We’ve previously shown you how to put together a decent gaming PC while on a budget, but that only covered the internal components to make it run. We didn’t really touch on peripherals and accessories like monitors, keyboards and mice – all essential parts to a good gaming PC.
If you’re just looking to upgrade your current rig, there’s a good chance that your current accessories are up to the task. The only peripheral that you really should consider upgrading is your monitor. If you’ve dropped a chunk of change on a new GPU, it’s a bit of a waste to pair it with a crappy, old display.
If you’re starting a gaming PC build from scratch, or it’s been a hot minute since you upgraded your keyboard (just how worn out are your WASD buttons?), we’ve put together a few guides and suggestions that won’t break the bank (we’re keeping to a budget of $500).
If you’re working out how much you want to spend on peripherals overall, my advice is to pick your monitor first and then pick out everything else based on your remaining budget. A good gaming monitor should last for a few years. You’ll be paying more in the long run if you cheap out on a monitor.
There’s a few specs you should keep in mind. Every monitor has a maximum resolution. That’s it’s native resolution – what the monitor looks best at – and you’ll want to keep that in mind, as you want to make sure your PC can power games at that level. There’s no point buying a 4K screen for gaming, for instance, if your PC barely has the guts to run things at 1080p.
For fans of twitch shooters and reaction-based games (like Call of Duty, Valorant, Counter-Strike) you’ll want a monitor with a refresh rate of 144Hz or more. Keep an eye out for screens that say they have a 1ms response time, although just note that the real response time will be a bit slower than that.
You can find a more in-depth breakdown of what you should consider when buying a monitor here.
AOC’s 24G2 24″ monitor is a solid starter choice. It has decent refresh and response rates (144Hz and 1ms), and just squeaks in under $300. The only real downside is the smaller screen size, so the display is only full HD.
If you want something a bit bigger, BenQ’s GL2780 27″ monitor is cheaper with the same response rate, but a much lower refresh rate (75Hz, which is average).
When picking out a keyboard, you’ll want to go mechanical over membrane. While the latter will usually be cheaper, they can have a bit of response lag. Mechanical keyboards are more tactile and satisfying to use, but can be aggressively loud if you’re the kind of person who gives their keys a good beating. I’d also prioritise getting a keyboard with an anti-ghosting feature, which will stop it from registering accidental simultaneous button presses.
Also, make sure it’s ergonomic. Your wrists will thank you later.
Redragon’s K551 mechanical keyboard is a good keyboard to start out with. It has a good tactile response, full anti-ghosting and, most importantly, a heap of RGB options. Can you really say you own a gaming PC if you don’t have an RGB keyboard?
If you’re tight on space, pick up a tenkeyless keyboard instead. It’s exactly what it sounds like – a keyboard that’s missing the number pad usually found on its righthand side, which lets you reach your mouse a lot quicker. Redragon’s K552 is a decent mechanical tenkeyless for the price range, with the only real downside being that it has no RGB customisability.
If you really want to go the budget route but still get the most bang for your buck, Havit’s mechanical keyboard and mouse combo is a pretty good pick, and will only set you back $62.
When it comes to picking a mouse, you’ll want something that has a good sensor so there isn’t any lag in your movements, that’s also ergonomic to use, so you can avoid pesky hand cramps.
If you want a great, all-rounder gaming mouse, you can’t go past Razer’s DeathAdder. There’s definitely a cult of personality surrounding Razer as a brand, with a lot of people living and dying by the products, even if they maybe aren’t as good as their competitor’s products. But the DeathAdder is a great piece of hardware that’s comfortable to use with a quality sensor. It makes a good argument for why some people swear by Razer.
If you want something lightweight, you can pick up HK Gaming’s Mira-M mouse . Its comfortable, ultralight design and Pixart 3360 sensor helps it stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the bigger, more expensive brands out there.
If these aren’t enough mice suggestions for you, check out this comprehensive roundup of 2020’s best gaming mice.
You’ll also need a good mouse pad. If you’ve got the space, an oversized mousepad gives you an extra bit of freedom. You can get an RGB mousepad, but the extra cash you’d spend on it is better spent literally anywhere else.
A good keyboard, mouse and monitor are the three core PC accessories you need to get the most out of your gaming experience, but there are few other things you can throw into the mix as well. If you’re interesting in streaming, you’ll need to pick up a webcam and microphone, although a good quality piece for either will definitely push you over budget.
If you’ve got a little extra cash to burn, Corsair’s HS35 are a solid, affordable headset option. They’re lightweight and comfy, so they shouldn’t bother you when worn for long periods of time. You can even detach the microphone. They’re also compatible with most consoles, so you can get some extra usage if you also own a Switch or PS4.
Also, buy yourself a USB hub. They’re pretty cheap and hugely convenient.