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The Most Bang for Your Buck Gaming PC Builds for 2020 Under $1000

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Best PCs Under $1000 (1)

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
Gaming PC Build 1

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.

Price: $982

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
Gaming PC Build 2

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
Gaming PC Build 3

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.

Price: $900

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.

Upgrade Path

Gaming PC Build 4

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

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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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The Most Bang for Your Buck Gaming PC Builds for 2020 Under $1000

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Best PCs Under $1000 (1)

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
Gaming PC Build 1

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.

Price: $982

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
Gaming PC Build 2

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
Gaming PC Build 3

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.

Price: $900

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.

Upgrade Path

Gaming PC Build 4

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

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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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