Everything you need to create the ultimate gaming setup

Curating a gaming setup is a highly personal decision and varies from gamer to gamer. Still, there are a few basic categories that every gamer needs. Whether you game on a PC, a gaming laptop, or strictly stick to consoles, it’s crucial to pick the right tech that fits your budget while offering a game library that you know you will enjoy. 

Also: The best budget gaming laptops: Expert tested

Your setup also needs accessories, such as keyboards, mice, headsets, gaming furniture, and external hard drives. Once you have all your hardware, you can personalize your space with art and lighting. So, before you start designing your space, take a look at ZDNET’s picks for all the tech you need for the ultimate gaming setup. 

A dedicated gaming computer 

The best gaming PCs offer top-tier components like the Nvidia RTX 40 series graphics cards and 14th generation Intel Core Ultra, AI-powered processors. But if you’re looking to save money, there are plenty of budget gaming PCs on the market, as well as laptops and budget gaming laptops if you prefer a more lightweight and portable gaming computer. 

The Aurora R16 is the latest addition to Alienware’s gaming desktop line-up. You can configure your build with up to a 14th gen Intel Core i9 CPU, 64GB of RAM, 8TB of storage, a1000W Platinum-rated power supply, and your choice of either the RTX 4090 or Radeon RX 7900XTX graphics card. 

I tested the Aurora R16, and I was very impressed by its quiet tower fans despite its powerful build. I was also impressed by how the Intel Core Ultra processor could efficiently handle multiple demanding programs at once. 

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A gaming console 

The best gaming consoles offer HD gaming with high refresh rates for highly detailed graphics and smoother action during fast-paced gameplay and cutscenes. The Xbox Series X|S and PS5 both offer a disc and digital-only version of their consoles, letting you choose between maintaining a physical or digital library of games.

The PlayStation 5 is my go-to console and has a place of prominence in my office/gaming room. You can choose between a traditional, disc-based model or a digital-only version if you prefer to have an all-digital library.  The PS5 also lets you expand its internal storage with M.2 NVMe-style solid-state drives, supporting up to 8TB of additional storage to give you plenty of space for big game files, DLC, photos, and more.

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A TV or gaming monitor

A gaming PC or console is only as good as the display it’s connected to. Thankfully, there are plenty of options for dedicated gaming TVs and gaming monitors to help you get the most out of your graphics.

The Samsung QN90C offers both Dolby Atmos and object tracking sound for virtural, 3D surround sound that follows the on-screen action. You’ll also get a native 120Hz refresh rate at 4K resolution and support for AMD FreeSync Premium Pro VRR technology to prevent screen tearing and stuttering. 

In addition, a dedicated gaming dashboard gives you access to cloud gaming services like Xbox GamePass and GeForce Now. 

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Gaming accessories

Now that you have a PC or laptop, console, TV, and monitor, you need a few accessories like a gaming keyboard and headset to give you more control over your in-game actions or to play your favorite games in peace or without disturbing roommates. 

I bought a Corsair K100 RGB for my own gaming space a few years ago, and it’s honestly one of the best keyboards I’ve had, period. The mechanical Cherry MX switches feel clicky and responsive for both long-form typing and in-game command actions like movement and spellcasting. 

You can set up multiple profiles in the Corsair iCUE program to quick-switch control layouts for specific games or switch between work and gaming settings.

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You might also need…

Once you have your PC, console, and accessories set up in your space, you can round out your setup and decor with a few other items like a gaming chair, RGB lighting, additional storage devices, and audio equipment. 

The acronym LAN stands for Local Area Network. And in the days before modern internet, a LAN connection was how gamers connected computers and consoles together for multiplayer matches and even tournaments. 

The advantage of a LAN connection for gaming is that a single internet connection can be used for the whole network, which reduces the chances of running into issues when organizing a tournament or multiplayer event with friends. LAN connections also give you an enormous amount of control over who has access to your network, which is especially important for protecting official events from hackers and cheaters. 

This is a bit of a complicated answer to give. If you are designing a gaming space that aims to emulate the look and feel of an old-school arcade from the 80s and 90s, a cabinet from Arcade1Up is a great, affordable option for getting your hands on classic titles like Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter II, and Killer Instinct. Many of the Arcade1Up cabinets also features smaller titles from featured developers. For example, the Mortal Kombat Deluxe cabinet has 10 titles from Midway in addition to the MK arcade games. The cabinets also have online play capabilities so you don’t have to bug your friends to come over and play a round with you. 

However, if you’re just looking to add classic titles to your game library, it’s better to look for a quality arcade port on your favorite game storefront like Steam or the PlayStation Store. That way, you can still experience your favorite arcade titles as they were when you were a kid, but you don’t have to shell out a ton of cash for a dedicated cabinet that is just going to take up space or not be used much. 

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