- 2 - Gaming Gear

dnjrdnjr 2013-02-14 19:10:56
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[c]GAMING GEAR[/c]
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[c]PC itself[/c]

Cod2 is not really a demanding game to play these days, if you exclude Punkbuster out of the equasion. Or any competitive game for that matter, since new, demanding games, are mostly PUB oriented.

I do remember from back in the day, when Nvidia's GeForece 8800 cards showed up, they managed to keep a stable 250 fps without a problem, in any map, running on 4 gb of RAM and a Dual Core e8400 Intel processor. Nowadays, you could buy a PC like that for dirt cheap.

Not really gonna go very technical on this, if you wish - give suggestions/corrections in comments, yet, I'll give you a cheap'ish setup that my friend has, that can run cod2 in spades, as well as any other game out there:

The Philosophy:

Processor - i5 2500k. It's a Sandy Bridge, energy-saving, yet powerful and overclock'able;
GPU - Geforce GTX560Ti. A well balanced card, takes on most games without a sweat;
RAM - 4 Gb is just enough, of 1600hz RAM;
Hard drive - SSD 120gb. If it's a gaming setup, you really don't need storage, you need speed. And my God does it feel good with a SSD drive. Make sure to have a separate drive for music/movies/work_things, if you've only got one PC.

TL;DR verdict:
- The Above + To be updated.



[c]Monitor[/c]

Human eyes are some of the most sophisticated and well developed organs we have.
We must take care of them, whilst we're exploiting them - wisely. I'll suggest some do-s and dont-s, as the monitor is one of the most important peripherals for gaming.

The Philosophy:

[c]Monitor type[/c]

Go for LCD monitors if you can, it's almost a must. CRTs hurt your eyes, even though their performance for gaming is legendary.

[c]Refresh Rate[/c]

It's 2013. Save up some money, and go for 120 hz monitor. I can promise you - you won't regret it. If you do not have the budget, go lower, but no lower than 75 hz.

[c]Size[/c]

19'inch monitors are old news, but if you have to choose between a 24 inch monitor that goes only 60hz on most of it's resolutions, and 19 inch monitor, which can keep a stable 85 or 75 hz on anything you throw at it - remember, it's a gaming setup, speed is the key. Always go for a higher refresh rate.

[c]Price[/c]

Whilst choosing a monitor that offers a high refresh rate, be weary of the brand, and google the beast first, and check for most commong problems with it via forums. In my experience, BenQ and Samsung are to be trusted, yet - you might want to ask around about particular models.

And remember - the higher the refresh rate, the better it is for your eyes.

TL;DR verdict:
- 60 hz hurt your eyes, underperforms your human response as well as the mouse;
- 75 hz on 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768 as a minimum;
- 120 hz on 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768 as current standard;
- 140 hz and above monitors peeking the market, you have the budget - go for it;
- size of monitor doesn't matter, as long as it's a performer;
- anything above 19 inches will do.



[c]Keyboard[/c]

You may buy Pro-Gaming keyboards from Logitech, Razer or any other celebrated manufacturer.
However, that is not necessary. Cheap keyboards work just as well, having in mind that you will eventually spill some sort of drink on them, or your happy-go-lucky minded friend will.

Finding a keyboard that is cheap, functional, yet is a quality product, is tricky. Here are some guidelines.

The Philosophy:

[c]Keyboard type[/c]

Always go for a clunky-chunky type of keyboard, over flat. Flat keyboards are usually quiet, pretty looking and if well built - not cheap. Cheap ones have bad key mechanisms and what not, they will give up after your first fist rage.
Clunky-Chunky-Big-Buttoned keyboards is where it's at. If you hit them - the buttons will jump out to all the sides, yet you'll put them back like nothing happened. Also, these keyboards will allow you to build muscle memory, blind-typing will become a joy, and overall - you will function with them faster, as a gamer. Another thing I've noticed - big buttons, that offer resistance to your fingers, give a better warmup for your hand, and faster. I will talk about this later, in the "Daily Routine" section of the article, as to why it's important to have your hand engaged at all times, keep it warm and responsive.

[c]Keyboard quality[/c]

This is not easy. I'm currently using a PS2port 11 year old keyboard, which has the most fantastic sturdy buttons, was dirt cheap when I bought it, and is still functional. Today, you can buy dirt cheap keyboards but they will not have the same quality. Of course, go for USB cabled-one, but pay close attention to how the buttons are connected to the keyboard itself. If there is any sign of them becoming wobly or for instance if the long buttons like SPACE or SHIFT have only 1 foot - do not buy the keyboard. What will happen in time is what happened with my Dell keyboard - the plastic buttons are big, clunky and it's nice to press them, but they're too big, so instead of pressing them straight down, you start pressing them sideways, and that makes the get stuck, which sometimes loses you rounds, as it was in my case. You feel symptoms of that - return the keyboard, try a new one, before you trash it.

Keyboards like this are a no-no:


TL;DR verdict:
- Flat keyboards - NO NO;
- Clunky-Buttoned keyboards - YES YES;
- Pro-Gaming keyboards - only if you have the money - not necessary;
- Cheap keyboards will do;
- Test the keyboard you're about to buy;
- Make sure you WANT to press the buttons + you like the plastic;
- Sturdy, not-too big and buttons not wobbly = the win.



[c]Mouse[/c]

The weapon of choice in gaming. Choice becomes the weapon.

An endless topic, really. There are endless tutorials, wisdom, graphical presentations, gossip, and even a hardcore articles like these ones:
http://www.overclock.net/t/951894/the-truthful-mouse-guide
http://www.esreality.com/?a=post&id=1265679

They may be old, but they ring true in most cases. I will not be going into detail, like these guides have.
What I will do instead, is give basic guidelines, that ring most true whilst chosing a mouse, things you should avoid and oversee.
Everybody is different, has different hands and use their mice via clawgrip or palmgrip technique - some may even use their chin to deliver the deadly strike on MouseButton4. Who knows.


I'll start with an example.

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Recently bought Logitech g9x, thinking it's a nice mouse, great sensor, laser ! 2 possible shapes to put on it, + weights, awesome, right ?
Was thinking to myself, shieeeet, gonna nail that garand with those sexy looking buttons. Gonna start with a new mouse, new sensitivity, everything fresh, from the start.

Nope.

Actually, I can shoot my garand with this mouse (Logitech b58), faster:
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Curious thing, isn't it. I even like the shape of this cheap b58 mouse better than the g9x.
So I began testing with my old mice, logitech mx510, mx518, and the two mentioned above.

And here is my conclusion, The Philosophy:

[c]Laser vs Optical[/c]

Optical, any day, any way, any place, any sex. Trust me on this one. I've had both: the Logitech mx518 (1600dpi optical), and the mx518*(1800dpi laser). You wouldn't believe the difference. You can configure the optical one to any sensitivity you like, on any dpi, and the mouse feels like a warn, lazy old tool, that has been in your hands for ages, and it's almost an extension of your arm. The Laser one - different story. Couldn't find a proper sensitivity, there's no feeling to it, it's cold in every situation and I couldn't force myself to make flickshots with it - it just doesnt go. It's a costly, yet very valuable lesson, which I've learned both with mx518 and g9x laser mice - optical lets you build muscle memory, grow as a player, and feel the mouse, whilst laser is just too twitchy, random and advertised to be technicly superior - but is not.

This is my personal experience on it, because I have not had any positive encounters with laser mice, and if it wasn't for them, I'd be a different player right now.
You can come at me with strongest of arguments about how good Laser mice are, I will hold my front line.

However, that does not mean I cannot be objective.

Laser mice often tend to track on most bizzare surfaces, that reflect light like mirrors, or vice versa. Still, it doesn't always ring true that way, as some manufacturers are not that tallented, and some laser mice find difficulty tracking on cloth pads. If you take your cloth pad to bed with you when you go to sleep - you might want to think about it, before purchasing a laser mouse.
Another positive thing about laser mice, is that laser technology is getting better, and most new mice are laser oriented. It may only seem so, but Optical mice are seldom in between, nowadays. What else is positive, is that manufacturers, who are "New kids on the block" also go for laser, when they're presenting an "Opening" mouse to the public. We may never know - good things may be on their way.

Optical mice, as some will vouch for this - work on everything. However, that is not always the case, as I've had experience with an Optical mouse not working on an Aluminum pad, which was a let-down. They still do work great on cloth pads.
A thing to be concerned about, is what is Logitech doing with their new g400. All I hear is problems with it. Either the scroll wheel breaks, either the whole mouse stops working. I heard very positive feedback, but from very few, who didn't get the faulty models.

[c]Advertising[/c]

Never choose your mouse on how it's advertised. Don't trust those "trusty" true to heart youtube reviewers, who are paid to speak. Yes, do watch their reviews, to see how the shape fits the hand, how easy are the buttons to reach, how easy they click. That's about it.
All that yada-yada-ninada they tell you about 12000dpi the mouse has, the drivers that let you customize your buttons to makros, and different profiles, that switch, when you press a button under the mouse - not necessary. Not to mention some mice having LED lights, that change colour to your liking. That's pro ? Nope. That's stuff for barbies who dress and cut their hair like Justin Bieber.

What you want from a mouse is actually less dpi, and less choice. 1600 is more than enough, which my trusty mx518 has, I never even used 1600, always went with 800 or 400. And even if you have 3200 dpi, or 8000 dpi - what's in it ? Then you have to set your in-game sensitivity to something like 0.1, or worse - 0.01.

Again - about choice. It's a burden. Having different profiles which switch at a touch of a button, different choices for dpi...It makes your head spin. You try one setup, with 2200 dpi, and green light under your palm - you go - Yeah, this is where the money's at. Next day you go into the game - you can't hit anyone, you get nervous, you start switching your dpi, sensitivity, windows sensitivity, your mouse weights (rofl). This way you will never get good, because you will not allow yourself to get acustomed to anything. There's an innocent looking chinese pro-verb, which goes like " I wish you to live in times of change". Which is actually a horrible wishing, meaning you will feel without place, alone, longing for the past and unhappy - you'll definately get into trouble.

Another thing to add - be very careful by all these newcomers to the scene of competitive gaming, releasing mice. They promise you thousands of dpi, cool design and buttons etc. So far I've only heard strong positive responses about mice regarding only manufacturers like Logitech, Razer and Mircosoft Intelli mice. All other mice get very few good responses in between, mixed reactions and doubt.

[c]Mouse Shape + Buttons[/c]

Palmgrip vs Clawgrip. Doesn't matter. Don't change anything there - make sure you like the shape, and it compliments the way either you're accustomed, or it's a well known and proven shape by gamers all over the world, that the mouse is famous for. I, myself, love the mx518, after about 1 hour of gameplay the middle of my palm sucks onto the shape of the mouse, and the mouse feels like a perfect tit.

A tip about buttons - it's good to have MouseButton4 and MouseButton5 browsing the web, but I don't recommend buying a mouse just because it has a lot of buttons, especially for cod2. The last thing you want to do, is to be moving your fingers away from their positions, which grab your mouse tight, and let your brain calculate exact position of the mouse. If you're using more buttons than needed, then the pressure and need of grip will go to other thingers, which perhaps have other important assignemts. In short - dont sacrifice good shape of a mouse for buttons. If you can grab a mouse that only has 3 buttons overall, yet sensor and shape is flawless - go for it, don't get gready over buttons.

Buying a mouse is a very crucial step. You shape yourself to it's shape, especially if you're a younger lad, your body is still shaping and so are your reflexes. Going with a popular shape that Pros use, is a really good way, even though many people will diss it, giving you a pickup line of stevy.cfg. If there's a professional player you really adore, it's no crime to chose the same gear the man has, this kind of placebo effect will only benefit you, especially if you're a younger lad.

A good thing about Pro players - they choose well. Look at WHO crew from cod1. Every single one of them had an MS IE 3.0, or was it the 1.1 - doesn't matter. Even though that mouse @ at that time was one of the only mice in the world that had a great sensor and a great shape in combination, look at it today. People still love the shape, they still love the sensors. Manufacturers notice it, and make mice accordingly. Look at zowie, steelseries, logitech. They correspond to legendary shapes by releasing new mice that have the same shape. Keep it in mind - if you buy a Logitech G1 (or G3), Mx518 (or g400), Razer Deathadder, Microsoft IE 3.0, - there's a high probability that new mice released from these, or other, wannabe developers, in 5 years time will have the same shape, and if your mouse breaks - you're set.


TL;DR verdict:
- Laser - no no no;
- Optical - YEEES;
- More dpi = burden;
- Less dpi = less choices for you, you can concentrate on in-game sensitivity instead;
- Overall - less choice the mouse gives you = less headache for you, you'll go faster on your road to 1337ness, without detours;
- Known mouse brands - Logitech, Razer, Intelli mice from Microsoft - good bet;
- Tested and proven ergonomical shapes - a good call when buying a mouse;
- Research which mice are most common amongst Pro players - Placebo Religion;
- Ergonomy that is proven up till today is likely to stay - you break an all-star all-popular mouse that you've bought yesterday, you may expect a re-release of it in the coming years, which won't hurt your skill and enjoyment, as you will not be having to start from square 1.



[c]Mousepad[/c]

Topic of surfaces is short and straight forward.
Very much depends on what kind of player you secretly wish to be. A team you're currently in may demend you to play an auto, but if secretly you're a rifler or a scoper, it may be a hard choice. This is where these tips come in - to help you fulfill the role you've assigned yourself, and - to fill another role, if there's a necessity, fast.

The Philosophy:

[c]Cloth pads[/c]

Got a Qck Heavy, had a small Qck previously. Has it's benefits, has it's shortcomings. Cloth pads are very hard to get used to, especially if you have never played on them, if you were using some 1$ small mousepad on which your mouse skipped and flicked all over the place.

The benefit of cloth pads is that they offer very precise movements to people, who use low sensitivities, and love moving their mice around the table. A few years ago I was in search of perfect config for mp44, was trying to do a special sensitivity that would let my hand acknowledge recoil intervals and get the closest thing to no recoil. I actually succeeded, yet, couldn't do constant scores with anything else but my Qck Heavy.

Cloth pads excel at this. Whilst slippery pads may be better at flicking your mouse and nailing that 1 bullet headshot, if you miss that headshot - the guy may run away, and regen_health will make you his bitch, as you've just revealed your position. With cloth it's different - you flick your mouse there not only for 1 bullet, you can then keep a steady spray on the target, and if the target starts moving - on your second flick to the direction if it's movement you don't overflick, you can follow him steadily, without much drama.

Close quarters situations have better outcomes with cloth pads as well. Again - you don't overflick, there's no chaos in your spray. Cloth pads give you that feeling of confidence, teach you patience and gives that smooth feeling for those movie shots.

Make sure you get at least a medium one, or a big one. Small cloth pads donty worky.

[c]Slick-flick pads[/c]

These are the w0ah makers. Even though they have shortcomings, since on some of them some mice find difficulty tracking, if you choose the right one - you're set for fun.

They'll take on any job involving rifles, scopes and shotguns.
If you choose your path as a flick-shooter, these pads are definitely the way to go.
Both good for low sensitivity and high, slick pads also work very well with mouseaccel.

Of course, it is harder to stay consistant being a flick shooter, to hit 10-30-90 degree flick shots all the time, but from my experience, when you're left 1v3 1v4 and on rare occasions 1v5 - it actually makes your job of surviving and even clutching easier, and you're more likely to clutch brutally, luckshotting them one by one. It happens, and then movies happen.

Another benefit of slick pads, is for shotgunners - you can much more easily hold bombplants on your own, as well as corners, where you have 2-3 paths to watch. Whilst it may not be logical to position yourself there, if the situation/strat requires it, your situational awareness and luck percentage will go up, using a higher sensitivity and a slick pad.

People will, of course, disagree with me on this one, telling me they're successful with their scopes and shotguns using cloth pads, and vice versa - autos with slick pads. And it's ok - everybody love's a different soup, yet, if you haven't tried all of it, you won't know. Deep down - it is a combination of preference and placebo in it, yet I can vouch for it like nothing else - I've tested this to the bone.


TL;DR verdict:
- Cloth pads = Automatic weapons, consistency, precision;
- Slick pads = Snipers/Rifles/Shotguns, amazing yet not very consistant shots, better for lone-wolf survivalists and movieshotmakers and flickshooters.



[c]Headphones[/c]

Speakers - don't kid yourself. You will never hear as good with any 5.1, 7.1 or any other speaker setup, as you will with headphones.

I'm currently using Logitech g930 wireless headphones, and I really like them, however, build quality is not that good. After 7-8 months the earcuffs got worn away, and the plastic started crumbling away on one side of the half-ring, that goes above your head and holds the headphones togeather. Had to come up with several ingenious ways to fix it, since the thing has not been built to be sturdy, clearly, and the price...woah.

The Philosophy:

[c]Sound quality[/c]

You're probably better off with advice regarding headphones from someone else than me, but I really don't understand what is the fuss about. Pro-gaming headsets this and that, yet, I've had all kinds of them over the years, ranging prices from 10$ to 20, 40, and over 200, yet the sound quality didn't make "THAT" kind of an impact on me. Cheap (not too cheap though) headsets sound very very much alike with their costly counterparts, and I've come to conclusion, that sound quality is not the thing to hunt in 40$-300$ range.

I even got 5.1 surround sound in my g930 wireless headset, and have a wild guess, what am I using it for ? Gaming, right ? "More accurate positioning" ? Nope. Music/Movies only.
I'll discuss this later in an appropriate section regarding setting up headphones for gaming, yet I have to double on this hard learned lesson - you don't need 5.1 for gaming, Stereo is where the most accurate positioning is at, and lmao at that. Advertising ? Again ? Again.
With 5.1 it feels really distant, it sometimes sounds like the sounds are coming from the different side they're coming from. It's really confusing, and becomes annoying after some time. Don't recommend investing into that.

[c]Build quality[/c]

From all the peripherals I've ever had for my PC, headsets can be named as least reliable. They break constantly. Either you forget you have a wire attached to them and walk away, pulling the cord out of your ear, or simply some parts break that play a crucial role in holding the tension, you lose tension, they become wobbly, and you don't want to live on this planet anymore.

I want to highlight this the most, when choosing headsets - go for something sturdy, well built, less plastic, more metal dirt. Don't worry, your neck won't hurt, it won't weigh you down, you'll just adapt and you'll get that special feeling, when you put them on, that there's some serious business you're about to hear of.

[c]Mic[/c]

Costly headphones do have better mic's, not sure why they differ so much from one manufacturer to another, but it's noticeable. However, if you buy something over 40$, I expect it to have a reasonably good one (mic).

[c]Comfort[/c]

Very important, if not most. You're most certain to use them for prolongued periods of time, which will result in sweating, scratching, ruined haircuts and whatever else there is.

So make sure the headphones have big earcuffs, and the part that touches your ear ( the snug soft round ring ) is not made of thick rubber. Because over time, that rubber will become harder ( mostly from sweat ), and in the end it will crack like ice, into these long rubber bands, which have sharp edges, which may not only hurt you, but you can even cut yourself with them, if you're not careful. That's ultimate discomfort, but there aren't many of these bad nuts in the basket, tho - watch out.

Let's talk about wireless headsets. Yes, they are pricy, especially if they have a mic. I wouldn't recomment buying anything pricy in the headphone division, however, if you can trust yourself with them, wireless pricy headphones is the way to go. You will never pull a cord on them, they last over 10 hours and you can listen to music in your bed if you wish to, before going to sleep. You can troll your teammates over TS taking a piss in the can, doing all kinds of sounds in the kitchen or playing a game "what the hell is that idiot doing now". You can be summoned to RUP instantly whilst taking a smoke in the balcony, and you can listen to music whilst doing so. It's really something.

Having all that in mind, take special steps before buying anything wireless - headphones, mice, keyboards. As Aciz and gefroy have cautioned us, however advanced the technology may be, make sure you read the forums and troubleshooting columns considering your product - wireless stuff tend to have latency issues, and they call back to prices. My own experience with g930 says otherwise, however it's a very pricy headset, and who knows - maybe the latency is so minute, that it's not noticeable. That does not mean it's not there, and in a vast range of manufacturers and their products, you will certainly find some bad beans, which will spoil your soup.


TL;DR verdict:
- Speakers are for the nubs;
- Sound quality doesn't really differ all that much, even at different price ranges;
- Don't fall for advertising tricks on Headsets - you don't need 5.1, or anything fancy for that matter;
- Sturdy, hard rock built over Flashy, "Special edition" craphones;
- Mic's differ, yet all function very well;
- Comfort is key - big earcuffs, made of cloth or something soft (!);
- Go wireless - extreme comfort, freedom, less wires to annoy you + 10 in every trolling skill tree.



I am quite happy of how informal and casual this section presented itself, asking me only of conclusions, rather than endless scientific-proof based dry facts, that don't tell you if the the apple is sour or sweet, until you actually get a bite of it. I can tell you for sure - this apple is sweet, if it's redish, and if it's green - gonna be sour.
2 Comments
OlcrOw
very good personal guide! it shows that every word is wisdom and personal experience, and that's why I just believe in what you share, personally I will take note and I want to start leveling up as a player, great job.
pd: excuse my english.
viola
''The Laser one - different story. Couldn't find a proper sensitivity''

this is exactly my problem :(
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