As gamers on PC, we have a great deal of control over the things that make our games work. Compared to our friends elsewhere in gaming, our list of potential upgrades is longer, and the hardware decisions we have to make are more complex.
What is the consensus? better The upgrade, though? Certainly, it is generally true that a newer GPU will give you a better experience with demanding games. But how do you weigh screen improvement over a chair upgrade? If you have a few hundred dollars, what should you prioritize? It can be hard to tell when a shortage of products spoils some pricing and supply.
To answer these messy questions, and perhaps provide some guidance to Black Friday game deals on PC On the go, I surveyed 15 members of the PC Gamer team, asking everyone to rate 30 different upgrades on a scale of 1 to 5:
- Do not care
- petty promotion
- Useful but not huge
- Very useful upgrade
- One of the best upgrades you can make
🏆 Upgrade to SSD from HDD: The Holy Upgrade
(Average score: 4.93)
Right off the bat, our editors poll produces a little surprise: SSD upgrades outperform GPUs by half a point. Among our respondents, only one rated the transition from a hard drive to an SSD drive with a 4, with all other votes a 5.
One factor here is definitely cost: on sale, you can get an SSD for around $100/TB, per Black Friday SSD Deals Instructs. I think I’ve bought a new SSD every one of the past 3 years around Black Friday, getting a 2TB drive last year. Very fast NVMe SSD It can give you game load times that rival new consoles, but even upgrading to a cheap SSD from a hard drive makes every day with your PC more enjoyable.
On the flip side, the reduced supply of GPUs may have slightly dampened our sense that now is a good (or possible) time to grab an RTX 3080, as we’re about to see. Our Special Editor Morgan Park picked a pre-built PC this week primarily for a better GPU franchise.
Upgrades everyone should make, if they can
Upgrade your GPU (4.43)
Screen 60 Hz GSync, 144 Hz + screen (4.36)
1080p to 1440p resolution (4.29)
There is an obvious trait in this upgrade layer: image quality. They are called Video Games, I think.
Our team feels strongly that 1440p is the best place to get accuracy. I see the latest Erase Steam Devices It shows that two-thirds of the respondents are playing in 1080p, which indicates that there are a significant number of us that still have to make the jump. (A large number of respondents may have used locked 1080p laptops, but it’s still noteworthy.)
Framerate narrowly wins on accuracy, a tenth of a point. “I think those running 144Hz screens can’t see ourselves going back to 60Hz,” senior editor Wes Fenlon says. The fact that we found 4K res two levels lower on this list suggests that most of us are unwilling to sacrifice fast frame rates for pixel density.
upgrade your office (3.86)
Add a secondary screen (3.86)
upgrade your seat (3.79)
Get a better keyboard (3.73)
Upgrade your CPU (3.64)
Double your storage space (3.43)
Get a better mouse (3.40)
These are all very important. This “good to great” range of our vote contains some of the most basic infrastructure for our computers: desks, monitors, and peripherals. It’s pretty scratching to see desks on top, although it has nothing to do with in-game performance, and the horrible, cheap “game desks” via Amazon aren’t something we’d recommend ( lift desk This is what senior editor Wes Finlon and I used.)
Upgrade Your CPU received only 4secs and 3secs, and some lesser variations on this survey. This talks about how long CPUs remain efficient today Intel Alder Lake And its radical new architecture could make a big difference next year (Windows 11 is designed for take advantage of it). In the battle of accessories between mouse and keyboard, the keyboard prevails.
SATA SSD ➡ M.2 SSD (3.14)
Mic/microphone setting upgrade (3.07)
More system RAM (2.93)
Switch to a super fast screen (2.71)
Get a joystick for flying games (2.60)
4K resolution (2.57)
Upgrade your PSU (2.47)
Upgrade your router (2.43)
Get a steering wheel for driving games (2.40)
Wired headphone, wireless gaming headset (2.33)
gaming headset, audiophile headset (2.33)
A strange mix of boring and boutique upgrades gathered here. We prefer 4K Ultra HD. We’d rather have a good power supply than go into virtual reality. And in the age of Twitch and Discord, I think it’s safe to say that none of us want to be that person on our Discord server with a $2 mic.
Almost in the middle of our rating scale, we find one of the primary changes you can make: adding more RAM. “RAM is really cheap right now, and actually the cheapest ever, which makes it an affordable upgrade for most PCs. The only problem is that you won’t get any benefit beyond 16GB, at least not in the vast majority of games,” As Senior Hardware Editor, Alan DeCoster says.
Upgrades we do not recommend
Do you want to upgrade … cable management? (2.14)
RGB-ifying your entire setup in a moment of color frenzy (2.07)
5.1 . surround speakers (2.00)
Buy a VR Headset (1.71)
Upgrade your motherboard (1.71)
Our team’s lukewarm VR demo has been taped here. The Metaverse Facehugger, the device some of us may still be thinking about in the future of gaming, got 1 4 votes and 3 votes from a panel of 15 people.
I’d like to explore this further in another article: At this point, VR is a well-established subset of games, and it’s possible to get Affordable If you want it, Half-Life: Alyx and Boneworks Fantastic VR Games. However, we would rate it as exciting as swapping your mobo.
“Do not care”
upgrade your status (1.67)
Upgrade your webcam (1.64)
Switching from air-cooled to water-cooled (1.64)
Switch to the watch arm (1.64)
Triple tie for last place? A round of applause for the losers who cross the finish line together holding hands.
I guess I’d call three of these four upgrades artifacts, which limits their usefulness. Literally, in the monitor arm. I get why a microphone upgrade (3.07) is so much more desirable than a webcam (which is a reminder that not everyone, yet, has become a streaming device), but is it weird for anyone else to find instances at the bottom of this page? Everyone loves a fancy bag, or one with an unnecessary number of fans.
With 4 points single between these upgrades, there is a broad consensus in our team that these things are not worth prioritizing.
But how do you feel about that? Only four out of 30 upgrades had a “highly meaningful” average score or higher: Are you as savvy with your hardware as our team? Share your personal upgrade tier list in the comments.