It's that time of the year when we're looking for gift ideas. But what do you get the PC gamer or enthusiast on your list? They can be a tough crowd to shop for. Not to worry! No matter who is on your list, we've got some product recommendations that include the right features, ranging from the bang-for-the-buck winners to high-end choices. These are some of the best of the best computer components around that will thrill any PC user.
Let's get started with our Futurelooks 2014 Holiday Gift Guide.
Processors and Motherboards
Regular users and gamers on a budget will like the Intel Quad Core Core i5-4670K ($234 US) processor paired with a GIGABYTE GA-Z97X Gaming 3 ($149 US) motherboard, which includes the great OP AMP Creative audio and AMD CrossFireX/NVIDIA SLI features for a richer gaming experience. Or course, for $60 more, you can get the Core i7-4790K quad-core octo-thread processor instead which will last you for many years to come.
For a bit less, gamers can pair up with an AMD FX-8350 8-Core ($160 US) processor and GIGABYTE G1.Sniper A88X ($98 US) which also features the OP AMP audio and AMD CrossFireX support for greater gaming experience. If you don't have a need for the audio, we also recommend the ASUS A88X-Pro ($110 US) motherboard. In either case, stability is top notch.
On the higher end for content creators, the Intel Core i7-5930K 6-Core Haswell-E processor ($580 US) and ASUS X99 Deluxe ($384) offer ample high end connectivity, overclocking, performance and other features. If you're looking to save some money for other upgrades, the GIGABYTE GA-X99-UD4 ($229 US) is very affordable offering a basic platform without sacrificing performance. Each of these boards are amazing workhorses.
DDR3 memory is required for all the latest AMD and Intel Z97 motherboards. For a great enthusiast's bang for buck, we've seen the awesome affordable Kingston HyperX Fury and high performance Savage series.
The 16GB Fury 1600 MHz ($157 US) is slightly more affordable coming in black, red, blue and awesome white heat sinks. The cherry red Savage 1600 MHz is also the same price but comes in frequencies up to 2400 MHz ($111). We've also seen Corsair Vengeance Pro 8GB 1600 MHz and 1866 MHz for about $78 US, with the Vengeance 16GB ($175) kits costing about twice as much.
DDR4 memory is required for any Intel X99 platforms. One of the best options we've seen thus far is the Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 2666 MHz k($290 US) it, thanks to its high compatibility and XMP profiles. It's not a bad price, not to mention that it's low profile to fit larger CPU coolers. For totally high end solution, Kingston's HyperX Predator 16GB 3000 MHz ($362) is not only extremely fast XMP memory and will most likely outpace your CPU. However, the kit can also be down clocked and memory timings lowered for very good processor performance.