August 14, 2011
Gaming Accessories: Are They Worth It?
There is obviously a huge market for gaming hardware particularly when it comes to graphics cards but things like gaming headsets, keyboards and mice have taken over their markets lately for both PC and console platforms. From my experience however, these kinds of things can easily end up being wastes of money and I’ve learned to do my homework before buying any computer peripheral that is specifically designed for gaming. I don’t think it’s fair though to judge all gaming accessories as bad or good so I will evaluate them individually by category
A gaming keyboard is almost always flashier and cooler looking than a normal one so if you’re into that kind of thing then by all means pick one up. Outside of that aspect, a gaming keyboard is typically a luxury item rather than a practical one. Many games can utilize things like LCD screens and mappable hot keys but they don’t typically require them in order to be played practically. A gaming keyboard is typically a lot bigger than a normal one which can be a bad thing if you are limited on space. They also tend to draw more power from your psu than normal keyboards and require drivers/software to be installed if you want to use all of its features. These drivers add more processes which add to your computers passive workload. Overall they are just a luxury item and having one won’t assist you in any vast way unless you play games that would benefit from having hotkeys.
I use a normal keyboard that came with one of my old computers. It works great and I have had no problems with it. It does everything I want it to do in all of the many different types of games I use it for. Although I would enjoy having macros and backlit keys, I don’t consider those features alone to be worth shelling out the extra dough for.
A gaming mouse is always better than a normal one hands down. I own a Logitech G500 and run it without any drivers installed at the stock 250hz. Since I don’t ever use high DPI settings this works great for me as anything higher just makes my mouse too jittery. If I were using an optical mouse I get around 125hz which is not adequate. Optical mice get the job done but they just don’t give the accuracy and response times you need for hardcore gaming. I used to use a Logitech G7 and it was an amazing mouse but I didn’t like having to exchange the battery packs and have always preferred wired mice. The fact is that gamers using properly tweaked gaming mice will have an advantage over someone who does not (assuming both the players have about the same reflex ability.) Gaming mice can be a pain to use though if you don’t buy a good one whereas almost all optical mice are comfortable. Definitely get a gaming mouse if you are into FPS but do your research and pick a good one.
Also keep in mind the marketing tactics used to sell gaming mice. A mouse capable of 5200 dpi (dots per inch) and 1000hz may sound cool but you will most likely never operate the mouse at such high sensitivities as they are impractical. Newer mice are not necessarily better than older ones. Sometimes paying less for a year old mouse is a smart decision. I would recommend getting a wired mouse with removable weights so you can adjust the weight of your mouse.
My interaction with these is limited as it’s largely just another luxury item that some gamers use and I have never owned one personally. You have to get used to it to use it correctly and that can take some time if you’re already used to a WASD keyboard configuration. If you can master one you won’t necessarily have much of an advantage but you’ll have a much more adaptable and convenient ability to map hotkeys. They also take up more space and suck more power and resources from your machine. If that isn’t a problem for you then a gamepad may end up actually being a worthwhile piece of hardware for you.
There is almost no reason to buy a 0 bulky gaming headset over a standard, lightweight and cheap one. I buy mine from cyber acoustics and have never had problems. It has good sound quality, has yet to break and has a decent microphone. It’s also light on my head and doesn’t begin to hurt from wearing it too long.
With bigger headsets like the G35 you get certain features like better surround sound, hotkeys on the side, adjustable volume on the headset itself and more bass. The average gamer will never use these features. Bass levels on bigger headsets can often be too much and the surround sound is often unnecessary and does not give you better audio location abilities over a normal stereo headset. That is all beside the point as the biggest issue with these headsets is that you cannot wear them for a long time as they are heavy and put a lot of pressure on your noggin. This may not hurt at first but after a couple of hours you will really feel it. That kind of issue doesn’t deserve a 0 price tag. It’s also notable that bigger headsets break more often. Many of my friends have owned expensive headsets and had them all break within the lifespan of my last cheap headset.
When buying a headset you should always read reviews on sites like amazon to make sure the sound quality is good and there are no major issues with it.
The surface you mouse on is indeed important with a laser mouse to achieve maximum accuracy. However, expensive mouse pads built for gaming do not provide a surface superior to any other quality mouse pad. They are a gimmick through and through. Pick up a good, normal mouse pad and a wrist support beanbag and save yourself the money.