Upgrade Your Rig
Last but not least, if you’re looking to gift someone with a better gaming experience for less than the cost of a console, there’s always individual upgrades.
The GTX 1050 Ti will handle most modern games well enough. It lacks in future proofing, however. Indeed, I found one or two titles that officially required more than this card could offer. The price ($189 at the time of this writing) is ample compensation for this.
If you’re looking to get someone VR ready, it’s going to run you a bit more. The GTX 1060 costs a bit more than its AMD equivalent (the rx480), but the drivers for AMD graphics cards can be more problematic. This card, listed at under $400, is still less than the average for a top-shelf model while meeting some pretty high performance needs.
For those of us unburdened by the limits of cost or common sense, you can always look to one of the newest GTX models, the 1080. Chock full of features I barely understand, this card comes in at almost $900. Not only does this card come ready for VR, but it’s also optimized for streaming gameplay footage.
In conclusion, if you’re buying for a PC gamer, one of the most important steps is research. What kind of system are they working with? How enormous is their library of games? Do mid-size towers fit in stockings? Needless to say, if any of these items show up under the tree, the holidays are guaranteed to be pretty holly and/or jolly.