provides considerable gaming performance. It also has a pretty good GPU in the form of the company’s own iteration of the Nvidia RTX 2070 Super.

For its storage solution, you are getting a 240GB NVME SSD and a 2TB 7200RPM HDD. You will also be getting 16GB of RAM and the machine also has WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities as well.

Unlike the Corsair machine above, the MEK Mini is just an air-cooled system but I love the fact that the company included a competitive cooler at that.

The entire system is already pretty good, but if there is one complaint here, it would be its processor. Do remember that the Intel Core i7-9700 is not an overclockable chip and it doesn’t even have hyperthreading which effectively locks its threads to just 8 (same with the core count).

But, if it lacks in CPU compute power, it makes up for it with a pretty good graphics processor.

7.Lenovo Legion C730

Price: $1890

Lenovo Legion C730

Lenovo is one of the best companies when it comes to competitive gaming laptops. However, the company also dabbles into creating some pretty good gaming desktops as well.

The Lenovo Legion C730 is the brand’s highest gaming desktop configuration and I really love the specs that you are getting for a pre-built system that costs less than $2,000.

For the price, you are getting a PC with Intel Core i9-9900K, as well as an Nvidia Geforce RTX 2070 graphics card.

This configuration also gives you a whopping 32GB of system memory so you can use this for some rendering tasks as well.

Also included in the system is a 512GB NVMe SSD and 1TB 7200RPM HDD so that you can store all of your games in them.

You will also love the fact that it also has a built-in WiFi AC adapter, as well as a Bluetooth receiver to help you pair your favorite wireless gaming audio

To cap this package off, you will also be getting a mouse and keyboard as well, though you can also choose to use your own.

You will be surprised that this gaming beast is locked inside a relatively small cube with a handle at the top of the case for maximum portability.

8.HP Omen Gaming Desktop

Price: $2750

HP Omen Gaming Desktop

HP is a renowned computer and laptop manufacturer in that the company has not only made great machines for professional uses, but it has also made some pretty good gaming PCs as well.

The HP Omen is the company’s top-of-the-line gaming desktop and it indeed has the prowess to take on any of your favorite games.

Let’s start with the CPU. It comes with the Intel Core i7-9700K processor which is an overclockable chip with hyperthreading. It is also equipped with the Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080Ti graphics card which, at the time of writing, is the pinnacle of gaming GPUs.

Since the overclockable chips from Intel don’t come with a stock cooler in the box, HP has included a liquid cooling solution that allows you to manually dial the chip on your own, thus unlocking more performance through overclocking.

You get 32GB of RAM, 512GB NVMe SSD, 2TB 7200RPM HDD, and you also get some RGB fans already built into the case as well.

Speaking of the case, the entire machine is quite hefty since it comes with a mid-tower chassis. Still, it does have some additional bling that gives off that gamer vibe that most people like.

As you can probably tell, my only gripe with this machine is that it should’ve been equipped with the latest Intel i9 processor. Still, this system is no slouch at all, given that it comes with the best graphics card on the market at the time of writing.

Final Thoughts

There is nothing wrong with buying a pre-built gaming desktop. In fact, if you have the money, it provides you with the convenience knowing that you can play your favorite games right out of the box.

Of course, you can save money by building your own gaming rig and you can learn so much about building your own systems, but again, there is nothing inherently wrong with pre-builts at all.

Hopefully, this article has helped you decide which gaming desktop you want to buy.

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Amazon Luna- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Cloud Gaming Service

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Amazon Luna

It seems that cloud gaming is the future as a lot of companies are pooling their resources just to make things happen.

Amazon Luna is Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming and it is going to be available soon. Read further to find out more information about this new experience.

Channel-based Platform

Amazon Luna Platform

Google has paved the way for cloud gaming to come to the fore with the release of the Stadia not too long ago. Although it was mired with a lot of different issues, it seems that the company has found a way to make things work.

Amazon also wants in on the action and although there are some similarities with Luna and Stadia, there are also some stark differences as well.

Before I begin, I just want to explain the concept of cloud gaming. Basically, instead of downloading games to your gaming PC or whatever platform you choose to install them, you will just stream those games using data centers that are scattered all over the world.

It should go without saying that you need to have a fast internet connection to make this happen and so that you will not experience high latency (which was a huge problem when Stadia launched).

That being said, the premise of Google Stadia is that you need to either purchase an individual game so that you can play it at any time (forever) or you could subscribe to the monthly plan and play the games that are on offer every month (and continue to play them so long as you’re subscribed).

With Amazon Luna, you will be presented with different channels that you can subscribe to. Each of these channels has different games on offer which makes this quite appealing for game developers to show their mettle.

Right now, the platform is still in beta and there are only two channels available at the moment- Amazon’s own Luna Plus and the Ubisoft Channel. The latter will have 50 games that you can play right away and more Ubisoft games will be added in the future.

Keep in mind that this channel-based system makes it so that developers can price their services accordingly. It remains to be seen how much Ubisoft will charge individual users, so stay tuned for that.

1080p and 4K Gaming

Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna will support both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Of course, the latter would be more taxing and you will need a fast internet connection to be able to enjoy high-fidelity gaming. I suggest that you get a WiFi 6 router and a compatible device to make the most out of your experience.

Cross-Platform Support

Amazon Luna Cross-Platform

Unlike Stadia, Amazon Luna is more flexible in that it supports a lot of different devices. Not only can you play on your PC, but you can also choose to play it using your iOS devices, Android phones, and you can even utilize the company’s own FireTV devices as well.

Now, there has been this entire debacle about Apple’s 30% cut on every app in its App store but the good news is that Amazon can circumvent that.

You see, when you are going to play on your iOS devices, the application will actually be a PWA or a Progressive Web App. Basically, the game that you want to play will run in a contained web browser instead of it being an actual application that you install in your device. This bypasses the whole 30% cut issue which is a good thing.

NVIDIA Hardware Use

According to a recent Steam survey, the vast majority of PC users are all using NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a good thing for Amazon Luna because it means that it can support a lot more people.

That is because the company’s cloud gaming service will use NVIDIA GPUs instead of AMD cards (which Stadia uses for graphics processing).

Supposing that Amazon Luna will be more popular than any other cloud gaming service out there, NVIDIA will enjoy huge profits as a result.

Can Be Streamed to Popular Sites

Amazon Luna Controller

Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform today and Amazon is looking to forge a partnership with the said service to allow you to stream your games to the popular website.

The said platform is widely used as a means of generating revenue- something that is quite popular today due to the recent pandemic.

This move also makes it appealing as well as more and more content creators can use Amazon Luna to reach a broader audience.

New Controller with Alexa Support

Amazon Luna Controller 2

Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna also requires you to get a special controller. The good thing is that the control will have a microphone so that you can use Alexa for specific voice commands.

What’s interesting about the Luna’s controller is that it is completely connected to the Cloud, which means that you do not have to pair it with the specific device you are going to use to play games online.

According to Amazon’s website, it should have a grippy texture and will feature low-friction thumbsticks that provide maximum performance across the board. By using the controller’s microphone, you can actually tell Alexa to fire up the specific game that you want to play, so long as it is inside the channel that you’ve subscribed to.

Conclusion

Amazon Luna is quite enticing, at least, on paper. It is shaping up to be a better cloud gaming service compared to its competitors but the service is still in beta, so there are more things that need ironing out before its official release.

Right now, there are only two channels that are available and Ubisoft hasn’t imposed its pricing yet. The Amazon Luna channel is priced at $6.99

If you are interested in getting in on the action, you can be an early beta tester by subscribing to the service.

Amazon Luna will be out sometime in October.

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Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500

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Acer Nitro XV340CK Review

Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.

Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.

Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively. 

Design

Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.

The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.

Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.

It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.

I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.

The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.

For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.

The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.

Display

Acer Nitro XV340CK Review 2020

The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.

You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.

Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.

However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.

It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.

I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.

Performance

Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.

Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.

How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.

It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.

This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.

To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.

Acer Nitro XV340CK

Verdict

With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.

The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.

Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.

Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.

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HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

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HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review

As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.

In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.

Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.

Design

The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.

I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.

Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.

There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.

This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup. 

While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.

All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.

The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.

Audio Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review 2020

There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.

Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.

That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.

I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.

Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.

As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.

Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.

Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.

Microphone Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S

There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.

Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.

The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.

Verdict

For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.

I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.

I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.

Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.

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8 Best Gaming Desktops in 2020- Play Your Games Right Out of the Box

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When you want to have your own PC, you have two choices- you can either build your own or buy a pre-built one.

While there is a lot of joy and pride that you can feel when you build your own PC, the majority of people are not savvy enough to put the components together and that is why getting a pre-built system makes sense for them.

If you are part of that demographic, read on to find out the best gaming desktops in 2020.

Why Pre-built?

There are some that are vehemently against pre-builts simply because they are more expensive than getting the individual components and building the rig on your own.

However, even though it is indeed true that they are more expensive, they provide the convenience of allowing you to play your favorite games right out of the box. You simply plug the machine to an electrical outlet, flick the power switch of the PSU, and then press the button to start things up.

Now, what are the most important things to consider when you are buying a pre-built? First and foremost, you look at the components. If you are going to build a gaming pc, it is imperative that you look at the CPU, as well as the graphics card. Other components that are worth mentioning are SSDs, RAM, CPU cooler, and power supply unit (PSU).

It is also worth considering the size of the pre-built system. There are those that are bulkier than others and there are some that have a compact form factor that allows you to place them in more places than their bigger counterparts.

Of course, the choice is entirely up to you. The good thing is that you can choose between a variety of different configurations that will suit your budget so there really is no problem when getting a pre-built.

Since there are so many gaming desktops out there, I will narrow down the playing field by providing you the best of the best. Here are some of the best gaming PCs on the market:

Best Gaming Desktops

1.Alienware Aurora R10 Ryzen Edition

Price: Starts at $999

Alienware Aurora R10 Ryzen Edition

Alienware has always been at the forefront of gaming PCs for so many years now. In fact, the company’s laptops are touted to be one of the best- both in terms of performance and aesthetics.

Well, the company is now offering gaming desktops with Ryzen 3000 series processes in the form of the Alienware Aurora R10 Ryzen edition.

Prices start at $999 with a modest Ryzen 5 3500 for the processor and an Nvidia GTX 1660 Super 6GB graphics card as the GPU.

If you want the most high-end configuration, you will have to spend $1,849 for it. At this price, you will be getting a gaming desktop with the Ryzen 7 3700X as the CPU and the Nvidia Geforce 2080 Super 8GB as the GPU.

At the same configuration, you will also be getting a HyperX Fury 16GB DDR4 RAM, as well as a 1TB NVMe PCIe SSD.

For what you are getting, I’d say that this is a pretty good starting point for many users simply because even the high-end configuration is offered below $2,000.

The looks might not appeal to everyone, but for the price, I would definitely recommend this one if you have less than 2 grand to spend.

2.Corsair ONE i160

Price: $3,399

Corsair ONE i160

If you want a pretty powerful gaming desktop that has a compact form factor, then the Corsair ONE i160 is for you.

It is a mini-ITX machine which means that its footprint is pretty small, but don’t let its stature fool you as it packs a beast inside that is waiting to be unleashed.

For its CPU, you are getting the Intel Core i9-9900K and for the graphics card, you will be getting the top-of-the-line Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080Ti.

As part of the package, this PC is also equipped with 32GB of DDR4 RAM, liquid cooling for both the CPU and the GPU, and 480GB NVMe SSD + 2TB of HDD storage to help you store your operating system and games.

You also get some nice additions such as a built-in WiFi AC card, Bluetooth 4.2 receiver, a wealth of USB 3.0 Gen1 and Gen2 ports, as well as a combo microphone/headphone jack.

I love the fact that the case that Corsair used for this gaming desktop has a lot of vents so that it can dissipate heat really well. The downside is that you will have to clean the components more often than not, but that is something that you are probably okay with.

Now for the negatives. While I like this gaming PC from a pure performance standpoint, some components could have been better.

For instance, since the 10th generation Intel Core i9 chips have been released, it would have been better if it is equipped with that instead of the Intel Core i9-9900K.

Aside from that, the included hard disk drive is only a measly 5400RPM drive. Sure, it has 2TB of storage capacity, but its slower read speed might not be ideal for storing your games as it will load significantly slower.

Still, the company does offer a solid 2-year warranty for both parts and services so it would still be a worthy choice for people that want a mini-ITX gaming rig.

3.Maingear Vybe Stage 4

Price: $2,749

If you want to get the top of the line gaming CPU in the form of the Intel Core i9-10900K, then the Maingear Vybe Stage 4 is for you. The ‘Stage 4’ in its product name signifies the highest-end model, but you can go for the more modest $899 build if you are on a budget.

Anyway, aside from the best gaming CPU on the market today, you will also get a beefy Nvidia RTX 2080 Super graphics card to go along with it as well.

Other notables include 16GB of RAM, an Intel 660p 512GB NVMe SSD, 2GB 7200RPM HDD, 750W PSU, and it already comes with Windows 10 Home OEM installed in the system. It is also worth mentioning that the processor is also equipped with the Epic 240mm AIO cooler so you can do some overclocking if you are okay with that.

The case that the company went for this build is a standard-sized CPU case because it makes use of an ATX motherboard.

Speaking of the motherboard, the Maingear Vybe’s mobo is probably its weakest link. You see, it comes with MSI’s Z490 A-Pro motherboard and it is an entry-level mobo from MSI. Sure, you can overclock using this part, but at its price, this could have been better.

Still, the overall package comes with RGB bling so if you want flashy lights on your system, you no longer have to buy separate RGB fans and whatnot as they are already built into the machine.

You will also probably love the fact that when you purchase the highest configuration (which is this one), you will also get a Star Wars: Fallen Order and Total War: Three Kingdoms games absolutely free.

4.iBuyPower Gaming Elixir II

Price: $2,999

iBuyPower Gaming Elixir II

iBuyPower is also a reputable brand when it comes to gaming PC pre-built systems. The company’s Gaming Elixir II is the highest configuration on offer and it sells for a little under $3,000.

So, what are you getting for the price? Well, you will be getting an Intel Core i9-9900KF for its CPU, Gigabyte Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 Super for its GPU, 16GB of DDR-4000 RAM, a 360mm Thermaltake AIO cooler for the CPU, and 1TB NVMe SSD as your main storage.

It does have onboard WiFI so you can take advantage of your home network wirelessly and that you do not have to contend with wires and such.

Of course, at this price point, you can expect a whole suite of RGB goodness- from the case fans to the case itself.

For the price, you are also getting a free gaming mouse and keyboard to go along with the system so you are pretty much getting the whole package.

Now, I do have some complaints about this build. For one, it uses a 9th generation Intel Core i9 processor and a Z390 motherboard to go along with it. It would have been nice if they had a configuration that uses the latest CPU from Intel and it would have been so much better than this one.

Still, I love the fact that they’ve used an InWin case for this build as the said company makes impeccable cases that are great in terms of aesthetics and build quality.

5.CyberPower PC Gamer Master

Price: $1050

CyberPower PC Gamer Master

I understand that not a lot of people can spend more than $2,000 on a gaming desktop, so I’ve also included some worthy budget options as well.

The CyberPower PC Gamer Master is equipped with the Ryzen 5 3600 CPU, which is considered as one of the best budget CPUs on the market today. It is coupled with an Nvidia Geforce GTX 1660Ti graphics card which is a good mid-range performer.

For storage, the system is equipped with 500 gigabytes SATA SSD and an additional 1TB HDD that has an RPM of 7200. Of course, you will also be getting 16GB of RAM which is probably the minimum requirement for a good gaming PC nowadays.

At its asking price, I am surprised that the company was kind enough to include some RGB goodness into the gaming rig, as well as bundle it with a good mouse and keyboard as well.

This is one that I can wholeheartedly recommend for people who are on a budget.

6.Zotac MEK Mini

Price: $1700

Zotac MEK Mini

If you want a solid mini ITX build that doesn’t break the bank, the Zotac MEK Mini is one that you should consider.

Let’s talk about the case first. It is built by the company itself and I have to say that it combines both good air cooling performance, as well as flashy aesthetics. That is thanks to the RGB lighting that is at the front of the case.

Anyway, for the components, the MEK Mini comes with an Intel Core i7-9700 processor, which is an 8-core chip that provides considerable gaming performance. It also has a pretty good GPU in the form of the company’s own iteration of the Nvidia RTX 2070 Super.

For its storage solution, you are getting a 240GB NVME SSD and a 2TB 7200RPM HDD. You will also be getting 16GB of RAM and the machine also has WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities as well.

Unlike the Corsair machine above, the MEK Mini is just an air-cooled system but I love the fact that the company included a competitive cooler at that.

The entire system is already pretty good, but if there is one complaint here, it would be its processor. Do remember that the Intel Core i7-9700 is not an overclockable chip and it doesn’t even have hyperthreading which effectively locks its threads to just 8 (same with the core count).

But, if it lacks in CPU compute power, it makes up for it with a pretty good graphics processor.

7.Lenovo Legion C730

Price: $1890

Lenovo Legion C730

Lenovo is one of the best companies when it comes to competitive gaming laptops. However, the company also dabbles into creating some pretty good gaming desktops as well.

The Lenovo Legion C730 is the brand’s highest gaming desktop configuration and I really love the specs that you are getting for a pre-built system that costs less than $2,000.

For the price, you are getting a PC with Intel Core i9-9900K, as well as an Nvidia Geforce RTX 2070 graphics card.

This configuration also gives you a whopping 32GB of system memory so you can use this for some rendering tasks as well.

Also included in the system is a 512GB NVMe SSD and 1TB 7200RPM HDD so that you can store all of your games in them.

You will also love the fact that it also has a built-in WiFi AC adapter, as well as a Bluetooth receiver to help you pair your favorite wireless gaming audio

To cap this package off, you will also be getting a mouse and keyboard as well, though you can also choose to use your own.

You will be surprised that this gaming beast is locked inside a relatively small cube with a handle at the top of the case for maximum portability.

8.HP Omen Gaming Desktop

Price: $2750

HP Omen Gaming Desktop

HP is a renowned computer and laptop manufacturer in that the company has not only made great machines for professional uses, but it has also made some pretty good gaming PCs as well.

The HP Omen is the company’s top-of-the-line gaming desktop and it indeed has the prowess to take on any of your favorite games.

Let’s start with the CPU. It comes with the Intel Core i7-9700K processor which is an overclockable chip with hyperthreading. It is also equipped with the Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080Ti graphics card which, at the time of writing, is the pinnacle of gaming GPUs.

Since the overclockable chips from Intel don’t come with a stock cooler in the box, HP has included a liquid cooling solution that allows you to manually dial the chip on your own, thus unlocking more performance through overclocking.

You get 32GB of RAM, 512GB NVMe SSD, 2TB 7200RPM HDD, and you also get some RGB fans already built into the case as well.

Speaking of the case, the entire machine is quite hefty since it comes with a mid-tower chassis. Still, it does have some additional bling that gives off that gamer vibe that most people like.

As you can probably tell, my only gripe with this machine is that it should’ve been equipped with the latest Intel i9 processor. Still, this system is no slouch at all, given that it comes with the best graphics card on the market at the time of writing.

Final Thoughts

There is nothing wrong with buying a pre-built gaming desktop. In fact, if you have the money, it provides you with the convenience knowing that you can play your favorite games right out of the box.

Of course, you can save money by building your own gaming rig and you can learn so much about building your own systems, but again, there is nothing inherently wrong with pre-builts at all.

Hopefully, this article has helped you decide which gaming desktop you want to buy.

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Amazon Luna- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Cloud Gaming Service

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Amazon Luna

It seems that cloud gaming is the future as a lot of companies are pooling their resources just to make things happen.

Amazon Luna is Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming and it is going to be available soon. Read further to find out more information about this new experience.

Channel-based Platform

Amazon Luna Platform

Google has paved the way for cloud gaming to come to the fore with the release of the Stadia not too long ago. Although it was mired with a lot of different issues, it seems that the company has found a way to make things work.

Amazon also wants in on the action and although there are some similarities with Luna and Stadia, there are also some stark differences as well.

Before I begin, I just want to explain the concept of cloud gaming. Basically, instead of downloading games to your gaming PC or whatever platform you choose to install them, you will just stream those games using data centers that are scattered all over the world.

It should go without saying that you need to have a fast internet connection to make this happen and so that you will not experience high latency (which was a huge problem when Stadia launched).

That being said, the premise of Google Stadia is that you need to either purchase an individual game so that you can play it at any time (forever) or you could subscribe to the monthly plan and play the games that are on offer every month (and continue to play them so long as you’re subscribed).

With Amazon Luna, you will be presented with different channels that you can subscribe to. Each of these channels has different games on offer which makes this quite appealing for game developers to show their mettle.

Right now, the platform is still in beta and there are only two channels available at the moment- Amazon’s own Luna Plus and the Ubisoft Channel. The latter will have 50 games that you can play right away and more Ubisoft games will be added in the future.

Keep in mind that this channel-based system makes it so that developers can price their services accordingly. It remains to be seen how much Ubisoft will charge individual users, so stay tuned for that.

1080p and 4K Gaming

Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna will support both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Of course, the latter would be more taxing and you will need a fast internet connection to be able to enjoy high-fidelity gaming. I suggest that you get a WiFi 6 router and a compatible device to make the most out of your experience.

Cross-Platform Support

Amazon Luna Cross-Platform

Unlike Stadia, Amazon Luna is more flexible in that it supports a lot of different devices. Not only can you play on your PC, but you can also choose to play it using your iOS devices, Android phones, and you can even utilize the company’s own FireTV devices as well.

Now, there has been this entire debacle about Apple’s 30% cut on every app in its App store but the good news is that Amazon can circumvent that.

You see, when you are going to play on your iOS devices, the application will actually be a PWA or a Progressive Web App. Basically, the game that you want to play will run in a contained web browser instead of it being an actual application that you install in your device. This bypasses the whole 30% cut issue which is a good thing.

NVIDIA Hardware Use

According to a recent Steam survey, the vast majority of PC users are all using NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a good thing for Amazon Luna because it means that it can support a lot more people.

That is because the company’s cloud gaming service will use NVIDIA GPUs instead of AMD cards (which Stadia uses for graphics processing).

Supposing that Amazon Luna will be more popular than any other cloud gaming service out there, NVIDIA will enjoy huge profits as a result.

Can Be Streamed to Popular Sites

Amazon Luna Controller

Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform today and Amazon is looking to forge a partnership with the said service to allow you to stream your games to the popular website.

The said platform is widely used as a means of generating revenue- something that is quite popular today due to the recent pandemic.

This move also makes it appealing as well as more and more content creators can use Amazon Luna to reach a broader audience.

New Controller with Alexa Support

Amazon Luna Controller 2

Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna also requires you to get a special controller. The good thing is that the control will have a microphone so that you can use Alexa for specific voice commands.

What’s interesting about the Luna’s controller is that it is completely connected to the Cloud, which means that you do not have to pair it with the specific device you are going to use to play games online.

According to Amazon’s website, it should have a grippy texture and will feature low-friction thumbsticks that provide maximum performance across the board. By using the controller’s microphone, you can actually tell Alexa to fire up the specific game that you want to play, so long as it is inside the channel that you’ve subscribed to.

Conclusion

Amazon Luna is quite enticing, at least, on paper. It is shaping up to be a better cloud gaming service compared to its competitors but the service is still in beta, so there are more things that need ironing out before its official release.

Right now, there are only two channels that are available and Ubisoft hasn’t imposed its pricing yet. The Amazon Luna channel is priced at $6.99

If you are interested in getting in on the action, you can be an early beta tester by subscribing to the service.

Amazon Luna will be out sometime in October.

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Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500

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Acer Nitro XV340CK Review

Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.

Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.

Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively. 

Design

Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.

The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.

Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.

It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.

I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.

The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.

For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.

The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.

Display

Acer Nitro XV340CK Review 2020

The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.

You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.

Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.

However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.

It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.

I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.

Performance

Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.

Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.

How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.

It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.

This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.

To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.

Acer Nitro XV340CK

Verdict

With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.

The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.

Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.

Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.

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HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

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HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review

As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.

In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.

Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.

Design

The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.

I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.

Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.

There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.

This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup. 

While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.

All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.

The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.

Audio Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review 2020

There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.

Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.

That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.

I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.

Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.

As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.

Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.

Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.

Microphone Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S

There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.

Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.

The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.

Verdict

For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.

I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.

I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.

Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.

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