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Are Premium Gaming Peripherals Worth Your Money?

Introduction

If you believe the hype, it would be crazy to try and be competitive (or even competent) without sinking several hundred dollars into gaming peripherals before firing up your favorite shooter or log in to the World of Warcraft. Depending on the popularity of your favorite game and the peripheral vendor's opportunity to make some money, you might even find a range of products specifically designed to improve your performance in that particular title.

Of course, there are many more gamers than there are people buying all of this stuff, so the question stands: do you need a desk full of high-end extras in order to be a good player? Do you actually get more kills in Team Fortress 2 by having a higher-DPI mouse? Are you a more effective healer in your WoW raids if you have a keyboard with macro buttons? Or is there simply value in owning a more comfortable headset?

Hoping to test the effectiveness of the most popular peripherals, we decided to fire up a handful of our favorite games and connect a number of gaming products from competing vendors. Then, we compared them against each other and against older, "vanilla" peripherals that most people either received for free with their pre-built PC, swiped from the office, or picked up cheap after allocating more funds to obvious performance-enhancers, like video cards.

The beauty of high-end gaming peripherals isn’t so much that you can be the envy of all of your friends (honestly, who’s going to see you wearing a headset with LEDs on it if you game in your basement?) but that you feel elevated. You’re spending a little money on the luxury of high-end, high-quality computer accessories to prove that you’re not just some chump with 50 bucks to blow on a multiplayer title. You’re the real deal, and you’re not afraid to sink a little green into making sure you have the best experience possible and you’re more competitive in-game than the next person (Ed.: sort of like Air Maxes will add 6" to your vertical, right?).

I’m completely guilty of this. I get lured in by shiny peripherals with flashing lights and features that are probably higher-end than I need. I’ve been known to drop an extra $20 on a “gaming” model of a device because of the claims that it’ll improve my performance when I plug it in, for one reason or another. I was a staunch defender of mice with weight cartridges, even though it’s pretty clear that they don’t add much benefit, aside from giving you another way to personalize your experience.

  • liquidsnake718
    Ive been looking at the G19 for some time now, ever since it came out, but I am not sure if I should just go for the Sidewinder x6 or the G15 which is still good and at a reasonable 80-100dollars where Im from....
    Should I get it or wait for my next build..... x6? g15?
    Reply
  • scorc25
    I recently just purchased a Saitek Cyborg keyboard. Very impressed with it, loving it the moment we touched. Ive used the first Saitek Eclipse, and then the Eclipse 2. The Eclipse 3 is out there; the Cyborg is basically just the gamer edition of it.
    Reply
  • Keyboard: SteelSeries MERC Stealth
    Mouse : Roccat Kone
    Mousepad: Roccat Sota
    Headset : Roccat Kave
    Reply
  • volks1470
    bah on fancy gaming peripherals. I'm still using a roller-ball PS2 port mouse and keyboard and they work great. Price? Free, because nobody wants cheap stuff like that!
    Reply
  • fleeb
    I am waiting for Logitech G110. Looks nice and will not cost $200.
    Reply
  • JimmiG
    Since I'm a flight simmer, I own both a CH Yoke+Pedals and a Saitek X52 Pro. I also bought an "A4Tech" laser gaming mouse - a discount brand but the mouse itself compares to any Logitech or Razer rodent...for half the price. For keyboard, I'm using a $10 no name corded keyboard :)
    Reply
  • Fortunex
    I don't need the $100+ keyboards or anything, what REALLY makes a difference in my playing is how smooth the feet of the mouse are, and how comfortable the mouse is.

    I had a $10 cheap ass mouse, was the most comfortable mouse I've ever used, but then the cord wore down and it stopped working, and I lack the skills to fix it. Bought a Microsoft Habu, didn't like it at all. Bought a Logitech G5, love it. Bought a steelseries mousepad, OH MY GORSH. My KDR in games (particularly sniping in TF2, where headshots are near essential) nearly doubled. EVERYTHING is so much smoother when compared to my (what I thought was smooth) desktop. It just glides, no more rugged, scratchy mouse movements, it's amazing.

    For keyboards, I have a Razer Arctosa, which I bought because I LOVE the flat keys, and the low profile. No need for fancy backlighting or macro keys, I just want it to be easy to type with and the keys to not be curved.

    I'd advise ANY gamer who doesn't already have a mousepad to get one.
    Reply
  • IzzyCraft
    Are they worth it eh not really

    Are they pretty just about every time.
    Reply
  • cyb34
    I got a G15 v2 and a G9. They are worth every penny.
    Reply
  • anamaniac
    Preiphereals are worth it.
    Full 7.1 sounds, 7000 DPI mouse, 9x 2560x1600 monitors, G(insert number here) keyboard, soft leather chair with fully adjustable tilt, proper desk...
    You could have a boring powerhouse, or a crappy computer but with all the fixings. It's nice having the extras.
    Reply