Best PC game hardware of 2021

We are leaving 2021 with mixed feelings. While the huge chip shortage is raging and making it almost impossible to get hold of a new graphics card at a retail price, it is not all bad news. Brands are still releasing some of the best hardware we’ve seen to date, from lightweight gaming mice to RTX-embellished gaming laptops and CPUs that herald support for next-generation technologies.

We saw the introduction of DDR5 RAM and some considerations about PCIe 5.0, despite the fact that Intel only just joined the PCIe 4.0 wagon earlier this year. Eve and Asus launched it to debut the first gaming screen with HDMI 2.1 and 4K at 144Hz has since become more accessible as a result. And AIO coolers got even cooler, with the MSI MEG CoreLiquid S360 with a screen that also plays .mp4 videos as well as gifs.

With some products barely touching the shelves, we avoided the fanfare at an awards show, but we still wanted to showcase our favorite hardware of the year.

So without further ado, here’s a small selection of the best PC game hardware of 2021:

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Nvidia GeForce Now RTX 3080

It goes without saying that the best graphics card of 2021 is what you can get your hands on, but Nvidia’s cloud gaming solution comes in a close second place. With the newly introduced RTX 3080 subscription, you can get the beauty of a new GPU without putting one into your system. If your broadband can keep up, you can turn settings up to ultra at 1440p resolution and still maintain a silky 120fps without sweating. Even better, the MSRP for an RTX 3080 is equivalent to a three-year subscription, giving it incredible value for money.

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Intel Core i5 12600K

You would be forgiven for thinking it was just a strange fever dream that Intel released its 11th generation Rocket Lake CPUs this year, but it’s true, team blue really did it twice in 2021. Age Lake leaves takes the cake, but as the 12th generation gives us a mid-range marvel with the Intel Core i5 12600K. It supports DDR5, is future-proof with PCIe 5.0 compatibility and surpasses AMD chips that cost more than double.

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SteelSeries Rival 5

2021 did not lack good mice to choose from, but few impressed us more than the SteelSeries Rival 5. With a shape similar to the now legendary G502, Rival 5 hits the perfect middle ground between ergonomics and macro buttons with only 85 g – which is especially important, as gamers require the easiest click possible. If you want a wireless experience, you’ll probably be better off with the SteelSeries Prime Wireless, but otherwise the Rival 5 is one of the best all-rounders you can use.

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Razer Kraken V3 Hypersense

Haptic feedback is an integral part of the best PC controllers, but it is still largely absent in other gaming PC peripherals. Razer is trying to change this with its second generation of Hypersense feedback, which provides one of the best gaming headsets of the year. The Razer Kraken V3 Hypersense has significant improvements over the original Nari, and adjusts the vibrations just right to give you an immersive experience. This works by amplifying the bass, like a subwoofer, so you can feel every shot and explosion. On top of that, it has beautiful RGB lighting on top of a clean look, comfortable pillows and a clear, detachable microphone.

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Eve Spectrum 4K

It’s no secret that the PC is our preferred platform here, but we need to give Sony and Microsoft a big handshake to give the technology a much-needed boost with their new consoles. 4K resolution at 144Hz is finally becomes an available standard for gaming monitors, and the crowdfunded Eve Spectrum is at least partially responsible for leading the charge. The colors pop out, the movements are smooth, and the stand is sold separately to those who already have an arm. You need a graphics card that can keep pace to take full advantage of it, but with Nvidia DLSS, AMD FSR and finally Intel XeSS making things a lot easier, higher resolutions and refresh rates are within reach.

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Secretlab Magnus

You can associate the word ‘gaming’ with pretty much anything today, but Secretlab Magnus wins its title as the best gaming desk – and not just in 2021. It follows the same design philosophy as Secretlab’s gaming chairs, with every inch of the surface feeling premium. It’s made of solid metal, which means it’s not fun to lug up a set of stairs, but it’s the perfect companion for a host of magnetic accessories, from cable feeds to a headset hanger or an RGB lighting strip to a full desk length faux leather. Mousepad. Even if you choose to use it without any fancy additions, its cable tray helps keep things neat.

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