If it’s freedom of choice you want, PC is the platform for you. Buying gifts for a PC lover can be absolutely intimidating. Unlike consoles, there are so many options when it comes to PC. There’s an almost endless array of hardware, peripherals, and games to choose from, and it’s hard to know where to start.
We’ve put together a PC gift guide for 2018 that will help you build a new computer, figure out which flight stick is best, or what some of the best PC games are. Read on to get some ideas on the best gifts you can get yourself or your loved ones if you’re looking for PC-related products.
PC Gift Guide 2018 – Holiday PC Builds Guide
Instead of going with pre-built PCs, we’ve put together two builds that should hit the most common price points. While pre-builts are undoubtedly convenient, we highly encourage anyone who’s looking for a new PC to build it themselves. Not only do you save money that way, but you also get the satisfaction of knowing you put it together.
(Realistic) Budget PC Build
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2600X Processor – $199.99 – Buy it Now
- CPU Cooling: Corsair H60 AIO 120mm Radiator – $69.98 – Buy it Now
- GPU: EVGA Geforce GTX 1060 Gaming Graphics Card Graphic Cards – $258.80 – Buy it Now
- Motherboard: MSI Arsenal Gaming AM4 ATX Motherboard – $122.67 – Buy it Now
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 DRAM 3000MHz C15 Desktop Memory Kit – $124.99 – Buy it Now
- SDD: Samsung 860 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD – $149.99 – Buy it Now
- Power Supply: NZXT E650 PSU – $99.99 – Buy it Now
- Case: NZXT H500 ATX Computer Case – $69.99 – Buy it Now
Instead of going with the bare minimum with our budget holiday build, we wanted to put together an affordable PC with enough power to run pretty much anything on the market right now at medium settings. For just over $1,100 this computer will give you (or a loved one) a healthy start in the world of PC gaming. Most importantly, it gives you plenty of room for upgrades down the road.
You could skimp on some of the components here to save money, but in the long run you’ll be thankful you spent a little more. The 650 W PSU will allow you to explore SLI or a beefier single GPU when its time for an upgrade and 16 GB of RAM should be adequate for gaming for the foreseeable future. AMD seems dedicated to the AM4 socket, so when it comes time for a new CPU, you shouldn’t find you need to upgrade. You could save a bit of cash by dropping the Corsair H60, but it gives you room to overclock if you desire, which will keep your 2600X competitive for a longer period.
High-End PC Build
- CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K Processor – $534.99 – Buy it Now
- CPU Cooling: NZXT RL-KRX72-01 Kraken X72 360mm All-in-one Water/Liquid CPU Cooling with Software Controlled RGB Lighting – $199.99 – Buy it Now
- GPU: ASUS GeForce RTX 2080 Ti O11G Dual-fan OC Edition graphics card – $1,318.89 – Buy it Now
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming Motherboard – $238.87 – Buy it Now
- RAM: CORSAIR DOMINATOR Platinum Series 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4 DRAM 3000MHz C15 memory kit – $277.99 – Buy it Now
- SDD: Samsung 860 EVO 2TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD – $299.99 – Buy it Now
- Power Supply: NZXT NP-1PM-E850A E Series PSU 850 Watt Fully Modular Digital Power Supply, 80+ Gold Certified – $114.99 – Buy it Now
- Case: NZXT H700i Mid-Tower Computer Case with digital fan control and RGB lighting – $169.99 – Buy it Now
If you’re looking to go for something a bit more flashy, our high-end build gives you a PC that can run every game out there on ultra. This is the computer you want to get if you’re looking for 120fps+ at 1440p or higher or if you want to get a consistent 60fps at 4K. This might be overkill if you’re just looking to game, but this system also lends itself well to streaming (especially if you’re looking for a single PC solution), and video encoding, as well as other intensive computing applications.
Given how Intel has decided the best business model is to release a new CPU line every 6 months, you might look for a more conservative CPU since the i9-9900K might not hold its value. The motherboard is pricey, but it has plenty of bells and whistles that set it apart from cheaper products. The GTX 2080 Ti is also a bit expensive at $1,300, but it’s the best GPU out there, so might as well go big.
This rig is expensive, but it has the advantage of having room for expandability and upgrades, and you could likely go five years or more without upgrading and still run the latest games in high fidelity.
PC Gift Guide 2018 – PC Games Gift Guide
These are some of the best games you can get for PC. While they may be available on other platforms, we believe you’ll get the best experience by playing on computer.
Forza Horizon 4
If you’re a racing fan, Forza Horizon 4 is a game you don’t want to miss. This time the action centers on the British Isles and the new seasonal changes added with this game look fantastic on PC. There are tons of lovingly recreated licensed cars in this game, and it’s a great excuse to get out that steering wheel and pedals and drive your heart out.
Buy it Now: Amazon – $59.99
Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Kingdom Come is another game that’s best on PC. While the console versions are serviceable, you can install mods that both improve the visuals and help with some quality of life issues. This adventure through 14th century Bohemia was one of our favorite of 2018, and if you love in-depth RPGs with a ton of world-building, it’s one to pick up.
Buy it Now: Steam – $59.99
Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
This game harkens back to the days when the CRPG reigned king. It takes the type of gameplay seen in timeless games like Baldur’s Gate and Planescape Torment and modernizes it while still retaining the isometric style, in-depth story, and deep character customization players love.
Buy it Now: Amazon – $39.99
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is available on PS4 and Xbox One, but it’s really a game you want to play on PC. The visuals, especially with mods, are astounding, and even two years after release it stands the test of time as one of the prettiest and most enthralling games of this generation.
Buy it Now: Amazon – $27.21
This PC exclusive is perfect for those who love games like Freelancer and Frontier. It’s one of the most in-depth space simulators ever created and gives you the freedom to work your way up from lowly pilot to an industrial mogul or galactic warlord. It’s complicated to be sure but delivers the type of experience that you can only find on PC.
Buy it Now: Steam – $49.99
PC Gift Guide 2018 – Thrustmaster Warthog HOTAS Flight Stick and Throttle
The Thrustmaster Warthog is the best entry-level hands-on throttle and stick pairing you can buy. You may be asking why an “entry-level” product is $480, but if you consider the fact flight-sim enthusiasts spend thousands of dollars on their virtual cockpits, the Warthog isn’t all that expensive in comparison. Thrustmaster has replicated the controls of the A-10 Warthog with this product, so you get that authentic look, and the build quality is magnificent. This puppy is a substantial chunk of metal, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a HOTAS that feels as solidly constructed.
One thing to note with the Warthog is that it doesn’t allow you to twist the stick, which is typically used for rudder control. This means you’re going to have to use some atypical bindings, or purchase some pedals. Given how quality the Warthog is, I suggest going the pedal route to round out that feeling of authenticity.
Buy it Now: Amazon – $483.99
PC Gift Guide 2018 – ROCCAT Vulcan 100 Aimo RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
We gave the ROCCAT Vulcan mechanical keyboard an enthusiastic endorsement earlier this year, and we stick by it. If you’re in the market for a gaming keyboard, the Vulcan is one of the best you can buy. The transparent keys really let the RGB shine through, and ROCCAT’s Titan switches feel excellent. The Vulcan is an attractive, durable keyboard that will last you for years under the right conditions, so treat your fingers this season.
Buy it Now: Amazon – $149.99
PC Gift Guide 2018 – NZXT NP-1PM-E850A E Series PSU 850 Watt Fully Modular Digital Power Supply, 80+ Gold Certified
One of the most overlooked PC components is the power supply. Too many fledgling PC builders have skimped on a PSU just to have their hearts broken when it didn’t put out enough wattage or, worst-case, fried their parts. The NZXT E850 is affordable and puts out enough power that you have plenty of opportunities to expand. When attached to a USB header you can use the NZXT CAM software to set the fan curve, and the E850 goes completely silent when the draw is under 100 W. This NZXT PSU is also entirely modular, so you don’t have to worry about tucking cords you don’t need and taking up space you could use for better cable management.
Buy it Now: Amazon – $114.99
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