The Covid-19 situation forces the world governments to take action. One of the things that they do to help stop the spread of the virus is to encourage people to stay at home.
Of course, we cannot stand it if there is no form of entertainment. While streaming services provide such, you might want to spend your time playing your favorite games instead.
Read further to find out the best PC builds for under $1000 in 2020.
Why a $1000 PC Build?
While you can build a perfectly capable gaming PC for under $500, there is more room for improvement. That is why a $1000 gaming PC should be more than enough for users that want to use their machines for more than just gaming.
For the price, you are getting a highly competitive gaming setup that can run even the best, graphically-intensive games out there that can go beyond 60fps.
If you are not sure how to pick the components, do not worry as I’ve done all of the hard work for you.
Read further to find out our recommendations.
Best Gaming Build #1: The All-Arounder
- CPU: Ryzen 5 2600
- GPU: EVGA Geforce RTX 2060 KO
- Motherboard: Gigabyte B450 Aorus Pro WiFi
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR-3200
- SSD: Kingston A400 960GB SATA
- PSU: Corsair CX650M, 650W 80 Plus Bronze
- Case: Lian-Li Lancool 2
The first gaming PC build on the list is quite a competitive one indeed. It is powered by the Ryzen 5 2600 which is a 6-core, 12 thread processor that packs a punch.
I understand that a lot of people might not agree with me here, especially for people that want to use an Intel processor. Well, Intel is still best for gaming if all you want to do is play games, but for everything else, nothing beats AMD in this price range.
Anyway, the processor is more than capable of handling other tasks as well. For example, if you want to play games and stream it at the same time, you do not have to worry about dropped FPS or whatnot as it is able to handle that and more.
For the GPU, I recommend the EVGA RTX 2060 KO. It is the cheapest 2060 RTX card on the market and it performs admirably well even in the most demanding titles.
Its cooler is quite good and it is definitely no slouch. Its form factor is also considerable, so if you intend to use a smaller case, you can definitely do that.
The motherboard is the Gigabyte B450 Aorus Pro WiFi. It is an ATX motherboard that has a considerable amount of ports and it fits all of the components really well without space constraints.
This particular motherboard also comes with a WiFi antenna that you can attach at the back if you want to use your WiFi connection.
For the RAM, I went with the Corsair Vengeance LPX which is a 16GB memory kit that is clocked at 3200MHz. For the uninitiated, AMD CPUs work really well with fast-performing memory.
Since games are getting bigger and bigger in terms of file size, a 500GB SSD will not be sufficient enough in this day and age. That is why I went with the Kingston A400 which is a 960GB SATA SSD. If you have some money to spare, you can also add a 2TB hard disk as well.
When it comes to building any PC, it is important that you do not skimp on the quality of your power supply.
The PSU is important because it is the one that will give your entire system the power it needs to operate. If you get a cheap but inferior quality PSU, you run the risk of damaging all of the components attached to your motherboard.
That being said, Corsair has been a pioneer when it comes to power supplies and that is why I recommend the Corsair CX650M. It is a 650-watt, 80 Plus Bronze modular PSU that is more than enough for this system build and because it is modular, you will have better cable management.
Lastly, the case is Lian-Li’s Lancool 2. This is a newly released chassis that has amazing airflow and cooling performance, great radiator support, and has RGB headers on the front for that added bling. It is an ATX case so all of the aforementioned components should fit without any problems.
Best Gaming Build #2: Pump Up Those Frames
- CPU: Ryzen 5 3600
- GPU: Sapphire Pulse RX 5700XT
- Motherboard: MSI B450 Tomahawk MAX
- RAM: TeamGroup RGB 16GB DDR4-3200
- SSD: Team Group MS30 512GB
- PSU: Corsair CX550M, 550-Watt 80 Plus Bronze
- Case: BitFenix Nova Mesh TG
Now, upon glancing over the specs, you might think that it is all over the place, but let me explain the rationale behind this gaming build.
While some compromises have been made, the CPU is bumped up a generation higher which means that you also get better gaming performance as well.
Yes, the Ryzen 5 3600 is also a 6-core, 12-thread processor, but its clock speeds are bumped up by a considerable margin. Furthermore, it uses a 7nm process node which is more efficient and more powerful than the previous Zen + architecture that was used by the previously mentioned R5 2600.
Anyway, for the GPU, I went with the Sapphire Pulse RX 5700XT. At the time of writing, this is the cheapest RX 5700XT graphics card that you can find on the market. I also want to change your mind when it comes to the word ‘cheapest’ because what I mean to say is that it is the most powerful without breaking the bank.
Now, you might not agree with me with this recommendation simply because of the issues that plagued this part when it comes to its graphics drivers, but AMD has released drivers that have fixed almost all of the issues in the past, so my recommendation still stands.
The said graphics card is also a bit more powerful than the 2060 card mentioned above, especially in some games. Its performance is comparable to the Nvidia GTX 2070 Super and it can even outperform the said card in some titles as well.
For the motherboard, I went with the MSI B450 Tomahawk MAX. I understand that you can technically use any B450 motherboard out on the market, but in order for the R5 3600 to work, you will have to update the motherboard’s BIOS, which is something that a lot of people are not comfortable with.
The ‘MAX’ B450 motherboard from MSI allows you to plug a Ryzen 2 processor in and it should work right away without any BIOS updates.
Although you can save a bit of money on a non-RGB RAM, it would still be good from an aesthetic standpoint to get an RGB ram instead.
For that reason, I recommend TeamGroup RGB 16GB RAM which is clocked at 3200MHz. To unlock its full potential, do not forget to go to the BIOS and enable the XMP profile.
The SSD for this build is a downgrade from the previous build in that its capacity is half of the aforementioned one. Still, 512GB should work for most people.
Anyway, I recommend the TeamGroup MS30 512GB SATA SSD along with the build because it is also quite inexpensive yet still works wonders. Of course, you can spend some extra dough if you want to go with a 1TB SSD instead.
The power supply is also ‘downgraded’ in the sense that it is only a 550-watt PSU, but hear me out. The components of this build will not even reach 450 watts even at full load, so adding an extra 100-watt headroom allows you to upgrade to more power-hungry parts later down the line.
Case options are entirely subjective because what I would recommend may not sit well with others from an aesthetic standpoint. But, I went ahead and recommended the BitFenix Nova Mesh TG.
You’d want to go for ‘Mesh’ cases because it has better airflow (though dust buildup might be a problem if you do not clean your case regularly).
The Nova Mesh TG has a meshed front for ample airflow and the tempered glass side allows you to display all of your amazing components in all their glory.
Price: $998-$1010 Depending on Miscellaneous Fees
Best Gaming Build #3: Cheaper Yet Still Powerful
- CPU: Ryzen 5 3600
- GPU: MSI Geforce RTX 2060 Ventus 6G
- Motherboard: MSI B450 Tomahawk MAX
- RAM: Tforce Delta RGB 16GB DDR4-3000
- SSD: Intel 660p 512GB NVMe
- PSU: EVGA 700GD, 700-Watt 80 Plus Gold
- Case: Corsair Carbide SPEC-05
If you want a $900 gaming PC build that performs really well, then look no further than this PC recommendation.
The CPU is a Ryzen 5 3600 because it is inexpensive and performs really well not only on games, but also in other tasks. And oh, did I mention that you can overclock this particular CPU as well (you will need to spend money on a much beefier cooler, though).
For the GPU, I went with the MSI Geforce RTX 2060 Ventus 6G. It is still an RTX 2060 card like the EVGA variant mentioned earlier, but its smaller form factor will allow you to fit this graphics card even on a smaller chassis.
The B450 Tomahawk MAX motherboard from MSI makes a comeback because it is a competitive mobo that works with Ryzen 5 3600 right out of the box. This is perfect for people that want to game without having to worry about updating the BIOS.
I also recommend that you use an RGB RAM for that added flair and that is why I recommend the Tforce Delta RGB clocked at 3000MHz.
NVMe SSDs are much faster than SATA SSDs and so I recommend the Intel 660p 512GB. For $30 more, you can get the 1TB option if you want.
Even though the component list doesn’t reach more than 450 watts of power, I would still recommend the EVGA 700GD, which is a 700-watt, 80 Plus Gold power supply.
For the uninitiated, the 80 Plus Gold certification makes sure that the PSU is more efficient than the lower-tiered ones.
Lastly, the case is the Corsair Carbide SPEC-05. It is a relatively simple case but it definitely holds all of the said PC parts nicely.
What to Do After Building the PC?
Once you’ve got everything set up, the first thing that you want to do is install the operating system. If you want to install Microsoft Windows 10, then go ahead and download the ISO file to your USB flash drive and format your stick accordingly.
After installing the OS, you’d want to download the appropriate drivers for your components.
First, head on over to AMD’s official website and download the latest chipset driver that is supported by your motherboard. This is to ensure that it is equipped with the latest code to make your processor even more powerful and efficient.
Then, you’d want to go and download the graphics card drivers. For Nvidia, go to their official website, but if you went with an AMD card, go to their official website and look for the appropriate graphics card driver.
Don’t forget to enable XMP inside the BIOS to unlock the full potential of your RAM. Since all of the PC builds use an AMD processor, faster RAM works really with the CPU.
As for the upgrade path, that depends on what you want to do with your PC. A $1000 PC is more than capable of doing a lot of things other than gaming.
If you strictly use the system for gaming, I suggest that you upgrade your graphics card and SSD first. The CPU comes in a close third and your RAM can also use an upgrade if you want.
For the people that want to add an extra flair to their rigs, you can also decide to upgrade your CPU’s cooler with an RGB cooler and you can also think about adding extra fans with RGB lighting as well.
Hopefully, this article has helped you get the best possible builds under $1000
Xbox One S- Is It Worth Buying or Should You Wait for a Better Console
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, people are advised to stay at home as much as possible. If you relied on different forms of entertainment that would require you to go out, you may want to hold them off for now.
The best thing that you can do is stay at home and enjoy your time with your family. Of course, you will need some form of entertainment and while gaming PCs are great, they might not be within many people’s budget.
If you are looking for a competent gaming console, the Xbox One S might be the right one for you.
Read further to find out more about it.
What is It?
The Xbox One S is a minor upgrade to the original Xbox One and although the console is a bit dated at 7 years old now, it is still quite an appealing gaming machine to get.
Since the original Xbox One is bulky and its specs leave much more room for improvement, the One S is basically a good updated version of the said console.
It has a smaller form factor and you can opt to download digital games as opposed to buying physical discs to play your favorite titles.
Despite it being smaller than the original console, the Xbox One S is still somewhat bigger than one might think.
It has an 11.6 x 8.9 x 2.5-inch outer shell which houses a huge 1 terabyte hard drive and the built-in power supply. The latter is a welcome change since that means that transporting the entire machine is much easier now.
Since the game console runs hot, Microsoft has added air vents all throughout the console (though it is more prominent at the top). This ensures that even if you intend to play games for hours on end, it will remain relatively cool.
Looking at the front, you will find two physical buttons- one for the power and one for the eject. A little bit lower than that, you will find the USB 3.0 ports, as well as the sync button.
At the back, you will find a bevy of ports that are usually found in game consoles. There, you will find an HDMI In and HDMI Out port (HDCP 2.2). You will also find a couple of USB ports, an Ethernet port for internet connectivity, and an S/PDIF port if you want to add your own audio system.
One cool thing that Microsoft added is the IR blaster on the face of the console. This will allow you to turn on your other devices that make use of IR signals which is pretty neat.
As for the physical optical drive itself, instead of the standard one that was used on the original version, the Xbox One S comes with a Blu-Ray player that is capable of playing 4K media content.
Keep in mind that although Microsoft said that the said game console can play at 4K quality, the output is just upscaled and is, therefore, not played at the native 4K resolution.
Before anything else, here are the specs of the console:
- CPU: 8-Core Jaguar CPU at 1.75GHz
- GPU: 12 CU (914MHz), 1.23 Teraflops
- Storage: 1TB (2TB discontinued)
- Memory: 8GB DDR3 RAM
- Optical Drive: 4K UHD Blu-Ray player
- Color: Matte White
- Ports: HDMI in/ HDMI out, (2) USB 3.0 ports, IR Blaster, S/PDIF output, Ethernet port
The game console’s performance package is modest at best and although it doesn’t beat the Playstation 4 by any means, it is still respectable nonetheless.
While the company is slated to release its beast of a machine later this year, Sony’s own Playstation 5 might also appeal to a large audience as well.
Microsoft allowed the Xbox One S to play any 1080p game and upscale its graphics to 4K. What upscaling means is that it converts the graphics of the game you play and plays it at a much higher graphical fidelity.
Of course, not all games are supported here but those that are able to harness this feature will have its graphics look much better than the original.
Keep in mind that for you to even enjoy this feature, your TV must support 4K native resolution, otherwise, it won’t work.
It is also worth noting that if you enable the upscaling feature, the games that you play might need more time to load, simply because all of the graphical elements that needed to be displayed will have to be processed or converted to a much higher resolution.
Still, the upscaled content is really noticeable and I highly recommend that you turn this feature on by default (unless of course if you suffer from any major slowdowns).
The Xbox One S also has HDR support. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and it makes the graphics look even crisper than the standard digital format.
People tout this console as a glorified 4K blu-ray player as well. Instead of buying another dedicated blu-ray player, you can just plug your favorite discs onto the console itself and manage the contents of it from there.
While you can use the gamepad to navigate through the different settings and menus, you can also choose to buy a standalone remote as well if that is what you prefer (though, there really is no need for that).
Its 4K blu-ray player outputs really crisp images thanks, in large part, due to the HDR feature that is embedded in the console itself.
Not a lot of people want physical game discs because they are prone to be lost and the disc might get scratches and whatnot. That is why you are also given the option to download your favorite games digitally instead.
If you want to go the digital route, you can enroll yourself in Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, which is a subscription-based service that allows you to download your favorite games directly to the console’s hard drive.
I have mixed feelings about the Xbox One S. While it is definitely an improved version of the original Xbox One, its performance package cannot rival the Playstation 4 Pro.
Still, with its ability to upscale your games to 4K and with its robust built-in blu-ray player, the Xbox One S is still a great choice for people that want to game on a budget.
This console is currently priced at $200.
Intel Core i9-10900K Review- Why It is Too Little, Too Late for Intel
Are you looking for the best gaming CPU out there? Then the Intel Core i9-10900K is definitely the one to get.
Intel is still the king when it comes to creating processors that are intended for gaming, though its latest CPU does more things than that.
Read our Intel Core i9-10900K review to find out more.
What is It?
The Intel Core i9-10900K is Intel’s latest flagship desktop processor that is the successor to the Intel Core i9-9900K released in 2018.
It is a 10-core, 20-thread processor that comes with Turbo Boost 2.0 and a new Thermal Velocity Boost feature that boosts a single core up to 5.3GHz.
The processor is slated to become the best gaming CPU on the market, but how does it fare to its main rival, the AMD Ryzen R9 3900?
What is MCE?
Intel’s newest processor also comes with a new feature known as the MCE or the Multi-Core Enhancement. This is basically the company’s own sanctioned overclocking feature that can be toggled on or off on the motherboard’s BIOS.
What this essentially does is that it enables the processor’s turbo-boosting functionality, allowing the CPU to run at its rated boost speeds at all times. Of course, this comes at the cost of increased power draw, as well as increased thermal output, so you need to have a beefier cooler if you want to enable this feature.
- No. of Cores: 10
- No. of Threads: 20
- Lithography: 14nm++
- Base Frequency: 3.70GHz
- Max Turbo Frequency (TB and TVB): 5.3GHz (only on the best core)
- Cache: 20MB Intel Smart Cache
- TDP: 125W
- Bus Speed: 8GT/s
- Max Memory Size Support: 128GB
- Memory Type: DDR4
- Maximum Memory Channels: 2
- Max Memory Bandwidth: 45.8GB/s
- Integrated Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630
So, what are the differences between the 10900K and its predecessor? Well, the core count is bumped up by 2 and with hyperthreading, that means that the newest processor has a total of 20 threads.
Aside from that, if your CPU’s cooling capacity is competitive, you should be able to enjoy its thermal velocity boost or TVB functionality.
TVB is basically where the processor improves its best core out of the bunch and bumps its speed to 5.3GHz.
Keep in mind that your cooler should be good enough to keep the processor’s temperature running relatively low, otherwise, the feature will not kick in.
That also means that even using a high-end air cooler is out of the picture. To get the best possible performance, you will need to use an all-in-one liquid cooler, preferably a 280mm or 360mm AIO.
Yes, the Intel Core i9-10900K processor is an overclockable CPU, though keep in mind that you will definitely need an adequate cooler for this.
Overclocking is where you will increase the CPU multiplier, as well as the voltage, to run the processor higher than its advertised clock speed.
Because of how these chips are created, the binning process might give people better overclockable processors than others (that is why it is called the silicon lottery).
What that means is that the overclocking capability of the processor might be slightly different than other chips. For example, if one is able to overclock the CPU to 5.4GHz at 1.4 volts, you might not be able to reach that on your own chip even if you feed the same voltage to it.
If you want to try overclocking, you have to read up on resources on how to do it safely. To give you an idea, since the Intel Core i9-10900K is still a processor using the Skylake architecture, you should start using 1.3v as a base voltage and go up from there.
The idea of overclocking is that you want to bump up the clock speed in small increments and adding a bit of voltage until everything is stable (using stability tests to verify).
Since you will effectively be raising the voltage, it is important to note that overclocking does increase thermal output and that is why it is imperative that you only do this if your CPU’s cooling system is more than adequate.
The Intel Core i9-10900K uses the new LGA-1200 socket which means that you are forced to buy a new Z490 motherboard.
At the time of writing, there is no news regarding cheaper motherboards out there that support the new Comet Lake S processors which means that you will have to spend more or less $200 for a cheap LGA-1200 motherboard.
That is also the reason why people do not like Intel because, in every new CPU, they are forced to buy another motherboard mainly because the previous-generation ones are rendered obsolete.
Aside from the chipset, the Z490 motherboards will come with the MCE feature mentioned above.
People that want to grasp an overclocked processor but do not want to tinker with the settings themselves can just toggle the feature on or off to unlock the CPU’s full performance.
Aside from that, the chipset also now supports 2.5GHz internet connectivity, though the motherboard must come with the said feature (and, only expensive motherboards have them).
Intel still holds the crown when it comes to gaming performance as it is 18% faster than the AMD Ryzen 3900X CPU.
Why Intel is better than AMD when it comes to that is thanks to the former’s focus on better single-core performance.
Evidently so, the 10900K fared better in Cinebench R20’s single-core performance benchmark, though it is trampled upon by Ryzen 3900X superior multi-core performance.
If you intend to buy this processor solely for gaming, there is no doubt that the Intel Core i9-10900K is an obviously good choice.
Since most games rarely utilize more than 4 cores, you are still going to get more than adequate performance across the board.
However, keep in mind that that is the only strongest suit of the processor as AMD CPUs completely obliterate the said processor in multi-core and multi-threaded workloads.
For instance, firing up a game such as Metro Exodus makes the 10900K the king. But, when you play a CPU-intensive game such as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, its subpar multi-core performance definitely shows.
Power Consumption and Heat
Because the processor is still using the 14nm process node, the Intel Core i9-10900K runs hotter than its main competition (that uses 7nm nodes).
Despite the fact that it is using a much bigger node than its competitor, the Intel Core i9-10900K is still surprisingly cool nevertheless.
If you run the processor completely at stock, its power consumption is 205 watts at full load. However, when overclocking, it could potentially go as high as 300+ watts and that is concerning from a pure power consumption standpoint.
However, even though the product is power-hungry, the CPU still runs relatively cool and that is thanks to how the heat spreader is laid out.
You see, Intel employs what the company calls ‘STIM’ or Solder Thermal Interface Material. What this basically means is that Intel has managed to make the die thinner to incorporate more physical cores into the processor.
They’ve also managed to use copper instead of silicon. The former is touted to be better in heat transfer than the latter, so more copper is used as a means of keeping the processor cool.
In most of the games I’ve tested, the processor managed to run only at 70-75C at a room temperature of 24C.
When overclocked, the CPU is still somewhat cool at 86C at full load, though power consumption ramped up to 336W. Keep in mind that it was the maximum recorded power draw but the average remains relatively constant at 280-300 watts.
Now, you also have to take note that I did use a 360mm AIO which means that it is a beefy cooler that can tame even the hottest CPUs on the market.
While my processor is not as toasty as was perceived before the release of this CPU, it is worth remembering that you will need a competent cooler (an AIO or a custom cooling kit is recommended; high-end air coolers and lower need not apply).
The Z490 Platform
As mentioned earlier, the processor will require a new motherboard and that is because the CPU uses a different socket. That is why you will need a Z490 motherboard if you want to run an Intel Core i9-10900K CPU.
Now, what makes the Z490 platform different? Well, it is nearly identical to its predecessor with some welcome additions.
First is its support for 2.5GB Ethernet connectivity. As the world is now going towards faster internet connections, it would be nice for a motherboard to support the fastest one available to date.
The newest motherboards also come with Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology support for both RAID and PCIe configurations. Plus, you can also use the company’s Extreme Tuning utility as well.
Other than that, the Z490 is a minor update in terms of features, though it is also the first LGA12xx motherboard that is released on the market.
Despite its new socket, all 115x coolers are still supported, so if you happen to have one on your old rig, you will be happy to know that it will still work on the newest platform.
Price and Availability
Intel’s newest flagship desktop processor costs $488 SRP. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic, supplies are going to be scarce which means that prices can go higher than its suggested retail price.
You also have to factor in a new motherboard since the CPU will require one. The cheapest Z490 motherboard that you can find costs a little under $200 so if you factor the total cost, you will spend more than $700 on the mobo and the CPU package.
The new processors from the company should be available on the market, though keep in mind that the supply might not be able to meet the demand.
If you want the best possible PC gaming experience, you will not only need a gaming keyboard, monitor, and mouse, but you will also need a really good CPU as well.
To tell you the truth, the newest flagship desktop processor from Intel is somewhat disappointing. Sure, it has the best possible single-core performance and it is definitely great for gaming, but for all other tasks, it is middling at best.
Its main competitor, the Ryzen 9 3900X, is priced below $410 and the motherboards that support it have also had their prices cut considerably. That is definitely quite tempting to get, seeing that AMD’s processors are great for multi-core workloads.
With Intel’s lack of innovation as it is still using a 14nm process node and the fact its performance is middling in all other things, you could say that the Intel Core i9-10900K is too little, too late.
The 7 Best Gaming Keyboards of 2020 That Are Worth Your Money
Do you want to improve your gaming experience? If that is so, then read this article to find out the best gaming keyboards in 2020.
Aside from a robust keyboard, you may also want to consider getting yourself a good mouse and a good gaming monitor while you’re at it.
Why You Need Gaming Keyboards
My gaming career started when I was in 6th grade. My first-ever machine was still running a dual-core processor and while I can game using a typical mouse and keyboard, it may not have given me the best user experience.
Then, I was introduced to ‘gaming’ keyboards by a friend of mine and the rest was history. Why do I love gaming keyboards so much, you ask?
Well, that is because they come with a lot of features; more than you think you need. Most gaming keyboards nowadays come with amazing mechanical switches that not only improve your response times but also give you the best possible experience when you are playing your favorite titles.
While most people can play even without such a peripheral, I am telling you that getting one is definitely something that you’d want to consider.
Also, gaming keyboards also last longer because the mechanical switches are rated to last at least 50 million keystrokes.
When you are going out on the market to find a gaming keyboard, you will find that there are actually two major types: A full-sized keyboard and a ‘tenkeyless’ version.
A full-sized keyboard is one that is complete with all of the bells and whistles. Basically, you not only get a numpad on the side but you might also get a bevy of additional keys on the left side of the keyboard as well.
A tenkeyless keyboard, as the name implies, is one that has a more compact form factor than the former. It is called as such because it doesn’t come with a numpad, thus allowing you to save some space.
When you ask a lot of professional gamers, they would actually go for the tenkeyless version as opposed to a full-sized one. That is because its more compact form factor would allow them to easily access the keys that they need much faster than a regular-sized keyboard.
Of course, the choice is still entirely up to you. I love using full-sized keyboards because I also work using one that is intended for gaming, but to each their own.
One of the biggest selling points of gaming keyboards nowadays is their use of mechanical switches.
The said switches are different than what your regular, run-of-the-mill keyboard comes with. Instead of a rubber dome underneath the keycap, it actually comes with a switch that is more complicated than that.
For a bit of a rundown, here are the parts of a mechanical keyboard switch;
- Switch Housing- This is an entire block of the key that holds everything together
- Keycap- The keycap is the topmost portion of the key where you will find the number or letter
- Stem- This is the mounting mechanism of every key. Different switches have different stems
- Metal Contacts- Once you press down on a key, the metal contact will be the one that registers the said keystroke
- Slider- The slider is responsible for pushing the keys down. This is also responsible for interrupting the connection between the side of the switch, as well as the metal contacts
- Spring- Located at the base of the slider, the spring is responsible for the retraction of the key; priming it for another input or keystroke.
Now, when choosing a gaming keyboard, it is also important that you consider the feel of the keys itself. There are three things that you need to learn here: Linear, Tactile, and Clicky.
Linear key switches are what you need if you want a consistent keystroke. It has a smooth feel when you press the key down and because there is nothing that hinders the trajectory, this is ideal for professional gamers who need a faster switch.
For tactile and clicky switches, both of them are somewhat the same in the sense that there is a noticeable tactile bump whenever you press a key. However, the difference is that in clicky switches, there is also a ‘click’ sound whenever you go past the actuation point (hence, the name of the switch).
The actuation point is the point of your keypress that registers the input on the screen. A clicky switch has a clicky mechanism inside, allowing you to know that you’ve passed the actuation point and can continue on with what you are doing since the input has already been registered.
Tactile switches do not have that clicky sound but it still has that noticeable bump once you’ve reached the actuation point. This is ideal for heavy typists since every keystroke doesn’t have that annoying clicking noise.
Now, there are many different types of switches out there, but I would give you a rundown on some of the best that you can find on the market today.
- Cherry MX Red- A favorite of many back when faster key switches weren’t made yet, the Cherry MX Red is a linear switch that has a light actuation force of 45 grams and an actuation point of just 2mm. Its fast and linear travel makes it ideal for fast-paced games.
- Cherry MX Brown- Considered as the middle-ground when it comes to usage, Cherry MX Brown switches are tactile switches that have the same actuation point and force required to that of MX Reds, albeit that it has that tactile bump that I mentioned earlier. Perfect for people who want to type on a better keyboard.
- Cherry MX Speed- Perfect for professional gamers, the Cherry MX Speed beats the Red version by a lot. It still requires the same actuation force of 45 grams but its actuation point is only 1.2mm which means that you can make lightning-fast inputs without worrying about anything. Typists are prone to make more errors using this type of switch though.
- Cherry MX Blue- Although most gaming keyboards on the market do not come with Cherry MX Blue switches anymore, it is still worth noting. Because of its 2mm actuation point and 60 grams of actuation force required, Cherry MX Blues are only great for typists. Still, there are some gamers that would still want to buy this one just because of its signature ‘clicky’ sound.
- Razer Opto-Mechanical- Newer Razer keyboards come with this switch and it is pretty good. For people that want the ‘clicky’ sound of the Cherry MX Blues but with the performance of the speed switches, this is the one to get. It is only available on Razer’s premium gaming keyboards though.
- Razer Green- This is a clicky switch that requires a slightly lower actuation force (55 grams) than the Cherry MX Blue switch. It also has a slightly lower actuation point at 1.9mm. Used primarily for gaming but may also be good for typing, Razer greens are what you want to get to enjoy the best of both worlds.
- Razer Orange- Razer’s orange switches are the same as the green ones except that they are ‘silent’ tactile switches as opposed to the clicky version that is the Razer greens. It is still great for both typing and gaming and is the one to get if you want a more silent gaming keyboard.
Features that You Need
What makes gaming keyboards quite appealing to a lot of people is that it is not a boring piece of plastic or metal that sends inputs to your computer; it is a ‘loud’ one in the sense that you get a whole lot of features to improve your gaming experience.
Here are some that you might need:
- Layout- Choose if you want a more compact keyboard in a tenkeyless version or if you want the full-sized, more robust gaming keyboard
- Switch- Of course, this is the main reason why you’d want a gaming keyboard anyway. What switch you want to get is entirely up to you
- Macro Keys- These are extra keys that are added to the keyboard. These are perfect whenever you want to assign different keys/tasks and you want an easier way to do those things just by pressing a key
- USB Passthrough- This is considered optional but it is still a nice thing to have, especially if you have a lot of other peripherals
- Anti-Ghosting- Also known as ‘N-key rollover’, this feature ensures that even if you press a lot of different keys at the same time, all of those inputs are registered as they are
- On-Board Memory- If you want to tweak macro keys and whatnot, you want some on-board memory so that you can store your profiles on the keyboard itself (thus eliminating the need to have proprietary programs installed on your computer after adjusting some settings)
- RGB- I mean, who wouldn’t want flashy lights on their keyboards?
Best Gaming Keyboards of 2020
1.Corsair K95 RGB Platinum
Price: $199 (Usually goes on sale for less than $170)
The Corsair K95 RGB Platinum is considered by many as the best gaming keyboard of 2020. That is because it has plenty to offer and is definitely worth your money.
For starters, you get to choose between two different switches: Cherry MX Speed or Cherry MX Brown. The former is ideal for fast-paced games and the latter is great not only for gaming but also for typing as well.
It is a full-sized keyboard that comes with a column of macro keys on the left side of the keyboard itself. Using Corsair’s proprietary software, you can assign different inputs or macro commands on those keys which is ideal for a lot of gamers
On the top-right side, you will find the media controls that will allow you to control the volume, as well as, your media accordingly.
The gaming keyboard also comes with a lot of extras as well. For instance, you also get some textured keycaps for the WASD keys, so for FPS gamers, this is a really good addition.
You also get a detachable wrist rest so you will have the option to have it attached (perfect for long gaming sessions) or detached if you want a simpler layout.
The USB passthrough is also a welcome addition since you can plug other USB-powered peripherals as well (Especially useful if you are using a wireless mouse and a USB dongle).
It has per-key RGB lighting that you can tweak to your heart’s content using the company’s software which is pretty good and it allows you to customize your keyboard the way you want it.
Really, the only downside to this keyboard is its high price tag but if you have $199 to spend on a gaming keyboard, the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum is definitely worth every dollar.
2.Razer Huntsman Elite
Razer has really done it again with the Razer Huntsman Elite. This is the company’s most premium gaming keyboard to date and it definitely deserves its high price tag.
For starters, it makes use of the company’s own Razer opto-mechanical switches. They come in two variants now: one that has a more linear feel and the other with the original clicky switches. Both are very responsive so they are perfect for all gamers.
Aside from that, I especially love the included wrist rest because it uses a faux leather material that is soft to the touch. Of course, you can also choose to detach it if that is what you want.
It has a bevy of media control buttons on the top-right corner and has RGB lighting for amazing aesthetics too.
While I really like this gaming keyboard, it doesn’t come without its shortcomings. For one, it doesn’t have a USB passthrough like the Corsair gaming keyboard above.
Second, it doesn’t come with additional keycaps and it also doesn’t have macro keys as well. If this is a deal breaker for you, you may want to consider our other recommendations in this article instead.
However, if you want to try out the new Razer opto-mechanical switches, then the Razer Huntsman Elite is still a solid recommendation.
3.HyperX Alloy Elite RGB
A full-sized keyboard without compromises, the HyperX Alloy Elite is another solid choice for gamers out there.
You can choose between three switch types: Cherry MX Red, Cherry MX Brown, or Cherry MX Blue. Aside from that, you also get an extra set of keycaps for your WASD and QWER keys as well.
The keyboard comes with a USB passthrough which is always a welcome addition to any keyboard.
Its full RGB backlighting can support up to 16.9 million colors so you can tweak the said peripheral the way you want it.
You’ve got a bevy of media controls on the top right corner and you also have some buttons to turn off the lighting and toggle some other things on the left.
While this keyboard doesn’t come with dedicated macro keys, you can use the software to tweak the other unused keys on the keyboard for your games if you need it.
Its detachable wrist rest is okay, albeit the feel of it could slightly be improved to be more comfortable.
Aside from that, the company’s software could definitely use some improvement, though I love the fact that it is not buggy or anything like that.
For a sub-170 dollar keyboard, the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB is a no-compromises keyboard that performs really well.
4.SteelSeries Apex Pro
Price: $209 (But usually goes on sale)
Every premium gaming keyboard comes with its own unique twist and the SteelSeries Apex Pro takes it up a notch.
It is a full-sized keyboard that has an OLED display situated at the top right corner of the product itself.
This OLED display can be used to tweak a number of different things: From the lighting to the actuation point and so many others. The company said that it is going to add more features down the line so keep an eye out for any updates to its firmware.
Aside from the OLED display, the SteelSeries Apex Pro is also unique because it uses a different switch in the form of the company’s ‘Magnetic’ switches.
What makes them unique is that you can tweak its actuation point in the software (or on the OLED display) to your liking. This is ideal for whenever you just want to type a document or play intense games.
Of course, with just about any product on the market, it also has its downsides. For one, this keyboard takes up a lot of space on your desk thanks to its humongous wrist rest.
Second, it doesn’t come with dedicated macro keys, though you can tweak the other keys present on the board.
Still, its build quality, adjustable actuation point, and its amazing RGB lighting performance, the SteelSeries Apex Pro is still a worthy keyboard to get.
5.Asus ROG Strix Scope
First-person shooters require you to smack keys that are reachable by your left hand. And, if you play a lot of FPS games, I suggest that you get the Asus ROG Strix Scope.
This gaming keyboard is actually dedicated to FPS gamers and its solid aluminum build quality ensures that this keyboard is built to last.
It is a full-sized keyboard without dedicated macro keys but what is really appealing here is the inclusion of additional keycaps, as well as a wider control button on the left side of the keyboard.
That is right. Since most FPS gamers need to press either the shift or control buttons, the said keys are bigger in this keyboard and that is pretty unique in its own right.
Its solid build quality coupled with FPS gaming features make the Asus ROG Strix Scope easy to recommend.
6.Logitech G Pro
All of the keyboards thus far on this list are full-sized ones, but there are people that would want to get a more compact, tenkeyless form factor instead. That is where the Logitech G Pro comes in.
The Logitech G Pro is a gaming keyboard that is built specifically for gamers. Aside from its robust build quality, the keyboard is packed with Logitech’s own GX Blue clicky switches that not only have a pretty good actuation point and the force required for that split-second responses, but they are also great to the touch as well.
Despite the switches being advertised as ‘clicky’ switches, they aren’t as loud as the other switch types on the market.
The keyboard’s small form factor allows you to bring it with you on LAN tournaments and overnight gaming sessions and thanks to its three-pronged braided cable, you will not have to worry about the keyboard’s digital inputs at all.
People will also love the inclusion of RGB lighting in the form of the company’s LIGHTSYNC functionality and it has on-board memory so that you can store your profiles without ever having the need to install the company’s own software ever again.
The only negative thing that I will talk about this gaming keyboard is that while you can bring it with you with ease, it doesn’t come with its own carrying bag.
Still, the Logitech G Pro mechanical gaming keyboard is beloved by many- pro and casual gamers alike.
7.HyperX Alloy FPS Pro
Who said that you have to spend a lot of money on a gaming keyboard? For people that want a tenkeyless keyboard that is less than $100, look no further than the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro.
The said keyboard was made for FPS gamers because of its small form factor, as well as the included Cherry MX Red switches. However, it is also great for other types of games as well.
As you can expect with a tenkeyless keyboard, it doesn’t come with a numpad but instead has only the most essential things that a typical gamer would need.
Its solid steel frame and its detachable cable allow you to have peace of mind whenever you bring this keyboard with you on LAN events. And oh, you also get a carrying pouch with it as well.
The only thing that is what I would consider a negative (but not really for most people) is that it only has red, per-key backlighting and it is not RGB.
But, for the price and what you get in the package, the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro is a tenkeyless keyboard to get.
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