Whether you are intending to participate in esports competitions or just take your gaming sessions to the next level, you are going to want to get the very best esports setup you can, based on your budget, your personal preferences, and your gaming requirements. The right setup can be the difference between wins and losses, but it can be difficult to know where to start, how all of the different components come together, and which areas to focus on.
Read on for a comprehensive guide to getting the right setup for your esports needs.
Putting together the best esports setup can go a long way towards helping you to become a more successful gamer. While the question of whether or not esports should be considered a sport is still up for some debate, what is abundantly clear is that it is a competitive activity, where actual talent is not the only deciding factor.
Although skill, stamina, and the ability to work as part of a team can all contribute towards esports success, having the right equipment can be just as important and can easily be the difference between wins and losses in certain games. Here, we take a comprehensive look at the various components that make up the best esports setup.
How to Build an Esports Gaming Station
First, it is important to understand that there are many different elements that go into the creation of an ideal esports gaming station. On a basic level, you will need to select the right computer, which means choosing between a laptop or a desktop computer and then either finding or building a PC with the right CPU, graphics card, and cooling system.
You are also going to need to give consideration to other components, such as your monitor and keyboard, as well as other peripherals, such as a gaming headset that will allow you to communicate effectively with other players. Making the right choices in these key areas can help to provide the kind of marginal gains that make the difference.
Finally, you will also need to give some thought to things like your gaming chair, your mousepad, and whether or not blue light filter glasses could improve your performance. Some of these decisions may also depend on whether you are participating in esports for personal enjoyment, or attempting to integrate esports within your education.
What to Look for in a Gaming PC
The first and most important decision you will need to make when creating your esports gaming station is the kind of PC you will opt for, with the two main options being either a laptop or a desktop. In addition to factoring in your personal preference, this decision is also likely to be influenced by how you intend to use your computer for gaming.
The primary benefit of opting for a laptop is portability. If you are going to be gaming at home but don’t have a dedicated space, it will give you the freedom to move around. And if you are going to be competing as part of an organized team, such as a high school esports team, you will have the ability to take your laptop to meet-ups, events, and tournaments.
Other benefits to consider include the presence of a battery, which will allow you to use your computer even away from a plug socket, lower power consumption, and the fact that the keyboard and trackpad are built-in. However, the disadvantages are relevant too and these include less potential to upgrade parts and lower overall performance when compared to a desktop of the same power specs because compromises need to be made.
Desktop computers are often regarded as the ideal option for esports gamers who are always intending to play from the same physical location. They will often have more powerful processors, are usually easier to upgrade which can give them a longer shelf-life, and they can also often be cheaper than a gaming laptop offering similar performance.
Of course, a desktop computer will not provide the same level of portability and, unlike with a laptop, the computer monitor and keyboard will not be built-in. This can be less convenient, but it will also allow you to purchase a higher-quality keyboard and a high-quality gaming monitor, which could improve your controls and display, resulting in superior performance.
What to Look for in a Gaming Graphics Card
Gaming graphics cards can be somewhat confusing because there are a lot of different elements to consider. The first thing you have to keep in mind is that your graphics card needs to be appropriate for the resolution you intend to play games at, while in terms of size, it needs to be able to physically fit within your setup.
As far as technical specifications are concerned, modern gaming is likely to require at least 4GB of video RAM (VRAM), but 8GB is preferable if you are intending to create an esports setup with 4K resolution. A suitable graphics card that exceeds 8GB, whether through its official memory specs or overclocking, will be even more future-proof.
This would also be a good time to take a look at G-Sync vs FreeSync Explained
What to Look for in a Gaming Processor
The central processing unit (CPU) will also impact system performance while playing games, so you will need to make sensible decisions in this area too. In general, the two main manufacturers to consider are Intel and AMD. While Intel is by far the market leader, since the introduction of the AMD Ryzen line, the gap in performance has fallen significantly and both are now perfectly viable options when trying to build the best esports setup.
In general, you want a CPU that has multiple cores and the best possible clock speeds you can afford. If you have a desktop computer and a solid cooling system, it may also be useful to look for a CPU that offers overclocking potential.
What to Look for in a Cooling System
There are a number of components within a PC that will give off a lot of heat and this is especially true with gaming PCs. However, excessive heat can affect performance and even cause temporary or permanent malfunctions, so a cooling system is required. The two main options here are an air cooling solution or a liquid cooling solution.
Air cooling is the most common form of PC cooling and also the most affordable choice, but it has the disadvantage of being noisy, and it may not work so well if the ambient temperature around your esports station is high. Liquid cooling will produce superior performance, but it will be more expensive and may be overkill for some setups.
Overall, the main things to factor in are heat reduction performance, noise, and price.
What to Look for in a Gaming Monitor
Another crucial element of your esports setup is your gaming monitor and there are a number of things to keep in mind here. Firstly, you are going to want the monitor to be a decent size so that you can clearly see the games you are playing. The best options here are either a 24”, 27”, 32” or 35”, depending on your budget and available space.
You are going to want to invest in a flicker-free screen and the best gaming monitors will offer 1ms response time and fast refresh rates. There is also some evidence suggesting that curved monitors can produce benefits in terms of both immersion and eye comfort, so it is worth taking that into account when making your decision.
What to Look for in a Gaming Keyboard
Choosing the right keyboard is another major part of achieving the best esports setup and the biggest decision here is whether to opt for a mechanical or a membrane keyboard.
As a general rule, mechanical keyboards are considered the gold standard within gaming circles and are likely to feature in the absolute best esports setup. These keyboards feature a complete switch underneath each key, which often provides a noticeable “click” when pressed, making it much easier to hear when a keystroke has been registered.
Mechanical keyboards provide vastly superior durability, with Razer switches having an average lifespan in the region of 50 to 80 million keystrokes. Nevertheless, these keyboards do also tend to be significantly more expensive.
In contrast to the mechanical option, membrane keyboards are inexpensive, and this can help to make them an ideal option if you are looking to save money. They may also be the best option if you are going to be focusing on games where keyboard performance is less likely to adversely affect your gaming experience.
Membrane keyboards account for the majority of modern PC keyboards and work by passing an electric current through plastic membranes when the keys are pressed down. They are quieter than mechanical keyboards but less robust. Moreover, issues with keystrokes failing to register are more common and they may suffer from issues like ghosting too.
What to Look for in a Gaming Mouse
Depending on the nature of the games you are intending to play, your choice of mouse could contribute significantly to better performance. This is especially true with games like first-person shooters, where swift, precise movement is a requirement. When it comes to creating the best esports setup possible, you should consider the following:
Wired or Wireless
One of the most important decisions you will need to make revolves around whether to buy a wired or a wireless mouse and your choice here will depend on what you want to prioritize. If you are looking for absolute peak performance in terms of speed, precision, and reliability, wired is going to be the way to go. This is because a wired mouse will typically produce faster response times and will not be prone to issues like signal interference.
However, wireless mice do offer significant advantages of their own. The lack of a wire is beneficial in terms of avoiding tangles and providing an additional range of movement. It can also make transportation easier.
Other Mouse Features
It is also important to give some weight to other features and qualities, including ergonomics. If you are left-handed, for example, you might be tempted to buy a mouse that has been designed for use with the left hand, while you can also measure your hand and use this size guide to help you to decide on what size to buy.
Finally, some mice are designed for use with specific types of games, so look into this too. A mouse designed for first-person shooters will typically focus on allowing for swift movements, while a mouse intended for use with online role-playing games may place an emphasis on offering additional buttons, which can be mapped to perform certain actions.
What to Look for in a Gaming Headset
Your gaming headset of choice is also critical to getting the best esports setup and the main things to consider here are whether to go for a headset with a built-in microphone or not, and whether to opt for a wired or wireless headset. For most people, a built-in microphone is likely to be the best and most convenient option, but some people do prefer to have a separate microphone and focus on headphones with the best possible audio.
The decision on wireless or wired headsets is primarily one of personal preference, although it is worth noting that wireless headsets are usually more expensive, but they are potentially also much more future-proof due to the fact that a growing number of modern devices are removing headphone ports.
Other Elements of a Gaming Station
It is also worth noting a few additional elements, which can help you to complete your gaming station.
As a general rule, esports players are required to spend long periods of time playing games and this necessitates a good, ergonomic chair. In particular, your chair should be adjustable in terms of height, as this will help to ensure your arms are roughly at the same height as your keyboard and mouse, which can help to prevent issues like repetitive strain injuries. You will also need sufficient lumbar support to prevent problems like backache.
Mousepads are the kind of thing you may overlook when trying to create your esports setup, but they do have value. Gaming on a bad mousepad limits movement and could even interfere with your mouse’s sensors. Then from an ergonomics standpoint, some mousepads come with a padded wrist rest, which can potentially reduce strain on the wrist. With that being said, acceptance of the benefits of wrist supports is not universal, so this is a debatable point. If you have a larger budget and want to create the best esports setup possible, a high-quality gaming mousepad, made from a material like aluminum or glass, can provide marginal accuracy gains as well.
Esports glasses, such as the ones on offer from HyperX, are designed to filter out the blue light that is produced by most modern computer monitors and displays. This is significant because blue light has been linked with a number of potential problems for esports players, including eye fatigue, eye strain, tiredness, dry eyes, and even headaches. The main alternative here, if you want to filter out blue light, is to purchase a blue light filter for your monitor.
Putting together the best esports setup is important because it can be the difference between winning and losing, especially at the highest level of competitive play. However, the best setup for you may differ from the best setup for someone else, depending on your budget, your personal preferences, and the physical space you have available.