Best Gaming Chairs for Big and Tall Guys in 2021 — Best Heavy Duty Chairs

The gaming chair market is filled with endless brands and options to choose from. But one thing many people aren’t cognizant about is the fact that there’s no one-size-fits-all chair. Furniture companies make chairs for different people based on the usage purpose as well as physical attributes of the user (i.e. weight and size). Big and tall gamers require ‘Heavy Duty’ chairs that are strongly built to withstand their weight while providing adequate neck and back support.

Typically, these chairs have bigger seats, durable metal frames, and a strong base. Gaming chairs for big and tall guys also boast of flexible adjustments and extra accessories designed for maximum comfort. In this guide, we compile some of the best gaming chairs available for big and tall guys.

Best Gaming Chairs for Heavy Duty

For context, people that fall into the “Big and Tall” category are individuals who are at least 6-feet tall and weigh 300 pounds or above. Now let’s get to figuring out the best gaming chairs for big fellas.

1. Arozzi Vernazza Super Premium Series

Best gaming chairs for big and tall guys

With a maximum weight capacity of 360 pounds and other brilliant architecture focused on big and tall guys, the Arozzi Vernazza is worth checking out. The seat is wide and backseat is extra tall to cater to users of different height and size. Another ergonomic addition is the armrest.

It has a nifty, 3-direction adjustable design that allows users position their arms for optimum comfort through long gaming sessions or office usage. The attached head and lumbar pillow also offer users an extra level of comfort and convenience during long hours of sitting. You can kiss back pain and neck strain goodbye.

The chair is premium-looking and all of its components are made from high-quality materials — from the lightweight frame down to the durable casters/wheels. This isn’t one of those chairs you’d have to replace yearly or bi-annually. We’ve come across customers that have used the Arozzi Vernazza Super Premium series for 4 years and counting.

For a premium chair, it supports all the movements and adjustments you can think of — 360-degree swivel, lockable tilt (up to 12°), lockable recline (up to 165°). Finally, it is super easy to setup. Many users pointed out that it took approximately 20-30 minutes to assemble the chair after unboxing.

Price and Availability

The Arozzzi Vernazza Super Premium chair is available in six different color variants (Black, Blue, Green, Orange, Red, and White) with price ranging from $320 — $399 (see offers on Amazon).

Other Key Features

  • Dimension (L x W x H): 20 x 13 x 57 inches
  • Tilt: 12-degree (lockable)
  • Recline: 165 degrees (minimum), 180 degrees (maximum)
  • Maximum Weight Capacity: 360 lbs / 160 kg
  • Chair weight: 57 lbs / 26 kg

Pros

  • Multi-dimensional armrest design; armrest can be moved up/down, forward/backward, and rotate left/right.
  • Backrest is lockable at 4-degrees increments.
  • Premium, durable, and easy-to-clean p-leather material.

Cons

  • The lumbar pillow is somewhat hard and rocky. This could result in slight discomfort for some users.

2. Hbada Gaming Chair (with Footrest)

best gaming chairs big tall guys

This chair by Hbada takes the spot as the best budget gaming chair for big and tall guys on this list. This version comes with a retractable footrest that takes comfortability to a higher level.

You also get a headrest and a lumbar pillow for waist and neck support. They aren’t as big and neatly carved as you’d find on high-end gaming chairs but they get the job done. The backrest can be adjusted all the way back to a 155-degree angle while the armrest can only be adjusted upwards and downwards.

Not only is the seat and backrest large enough to comfortably accommodate big and tall guys, but it is also rated to withstand a maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs. The overall build and construction of the chair is sturdy and designed for comfort.

Compared to pricier products on this list, we noticed that the seat and backrest paddings are a bit thinner. And this is understandably so, given that this is a sub-$200 budget chair.

Basically, you get what you pay for. It even gets cheaper; there’s a variant of the Hbada chair that lacks the retractable footrest and sells for a lesser price.

Price and Availability

The Hbada Gaming Chair is available in three mono-color (Blue, Gray, Red) and two dual-color (Red & Black and Gray & Black) variants. The retail price for this product starts between $164 — $185 (see offers on Amazon) and it comes with a 1-year warranty.

Other Key Features

  • Dimension (L x W x H): 25.59 x 23.62 x 59.06 inches
  • Recline: 180-degree
  • Tilt/Rocking angle: 17°
  • Maximum Weight Capacity: 330 lbs / 150 kg
  • Chair weight: 57 lbs / 26 kg

Pros

  • Affordable.
  • It is super easy to assemble.
  • The backrest can be reclined to a very low angle for better back support.

Cons

  • Armrest only adjusts up and down.

3. AKRacing Gaming Chair (Masters Series)

This is a high-end gaming chair both in terms of price and overall quality. One thing we loved about this product is the availability of numerous adjustability options.

The backrest can go as far back as 180-degrees while the armrest can be adjusted in four different directions — rotate, front/back, sideways, up/down. The wide backrest has solid metal frames with thick and comfortable padding. The lumbar pillow is comfortable and feels natural on the waist/back.

Unlike other gaming chairs with prohibitively big lumbar pillows that leave users with limited sitting space, this one is moderately-sized for optimum back support.

The wheels are solid and so is the gas lift. The AKRacing Masters Series chair uses a Class-4 gas lift, the best in the market. As rated by the manufacturer, it can withstand a maximum weight of 330 lbs, an impressive weight capacity for big and tall guys. Everything about this chair exudes quality.

The leather covering looks premium, durable, and easy to clean. The base, with steel frame and smooth-rolling casters, is also rock solid and built to last long.

Price and Availability

The AKRacing Masters Series chair is available in five different color variants —Arctica, Black, Carbon Black, Silver, and Tri-color— with prices ranging from $399 – $480 (see offers on Amazon).

Other Key Features

  • Dimension (L x W x H): 20 x 13 x 57 inches
  • Recline: 180 degrees (minimum), 180 degrees (maximum)
  • Maximum Weight Capacity: 360 lbs / 160 kg
  • Chair weight: 57 lbs / 26 kg

Pros

  • Ergonomic and comfortable curved contour design.
  • Numerous adjustability options.
  • It is made out of premium and durable materials.
  • High weight limit/capacity.

Cons

  • The neck rest sometimes drops below the neck.

4. Musso Big & Tall Gaming Chair

best gaming chairs big tall guys

Heavy-duty chairs for people who are physically taller and bigger don’t have to be heavy on the price, thanks to companies like Musso. If we were to score the design and overall aesthetics of this chair, we’d score it an 8/10. Regarding the cover material, there are two variants of this chair: one with PU leather and another with fabric covering.

The leather variant is only available in Black while the latter comes in 3 different colors (Blue, Gray, and Black).

The backrest — about 36-inch tall — can be adjusted to a napping position up to 155-degrees. The added headrest and waist-rest pillows also provide an excellent level of comfort when you sit upright in front of your PC.

The armrest, which is made of durable carbon fiber material, is one of the most comfortable and widest armrest you’d find on a gaming chair. One downside, however, is that it can only be adjusted vertically — up to 3-inches.

The seat itself is 5.2-inches thick and sits on a Class-4 gas cylinder, allowing for a maximum weight capacity of 400-pounds.

Price and Availability

All the color and style variants of the Musso Gaming Chair retails for $199 (see offers on Amazon). We gathered a slew of positive reviews from many users, and we’re sure you’d love it too, especially if you’re on a budget below $200. One common complaint we picked up so far borders around the size of the waist-rest. That aside, it‘s a great chair for its price.

Other Key Features

  • Dimension (L x W x H): 20 x 13 x 57 inches
  • Tilt: 12-degree (lockable)
  • Recline: 165 degrees (minimum), 180 degrees (maximum)
  • Maximum Weight Capacity: 360 lbs / 160 kg
  • Chair weight: 57 lbs / 26 kg

Pros

  • The seat is big and comfortable.
  • Impressive build quality and aesthetics.
  • Flexible weight support.
  • It is easy to assemble out-of-the-box.

Cons

  • The armrest can only be adjusted one-way.

5. GANK Gaming Chair Large Size

Price-wise, this falls in the same category as the Musso Gaming Chair. The difference lies in their design, weight support, and other features. The GANK chair (40 pounds) has a maximum weight limit of 300 pounds, thanks to the solid metal frame and SGS-verified Class-4 gas lift.

This chair also comes with a footrest that provides an extra level of comfort for your knee and feet. We also loved that the major components of this chair (the seat, backrest, headrest, lumbar pillow, and armrest) that your body parts sit on are padded for comfort.

The seating area is also long (17.8-inch) and wide enough (20.8-inch) to accommodate gamers that fall into the “big and tall” category. The backrest can be adjusted up to 180-degrees in four different modes/positions: Work mode (90°), Idle mode (120°), Lunch Break mode (165°), and Chill mode (180°).

One issue that most users complained about is the lengthy installation time it took to assemble all the components out-of-the-box. Interestingly, the manufacturer offers a really flexible warranty that lets users exchange the chair (for a refund or a new unit) due to installation-related problems, structural defects, missing parts, etc.

Price and Availability

GANK makes the chair in five (5) different color variants — Black, White, Black & Red, Blue, and Camouflage; all the variants are sold for $199 (see offers on Amazon).

Other Key Features

  • Dimension (inches): Seat – 20.8 x 17.8 (W X D) | Backrest – 20.8 x 34.2 (W X L)
  • Material: Faux Leather
  • Recline: 120 degrees (minimum), 180 degrees (maximum)
  • Maximum Weight Capacity: 300 lbs / 160 kg
  • Chair weight: 40 lbs / 18 kg
  • Adjustable Height: 3.2 inches

Pros

  • The footrest provides an improved level of comfort and prevents knee strain, particularly when reclined to Chill mode.
  • The faux leather looks premium.
  • The seat is spacious and thick.

Cons

  • Armrest adjustment is limited.

6. FANTASYLAB Highback 400lbs Gaming Chair

The FANTASYLAB series is the most advanced, stylish, and luxurious racing-style chair from KILLABEE, a 19-year old company renowned for the production of ergonomic chairs for gamers, corporate individuals, and sedentary creatives/workers who sit for long hours daily.

The seating area is wide and comfortably padded with a lumbar pillow to relieve hip and back pain. The backrest is 33.5-inch tall and can be reclined into a resting position up to 175-degrees. As seen in the picture above, you also get a removable neck rest pillow.

The combination of the sturdy metal frame, metal base, gas spring, and smooth-gliding castors gives the chair a solid structure that allows it to handle up to 400 pounds weight conveniently. So, if you’re a tall, big, or overweight gamer looking for a chair, this is the one for you.

The armrest has a unique design; its surface area is wide and it’ll accommodate all hand sizes.

Finally, the retractable footrest makes it a complete package. Like other parts of the chair, the footrest is also very easy to control and readjust.

Price and Availability

Best gaming chairs big and tall guys

You can get the FANTASYLAB Highback 400lbs Chair with Footrest in four different colors (Black, Red, Blue, and White) for $249 only. Check out the full specifications and pictures here on Amazon.

Other Key Features

  • Dimension (inches): Seat – 20.9 x 20.5 (W x D) | Backrest – 23.2 x 33.5 (W X L)
  • Material: Faux Leather
  • Recline: 120 degrees (minimum), 175 degrees (maximum)
  • Maximum Weight Capacity: 400 lbs / 181 kg
  • Chair weight: 40 lbs / 18 kg
  • Adjustable Height: 2 inches

Pros

  • Premium construction with high-quality materials.
  • Impressive weight support.
  • Ergonomic armrest and footrest design.
  • Cushion is soft and comfortable to sit on for long hours.

Cons

  • You might have a hard time assembling the parts as the installation instructions aren’t clearly spelled out.

Buying Guide for Big and Tall  Gaming Chairs

When buying a heavy-duty gaming chair (for bug and tall guys), perhaps for yourself or as a gift to someone, what are the things to look out for? What are the important things to note before making a purchase? Find out below.

1. Weight Capacity

Gaming chairs made for users in the big and tall demographic are perfect for people that weigh at least 300 pounds or above. The quality of the frame, casters/wheels, and gas lift play a vital role in determining the weight limit of a gaming chair.

Make sure you check the product detail page for the weight capacity of the chair. Products with a Class-4 gas lift and a minimum weight capacity of 300 lbs are recommended.

2. User’s Height

Gaming chairs designed for big and tall people usually have a wide & deep seating area as well as a high back. If you’re shorter (say 5ft 10 or lower), your feet might be in the air when seated in a chair rated for the big and tall guys. Some products have recommended height ratings inscribed on their packaging.

Be sure to check it out and read reviews from other users.

3. Material

Gaming chairs are typically covered in either leather or fabric. The former looks more premium and is easily cleanable; they are resistant to dust and liquid.

Fabric gaming chairs, on the other hand, are generally more breathable and there’s lesser probability of experiencing heat-induced sweat or discomfort — because they have lots of openings. In addition, fabric chairs are more durable, long-lasting, and less prone to physical damages — e.g. scratches from pet claws.

Personal preference and environmental conditions would determine what you choose.

If you live in a cool region or your gaming ambiance is adequately air-conditioned, get a leather-coated chair by all means. If you have pets or the temperature of a gaming room almost mirrors that of a desert, we recommend getting a fabric chair.

4. Functionality and Accessories

The core purpose of these chairs is to offer comfort during long sessions of gaming. Therefore, ensure the chair you’re buying sports features that are designed to maximize comfortability and efficiency. There should be a neck/headrest and a lumbar pillow. Likewise, the armrests’ height should be adjustable. Big plus if they (read: armrests) can also be adjusted in multiple directions.

The best gaming chairs support 4D armrest adjustment (where D stands for direction): Up/Down, Left/Right, Forward/Backward, and Tilt movement. 3D or 2D adjustments are also decent.

The backrest should support a backward recline of at least 150° so you can rest your spine in a sleeping position during gaming breaks. Footrests are also a great addition. They help reduce knee pain by improving blood circulation to your legs.

Conclusion

And that’s it; the best gaming chairs for big and tall guys. If you bewildered and don’t know which to choose, or you need help with some complex terms, feel free to drop us a question in the comments section below.

The post Best Gaming Chairs for Big and Tall Guys in 2021 — Best Heavy Duty Chairs appeared first on AddictiveTips.

4 Best Low-end GPUs for Linux Users in 2021 (Buying Guide)

Are you in need of a good, low-power graphics card for your Linux PC? Not sure what to get to use on your Linux system? If this sounds like you, you’ve come to the right place! Follow along with us as we go over the 4 best low-end graphics cards for Linux users!

GPU support on Linux

GPU support on Linux isn’t what it is on Microsoft Windows. Due to Linux being used by fewer people than Windows, the GPU manufacturers (AMD and NVIDIA) spend significantly less time developing drivers for the platform. 

Yes, Linux users can typically find support for most mainstream GPUs out there today, but the support isn’t always good. For this reason, it’s a good idea to pick a GPU that has support from the open-source community, as they typically fill the gaps where Nvidia and AMD fall short.

All of the GPUs we cover in this list have support with open-source GPU drivers, as well as proprietary drivers. Since they support both types of drivers, the GPU you purchase will live on with Linux for as long as possible. 

For more information on how to get started with Nvidia or AMD drivers on your Linux system, please check out the list of links below. 

The best low-end GPU for Linux

A lot is made about expensive graphics cards these days, even on Linux. It is understandable, but what if you just need a low-end graphics card for basic functionality on Linux? Sadly, the low-end GPU market isn’t as lucrative, and as a result, many Linux users don’t know what to buy.

Not to worry! We’ve got you covered! Here are our picks for the best low-end GPUs to use on Linux!

1. ZOTAC GeForce GT 1030

The ZOTAC GeForce GT 1030 is our top pick for the best low-profile GPU to use on Linux.

Why? For starters, it is well supported on Linux through both open-source drivers and open-source ones too. It also packs some impressive features, like support for high-end screen resolutions of 7680×4320, fast video ram, and more.

Pros

  • The GPU has support for multiple monitors via HDMI and DVI-D.
  • The latest Nvidia Linux drivers list this device as supported, and should be supported for the foreseeable future.
  • The low profile bracket allows for the PNY GeForce GT 1030 to fit into tight PC cases.
  • The GPU has 2 GBs of video RAM clocked at  1227 MHz. It can boost up to 1468 MHz.
  • The GPU supports a maximum resolution of 7680 x 4320.

Cons

  • It has no support for display port or VGA on the device, which may be a deal-breaker with those using non HDMI or DVI-D displays.

2. MSI GeForce GT 710

Another excellent choice of low-profile GPU for Linux users to check out is the MSI GeForce GT 710. It has 2 GBs of video memory clocked at 1600 Mhz, supports triple monitors at a maximum resolution of 4096×2160, and has support on Linux via official Nvidia drivers and open-source ones.

It’s also very slim, and can fit just about anywhere!

Pros

  • The MSI GeForce GT 710 has 2 GBs of video memory clocked at 1600 Mhz.
  • Has triple monitor support by way of DVI-D, HDMI, and VGA.
  • The latest Nvidia drivers support this device, and it should enjoy support for the foreseeable future.
  • The form factor is low profile so the MSI GeForce GT 710 will fit into even the tightest of PC cases.
  • HDMI supports a resolution of up to  4096 x 2160, DVI 560 x 1600.

Cons

  • The device uses DDR3 rather than the standard GDDR5 or newer, which might translate into slower performance.

3. XFX RX 550

If Nvidia isn’t your style and you need a good low-profile GPU, the XFX RX 550 is a great option.

It offers triple monitor support (HDMI, Display Port, and DVI-D) at 4096×2160, has 2 GB of video ram clocked at 1203 Mhz, and works well on Linux of the box without the need to install drivers thanks to AMD’s open-source drivers.

Pros

  • The GPU offers triple monitor support via HDMI, Display Port, and DVI-D.
  • Has 2 GB of DDR5 video RAM, clocked at 1203MHz.
  • It supports a maximum resolution of 4096×2160.
  • Enjoys support on Linux from within the kernel itself, with no need to install anything, thanks to AMD’s open-source drivers.
  • Dual fans on the GPU offer superior cooling while doing heavy tasks.

Cons

  • The huge form factor makes it a tight fight on small PCs.
  • Open source AMD GPU drivers, while excellent, aren’t as performant as Nvidia drivers while gaming in some instances.
  • Triple monitor support is all digital and has no support for VGA, which means older monitors will not work with it.

4. Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 550

Want a slim low-powered GPU but don’t want to sacrifice performance to get there? If so, do yourself a favor and take a look at the Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 550. I

t’s an impressive GPU that packs a punch with things like triple monitor support (maximum resolution of 5120×2880,) as well as 2 GB of supercharged 1500 Mhz video RAM, and support for Linux out of the box!

Pros

  • Has 2 GB of video RAM clocked at 1500 MHz.
  • Triple monitor support via Display Port, HDMI, and DVI-D.
  • Low profile design allows for easy fitting into packed computers and Linux workstations.
  • It is supported on the Linux platform via the open-source AMD GPU drivers built into the Linux kernel, with no need to install anything.
  • The GPU supports a maximum resolution of 5120×2880.

Cons

  • The open-source AMD drivers can perform worse than the Nvidia drivers while gaming on Linux in some cases.
  • While the device supports three monitors, it does not include VGA support, which means older monitors will not work.

Conclusion

In this list, we went over the 4 best low-end GPUs to use on Linux. Each of the GPUs we discussed is excellent in their ways, and undoubtedly worthy of picking up.

If you’ve been struggling to find an affordable, low-powered graphics card to power your Linux workstation, we hope that this list has helped you make the right decision!

The post 4 Best Low-end GPUs for Linux Users in 2021 (Buying Guide) appeared first on AddictiveTips.

Best Console Gaming Monitor for PS4 and Xbox One (Reviews) in 2021

There’s a plethora of monitors out there, but not all are suited for gaming. Some are designed for office use while some would perform brilliantly for tasks like photo/video editing.

For console gaming monitors, there’s a lot of factors to put into consideration before buying one. Imagine shelling out $300 or less on a monitor but it lags while trying to speed past opponents in Need for Speed. Compared to regular TVs or monitors, the best console gaming monitors are optimized with features and technology that’ll enhance your gaming experience.

Best Console Gaming Monitor on the Market

So you don’t have to, we’ve done the groundwork and compiled a list of some of the best console gaming monitors that’ll offer impressive gaming performance for both PS4 and Xbox users.

Let’s get right to it.

1. BenQ ZOWIE RL2455T

Best Console Gaming Monitor

BenQ prides itself as a leading manufacturer of top-quality consumer tech products ranging from peripherals, digital cameras, gaming monitors, and other communication products. With a 24-inch Full HD screen, the Zowie RL2455T utilizes BenQ’s native Black eQualizer technology to offer gamers competitive advantage by enhancing color clarity and representation.

More specifically, what the technology does is to brighten darker areas in your games without overexposing the light(er) areas. “How would this improve your gaming experience?” you might ask. Well, by brightening up darker screen areas, you get to see and target your opponents’ characters better, particularly when they’re hiding in shadows or in the dark.

Moving on, the possibility of experience lag in image or color shift during gaming is almost non-existent. Thanks to its 75 Hz refresh rate and 1 ms response time.

The bezel is a little think but BenQ says it is a special bezel frame that minimizes eye strain, reduces distractions, and improves gaming comfort. The connection ports on the rear are compatible with all types of gaming console — PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Wii U.

This edition of the BenQ Zowie RL2455T comes with an adjustable stand that lets users play games comfortably by vertically adjust and tilt the monitor to the most comfortable eye and neck level. It is also VESA compatible, meaning you can hook it up to a monitor arm. The preset display presets/modes (FPS mode, RTS mode, Fight mode, etc.) help to easily optimize the monitor’s size and scaling based on the genre for smooth gameplay.

Price and Availability

The BenQ Zowie RL2455T retails for about $150 — $176 (see offers on Amazon). In the box are the monitor, the adjustable stand, instruction manual, and every other thing you need to set up the monitor on your table. Users of this monitor have attested to its smooth gaming performance and rich picture quality.

Other Key Features

  • Display Size: 24-inches
  • Display Type: LCD
  • Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (1080p) Full HD
  • Dimension: 19.84 x 8.42 x 22.81 inches
  • Refresh Rate: 75 Hertz
  • Response Time: 1 ms
  • Connectivity: D-Sub x 1, DVI, HDMI x 2
  • Weight: 12 lbs
  • Others: Built-in Speakers

Pros

  • Numerous preset gaming modes
  • Black eQualizer technology provides enhanced visibility.
  • Great collection of connection ports.
  • Built-in speakers.

Cons

  • Black eQualizer might mess with color accuracy.

2. MSI Optix G241

Best console gaming monitor

Micro-Star International (MSI) is another leading gaming brand and the company’s Optix G241 is one of the best console gaming monitors out there. It is a perfect blend of premium aesthetic and brilliant image & color reproduction.

The 24-inch display is an In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel with a Full HD resolution and a 144 Hz refresh rate. Expect fluid and lag-free gaming and vibrant images at wide (up to 178 degrees) viewing angles.

The MSI Optix G241 also supports the AMD FreeSync technology which brilliantly matches and adjusts the refresh rate of the monitor to your console’s frame rate on the fly. Xbox users can expect better gaming performance as the Microsoft console also supports FreeSync adaptative synchronization over HDMI.

Back to the monitor’s design, it’s nothing but beautiful and visually-appealing. The top and side bezels of the monitor are almost non-existent and the stand also helps to achieve great balance when on a desk.

There’s a tiny red button on the rear whose function is to allow users to customize and adjust on-screen display (OSD) settings on the fly via the built-in software. The input and output connectivity ports are also housed on the rear.

Price and Availability

Price-wise, the MSI Optix G241 is quite expensive, but not prohibitively. It boasts of state-of-the-art features and offers great value for money. At $279 (see offers on Amazon), you’ll definitely get your money’s worth and more.

Other Key Features

  • Display Size: 24-inches
  • Display Type: LED
  • Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (1080p) Full HD
  • Dimension: 24.1 x 8.9 x 17.8 inches
  • Refresh Rate: 144 Hertz
  • Response Time: 1 ms
  • Connectivity: HDMI (1.4b) x 2, 3.5mm headphone jack x 1.
  • Weight: 11.13 lbs

Pros

  • Sturdy bezel-less design and construction.
  • High refresh rate offers smooth gaming performance.
  • FreeSync-certified.
  • Minimal blue-light emission.
  • Support night vision.

Cons

  • The stand isn’t adjustable.
  • No built-in speakers.

3. Sceptre C305B-200UN

bet console gaming monitor

Not only does Sceptre make some of the best console gaming monitors, but they also have some of the most affordable ones.

The Sceptre C305B-200UN is a sub-$300 monitor with a curved display and ultra-slim bezels. And thanks to the high AMD FreeSync-powered refresh rate (200 Hz via the DisplayPort), expect sharp image reproduction and non-existent input lag. For HDMI connections, the refresh rate is capped at 165Hz.

Speaking of connections, there are three HDMI 2.0 ports and one DisplayPort on the rear. A mildly-bright LED light is also neatly engineered on the back cover. This illuminates and adds some aesthetic touch to your ambiance, especially when gaming in the dark.

The display is only slightly-curved but it provides wide viewing angles, reduces reflection, and generally lets you have immersive gaming experience. On paper, its 5ms response time isn’t really great, but we didn’t come across complaints about input lag, motion blur, or image fade.

There’s a built-in speaker but don’t expect heavy game-level audio from it; gaming speakers and headphones would provide better audio experience.

The metallic stand has a solid construction and holds the monitor firmly on your table. One downside, however, is that the stand is fixed and cannot be adjusted. You’d need a VESA-compatible (75mm by 75mm) wall mount or monitor arm if you occasionally want to adjust the monitor’s height and angle.

Price and Availability

Overall, the Sceptre C305B-200UN is a budget-friendly and high-performance curved-screen gaming monitor. It also has some built-in display modes (Picture-in-Picture and Picture-by-Picture) that help users multitask and receive input from dual sources simultaneously. You can get a unit of this monitor for about $278.99 (see offers on Amazon).

Other Key Features

  • Display Size: 30-inches
  • Display Type: LED
  • Display Resolution: 2560 x 1080 (1080p) Full HD
  • Dimension: 27.8 x 16.1 x 7.4 inches
  • Refresh Rate: up to 200 Hertz
  • Response Time: 5 ms
  • Connectivity: 1 x DisplayPort, HDMI x 3.
  • Weight: 12.15 lbs
  • Others: Built-in Speakers

Pros

  • Large curved display.
  • High refresh rates.
  • Comes with built-in speakers.
  • LED lighting on the rear is a great aesthetic addition.

Cons

  • The stand is not adjustable.

4. ASUS VE278Q

best console gaming monitor

This isn’t the gaming monitor to buy if you’re big on aesthetics. It doesn’t have the fancy and high-end stuff you’d find on other ASUS gaming monitors (e.g. LED lighting, bezel-less design, Eye Care technology, etc.) but it gets the job done. Plus, it’s affordable (under $200).

The major selling point of the ASUS VE278Q is its impressive and fluid picture quality. It boasts of a 27-inch non-glare Full HD display with a 2ms grey-to-grey response time and 85Hz refresh rate. There’s also a variety of old and new input options on the rear and a bunch of control/menu buttons on the lower bezel’s underside.

The buttons are properly-concealed and labeled for easy identification. They offer easy access to changing the monitor’s video modes, brightness level, speaker volume, and switching input options. The monitor is powered by ASUS’s proprietary ‘Splendid Video Intelligence Technology’ which provides six(6) preset modes that optimize video performance.

There’s a key for selecting and switching between the preset video modes (Standard, Game, Theatre, Night View, Scenery, and sRGB).

With Picture-in-Picture enabled, the ASUS VE278Q, you will simultaneously receive and display signals from two different inputs/ports on the screen. It ships with a table stand which, sadly, isn’t adjustable. The built-in speakers are on the rear and there’s an AI Light sensor that sits between both speaker grills. The sensor automatically adjusts the monitor’s brightness according to the amount of ambient light in the room.

Price and Availability

The ASUS VE278Q sells for about $150 — $169 (see offers on Amazon). It ships with VGA-to-VGA and DVI-to-HDMI cables out-of-the-box.

Other Key Features

  • Display Size: 27-inches
  • Display Type: TN/LED
  • Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (1080p) Full HD
  • Dimension: 27.8 x 16.1 x 7.4 inches
  • Refresh Rate: 85 Hertz
  • Response Time: 2 ms (grey-to-grey/G2G).
  • Connectivity: 1 x DisplayPort, HDMI x 2, DVI-D, D-Sub/VGA, 1 x 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Weight: 14.30 lbs
  • Others: Two Built-in 3W Stereo Speakers

Pros

  • AI Light sensor reduces power consumption and makes the eye more comfortable.
  • Dual Stereo Speakers produce decent audio.
  • Great collection of video input connectivity.
  • Supports Picture-in-Picture.

Cons

  • Monitor stand isn’t adjustable.

5. Acer SB230

Best console gaming monitor

This is the best budget console gaming monitor on this list. And at 8.3-inches (width size) and 4.88 Ibs, it is also the slimmest and most portable monitor you can get for your gaming setup. Compared to other 23-inch monitors, the Acer SB230 has more screen space, thanks to the super-slim top and side bezels.

It also supports AMD Radeon FreeSync technology which syncs your console’s frame rate with the monitor. However, it’s worth mentioning that the Acer SB230’s refresh rate is capped at 75 Hz. For a $100 gaming monitor, this is decent.

The display is held upright by a circular base that’s just as stylish as the monitor. Sadly, you cannot adjust the height, neither can it be attached to a wall mount or monitor arm. This is because there are no support VESA screw holes on the rear.

On the bright side, it’s quite interesting to see a budget gaming monitor with some sort of anti-bluelight technology incorporated. Thanks to Acer’s VisionCare technology, the monitor reduces blue-light emission and prevents eye strain and other negative effects of over-exposure to digital light.

Overall, this is a great gaming monitor to buy if you aren’t a competitive or professional gamer. The same applies to gamers on a shoelace budget who still want a nice-looking monitor. Picture quality is great and with a 1ms response time rating, you can expect ultra-fast image transitions and responsive gaming performance.

Price and Availability

The Acer SB230 is sold for about $100 — $109 (see offers on Amazon). It has all the connection ports you need and ships with a free VGA cable.

best console gaming monitor

Other Key Features

  • Display Size: 23-inches
  • Display Type: TN/LED
  • Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (1080p) Full HD
  • Dimension: 20.9 x 8.3 x 15.8 inches
  • Refresh Rate: 75 Hertz
  • Response Time: 1 ms
  • Connectivity: 1 x DisplayPort, HDMI x 1, DVI-D, D-Sub/VGA, 1 x 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Weight: 4.88 lbs

Pros

  • Slim, edge-to-edge design.
  • Possesses blue-light reduction technology.
  • Fast response time.
  • Affordable.

Cons

  • No built-in speakers.

6. AOC CQ34G2

best console gaming monitor

The AOC CQ34G2 monitor is a perfect blend of style, performance, and affordability. The 34-inch display is curved and has ultra-slim bezels at the top and on the sides. Albeit there are editions of this monitor with 2K and 4K resolution, this version has a Full HD resolution and supports a maximum refresh rate of 75 Hz while response time is pegged at 1 ms.

The monitor uses a Vertical Alignment (VA) panel, a type of LED display, that offers better color contrast than other forms of LED/LCD panels. You can also expect vibrant color reproduction from the AOC CQ34G2.

Despite its large screen size, the monitor is portable and occupies very little space on your table, thanks in part to the stylish stand. Interestingly, the stand can be adjusted to increase or lower the monitor’s height. And if you’d rather hook the monitor to a wall mount or monitor arm, there are VESA mounting holes (100 mm x 100mm) on the rear to achieve that.

All the needed connectivity options are also onboard. Plus, you get free DisplayPort and HDMI cables.

There’s also support for AMD FreeSync which reduces image stuttering, plus a Low Input Lag mode designed to eliminate input lag during gaming by reducing latency and heavy image processing.

Price and Availability

This is one of the cheapest 34-inch curved console gaming monitor money can buy you. As mentioned earlier, it ships with an HDMI cable and a DisplayPort cable as perks. The AOC CQ34G2 retails for $300 — $309 (see offers on Amazon).

Other Key Features

  • Display Size: 34-inches
  • Display Type: VA panel
  • Curvature: 1500R
  • Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (1080p) Full HD
  • Dimension: 31.82 x 20.79 x 9.33 inches
  • Refresh Rate: 75 Hertz
  • Response Time: 1 ms
  • Connectivity: 1 x DisplayPort, HDMI x 2
  • Weight: 24.6 lbs

Pros

  • Stylish and bezel-less design.
  • Free HDMI and DisplayPort cables included.
  • Fast response time.
  • Adjustable stand.
  • Affordable.

Cons

  • No built-in speakers.

What to Lookout for in a Projector

So, what exactly are some of the things you need to have in mind when shopping for a console gaming monitor? What are the features you should pay attention to the most? What do some of the seemingly complex terms mentioned above mean? Why are they important? We explain everything in lay terms below.

1. Screen Size

Measured in inches, screen size is one thing you first have to decide before putting other features into consideration.

For optimal viewing experience, gaming monitors with at least 22-inches display will get the job done. Bigger screen sizes might provide bigger and wider viewing angles but this is dependent on viewing distance. If your gaming chair would be close to the table/desk where the monitor would be placed, you’re better off with something between 22 — 27-inches.

Monitors with 30-inches or above or best mounted on a monitor arm. You should also note that bigger screens are generally more expensive, but not always.

2. Screen Shape

Flat monitors are common and everywhere but curved monitors are becoming increasingly popular. Curved displays are stylish and score more aesthetic points than their flat counterparts. Some reports also have it that curved monitors make gaming more immersive and they generally offer better color consistency and viewing angles.

The curvature (the degree to which the display is curved) is denoted in radius (R). So, when you see terms like 1,200R or 4,000R on a monitor’s spec sheet, it refers to the degree of curve of the screen. The smaller the curvature rating, the greater the monitor’s curve is.

3. Resolution

This is another important metric to look out for on a console monitor. The minimum resolution we recommend is Full HD (1080p). Other resolutions like QHD/2K (1440p) and UHD/4K (2160p) offer better image quality and sharper visual due to their higher pixel counts. Expectedly, the higher the resolution/pixel count, the more expensive it is.

Again, Full HD monitors offer great image quality. But if you’re willing to shell out more money, go for 2K or 4K monitors by all means. You’ll definitely enjoy your money’s worth.

4. Refresh Rate

This term simply describes the rate/speed at which a monitor changes image displayed on the screen per second. Refresh rate is measured in Hertz (Hz), and the higher a monitor’s refresh rate, the smoother images appear on the screen.

The effect of this on gaming is that your monitor will stay in tune with the rapid movement of your characters when playing fast-paced games, giving you a competitive edge over an opponent playing on a monitor with a lower refresh rate.

Best console gaming monitor

One important thing to note, however, is that your console must also be equipped to run games at the same (high) refresh rate as the monitor.

A console (PS4, for example) with a 60Hz refresh rate can only push images at a maximum framerate of 60 frames per second to your monitor. Using the PS4 on a 144Hz monitor will still display images at 60Hz. So, there’s really no point buying a monitor with a high refresh rate if your console or GPU isn’t equipped to refresh displayed images at the same rate.

If you own an Xbox One (with 120Hz refresh rate), then it makes sense buying a monitor with 120Hz refresh rate or higher.

5. Response Time

Response time (measured in milliseconds) describes how much time it takes a pixel on your monitor to change from one color to another — usually from white to black and vice versa, or grey to white and vice versa. The lower a monitor’s response time, the better image clarity and color accuracy you’d get during gaming.

Currently, the lowest response time a monitor can have is 1ms. And that is the best response rate for pro-level and competitive gaming.

6. Connectivity

Finally, ensure you carefully examine the available connection option on a gaming monitor before buying one. You want to make sure your consoles can be directly connected to the monitor. The best console gaming monitors out there have at least one DisplayPort and HDMI. Monitors with USB ports and audio ports (3.5mm or 5mm) lets you connect headphones, speakers, and other peripherals.

And speaking of connectivity, we recommend buying monitors that can simultaneously display input from two input sources on the screen. You’d find this feature labeled as Picture-in-Picture Mode or Picture-by-Picture Mode on most monitors.

Conclusion

In addition to the above, you should also look-out for the little things like built-in speakers, adjustable stands, bezel-less designs, RGB lighting, eyecare or blue-light reduction technology, etc.

They help to make gaming more enjoyable. And that’s it, your starter guide to buying the best console gaming monitors. Drop and comment below if you have any questions.

The post Best Console Gaming Monitor for PS4 and Xbox One (Reviews) in 2021 appeared first on AddictiveTips.

4 Best USB DVD Drives for Linux Users in 2021 (Buying Guide)

Most Linux computers do not have a CD/DVD drive attached to them anymore. Not having a CD/DVD drive usually isn’t a huge issue, as most people do things over the internet or via USB. However, if you have some old PC games, movies, or data to access, not having a disc drive is a huge problem.

There are many excellent USB DVD drives available online these days. However, not all of them work with the Linux platform. That’s why we’ve made this list of 4 USB DVD drives that work on Linux. 

DVD playback on Linux

The DVD drives on this list work on Linux thanks to drivers included within the kernel and the manufacturer’s effort to bring drivers to the platform. However, there’s something you should know: DVD Playback on Linux is turned off by default on almost all Linux distributions.

Why is DVD playback disabled by default? In short, legal reasons. Linux operating system developers don’t want to get into hot water distributing proprietary DVD playback codecs. If you plan to get one of the USB DVD drives from this list and intend to use it for movie playback, please follow the instructions below to get playback working.

If your Linux distribution isn’t covered in the list, but you still want DVD playback, do yourself a favor and install the VLC media player. Even with DVD playback shut off, it will decode most DVDs and play them back on any Linux system! For information on how to get the latest VLC media player on Linux, check out this guide!

Best USB DVD Drives forLinux

There are many USB DVD drives available on the market to choose from. So many that it’s enough to make the average person overwhelmed with choices.

To help you make an informed purchase, we’ve carefully selected USB DVD drives that are confirmed to play well with mainstream Linux operating systems. 

1. Rioddas External USB 3.0 Portable CD/DVD +/-RW Drive

The Rioddas External USB DVD drive works excellent with the Linux platform, as it supports “plug-n-play.” So, there is no need to install drivers on your Linux PC before attempting to use it. Just connect it and go!

Feature-wise, the Rioddas External USB DVD has a lot to offer. It supports both CD and DVD writing capabilities with speeds up to 24X, has a prominent eject button so you won’t have to worry about getting discs stuck in the drive, has non-slip rubber pads on the bottom, and is backward compatible with USB 1.0 and 2.0.

Rioddas External USB DVD drive is an excellent choice for Linux users. Especially those looking to access old optical media on Linux as well as create new CDs or DVDs. 

Pros

  • Is backward compatible with older USB ports.
  • It can burn at speeds of up to 24X.
  • Has anti-slip pads on the bottom of the device to discourage disc skipping.
  • Works on Linux without any need for drivers.
  • It has a prominent eject button, so users don’t have to fight to open the disc tray.

Cons

  • The drive USB cable might be too short for some users’ liking.

2. ROOFULL External CD/DVD Drive

The ROOFULL External CD/DVD Drive is another excellent external USB CD/DVD drive for Linux users to use, as it is “plug-n-play” and does not require drivers to use the device on most Linux operating systems. 

The ROOFULL drive has many exciting features such as the eject button, anti-slip feet, burning speeds up to 24X, and the ability to read/write CDs/DVDs.

However, out of all of the features it offers, the one that stands out is USB-C support. So, if your Linux PC primarily uses USB type-C, this may be the drive to go with.

Pros

  • Works on Linux with USB plug-n-play and no drivers required and is backward compatible with older ports.
  • It can burn at speeds of up to 24X.
  • Supports USB-C right on the drive cable. No need to get a separate adapter.
  • Comes with a carrying case.
  • Has a laptop-style eject button.

Cons

  • USB cable is a bit short, and some users might prefer a longer cable.
  • The carrying case is a bit cheap.

3. Amicool External CD/DVD Drive

The Amicool External CD/DVD Drive, like many of the drives covered on this list, is a “plug-n-play” device. Meaning, all you need to do to use it is plug it into a USB port. However, what makes it unique is that it has “intelligent burning” technology, allowing users to interrupt burning and resume it at will.

Aside from the intelligent burning technology included in the drive, it also has other useful features. Features such as backward compatibility with older USB ports, has anti-slip pads, burning support for CD/DVDs at up to 24X, an easy-to-press eject button, and more.

Pros

  • Works on the Linux platform via “plug-n-play.”
  • It can burn at speeds of up to 24X.
  • Intelligent burning technology allows users to resume burning if interrupted.
  • Supports USB-C via an included dongle that attaches to the cord.
  • Is compatible with older USB ports (1.0 and 2.0).

Cons

  • The cord is relatively short, and USB-C support isn’t built onto the cable but requires a dongle.

4. HAIWAY External CD DVD Drive

The last item on our list of external USB DVD drives that work with Linux is the HAIWAY External CD DVD Drive. Like all other drives on this list, it is “plug-n-play” and will work on the majority of Linux systems with no need to install drivers. It also supports burning both CD/DVD at a max speed of 24X.

In terms of features, the HAIWAY External CD DVD Drive supports both USB 3.0 and older 2.0 and 1.0 ports. It has a prominent eject button and anti-slip pads on the bottom. It also promises a data transmission rate of 5 Gbps, which could be useful when moving old data from optical media to modern equipment.

Pros

  • Support on Linux with no drivers thanks to “plug-n-play.” 
  • The device has anti-slip pads and a prominent eject button for easy ejecting.
  • The device supports data transmission of up to 5 Gbps.
  • It can burn at speeds of up to 24X.
  • Backward compatible with older USB ports like USB 2.0 and 1.0.

Cons

  • USB cable is very short.

Conclusion

In this list, we went over 4 USB DVD drives that work well on the Linux platform. If you had issues finding a good USB DVD drive on Linux, hopefully, this list helped, and you now know what drive to get that will play well with your Linux PC!

The post 4 Best USB DVD Drives for Linux Users in 2021 (Buying Guide) appeared first on AddictiveTips.

6 Best Sound Cards for an Improved Audio Experience (Reviews)

Looking to enhance your computer’s sound capabilities? Or you simply need your console to deliver immersive audio devoid of background noise and interference? Then you should invest in a sound card. Although most computers have native sound cards built into their motherboards, they are often of subpar quality.

In this article, we list six (6) top-quality sound cards that can help elevate your PC or console audio experience. They boast of impressive features and support a variety of devices and operating systems (Mac, Windows, PS4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, etc.). Check them out and pick one that aligns with your needs and budget. You should also check out the buying guide section of this article. There, we talk about some important things to look out for while shopping for sound cards.

Best Sound Cards on the Market

If you are in a quandary and find it hard to make a decision on what are the best sound cards to choose, the guide should help you out.

1. EVGA Nu Audio Card

The EVGA NU is an internal sound card that attaches to your Windows 10 (the only supported OS) PC motherboard. The installation of this device is just as straightforward as its usage. Simply plug it to a PCIe slot and you’re good to go.

For the best experience, you’d need the sound card’s driver and software installed on your PC. The NU Audio Software offers the basic customization options for adjusting (mic and headphone) volume, frequency range, RGB lighting, and switching EQ profiles.

Banking on the XMOS xCORE-200 processor, the EVGA NU sound card is able to deliver impressive features like smart volume (this prevents volume fluctuation), ambient noise suppression, and an immersive surround sound experience. There’s no 7.1 surround sound support but the 5.1 channel delivers high-quality audio production for gaming, recording, etc.

Price and Availability

The EVGA NU sound card is a decently-priced product, considering the features it brings to the table. It is available on Amazon for $199 (see offers on Amazon).

Best sound cards

Other Key Features

  • Audio Processor: XMOS xCORE-200
  • Audio Resolution: 24-Bit/192 kHz (Optical) | 24-Bit/192 kHz (Stereo).
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 123 dB
  • Supported Platform: Windows 10 (64-bit).
  • Connectivity: Stereo Out (RCA L/R), Headphone-out (6.3mm), 3.5mm Line-In port, 3.5mm Microphone jack, TOSLINK optical out.

Pros

  • 10-mode RGB lighting improves room ambiance.
  • Intuitive and easy-to-use software.
  • Great audio quality.

Cons

  • Lacks 7.1 channel.

2. HyperX Amp USB Sound Card

Needing a portable and affordable external sound card (not more than $30) for basic PC and console gaming, you should definitely check out this one from HyperX.

Fundamentally, it is a compact audio control center built to conveniently enhance your device’s integrated audio output. Simply plug the device to your computer or PS4’s USB port and enjoy on-the-fly 7.1 surround sound with zero configurations. HyperX also threw Noise Cancellation support in the mix.

There’s a clip on the flip side of the control center. This lets you clip the sound card to your cloth or table during gaming, preventing unwanted headphone movement.

What’s more? In your computer’s sound menu, you can alternate between two modes: HyperX Amp Chat and HyperX Amp Game. The latter provides enhanced audio experience during gaming while the former is best for recording, audio/video conferencing, and other activities alike.

Another nifty ergonomic addition is the control buttons center buttons. There’s a conspicuous surround sound button (labeled “7.1”) at the center and dedicated volume control buttons for microphone and headphone control. A microphone mute button also sits neatly on the side.

The middle button is backlit; turns red when surround sound is enabled. We’d have loved if other buttons were backlit, too. Adjusting volume in the dark could be an issue if you aren’t accustomed to the button placement.

The long braided cable is durable and adds a nice touch of convenience, especially if your console is far away from your couch or gaming chair.

Price and Availability

For $29.99 (see offers on Amazon), this is one of the best sound cards you can get in the under $30 price bracket. Users have lauded the audio enhancement capabilities of this product. And considering HyperX’s reputation as a top manufacturer of gaming accessories, this is definitely a sound card worth buying.

Other Key Features

  • Supports PC, PS4, and PS4 Pro.
  • Virtual 7.1 surround sound.
  • 2M/6.5 feet cable length.
  • 1.97 ounces.

Pros

  • Long cable.
  • Dedicated mic mute button.
  • Surround sound provides an incredible level of immersive audio experience.
  • Supports noise cancellation.

Cons

  • Doesn’t support Xbox.
  • Volume & Mic controls not backlit.

3. Sound Blaster Z PCIe

Best Sound Cards

There are quite a number of boxes that a really good sound card must tick. This sound card from Sound Blaster ticks them all. There’s a slew of connectivity options, a powerful audio processor, and a noise cancellation microphone. Be it for gaming, audio recording, or voice/video conferencing, expect the Sound Blaster Z PCIe to deliver on all fronts.

Using an SBX Pro Studio Sound technology, this sound card is able to deliver outstanding 3D surround sound to connected audio devices — headphones, speakers, etc.

The dual beamforming microphone also adds to its brilliance. The mic —powered by Sound Blaster’s CrystalVoice technology— is equipped to eliminate ambient noise and eliminate echoes while picking up voice from a virtual acoustic zone. Doesn’t matter if you’re close or far away from the microphone during multiplayer game chat or audio recording, the sound card ensures voices are picked up with utmost clarity.

The core component of this sound card is the Sound Core3D processor. It comprises four individual cores that jointly consolidate the effects of other components to produce high-fidelity audio. There’s an accompanying Creative Software Suite that lets you customize audio EQ, switch audio output modes, and choose your preferred audio encoding technology (Dolby Digital Live or DTS Connect).

Price and Availability

A new unit of the Sound Blaster Z PCIe ships with the sound card, a beamforming microphone, instruction manual, and an installation disk. The CD contains the sound card’s drivers (for Windows), setup file for the Creative Software suite, and an electronic user’s guide. You get all these for $89.99 only (see offers on Amazon).

Best Sound Cards

Other Key Features

  • Audio Processor: Sound Core3D
  • Audio Resolution: 24-Bit/96 kHz
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 116 dB
  • Shielding: EMI
  • Supported Platform: Windows.
  • Connectivity: 1 x Amplified 3.5mm headphone jack, 3 x 3.5mm speaker jacks (F/R/C-Sub), 1 x 3.5mm microphone jack, 1 x TOSLINK optical out, 1 x TOSLINK optical in.

Pros

  • Impressive audiophile-grade sound.
  • Beamforming microphone.
  • Low noise interference rating.
  • Software has a ton of audio customization and EQ settings.

Cons

  • Lacks 7.1 virtual surround sound support.

4. Sound BlasterX G6

best sound cards

If you’ve got an extensive collection of gaming devices and don’t mind on splurging on a sound card that offers Dolby Digital decoding and 7.1 virtual surround sound, the Sound BlasterX G6 would be a perfect buy.

It’s not short on any feature needed to raise your PC or console’s sound quality, thanks to the built-in Dolby Digital and Sound Blaster’s native surround sound technology. Another major point goes to the discrete amplification of both (left and right) headphone channels to provide enhanced, lossless, and high-fidelity audio.

There’s a dedicated button on the side for activating ‘Scout Mode,’ a game-focused mode that enhances background sounds (e.g. opponent footsteps, cartridge switch sound, etc.) that you normally wouldn’t hear on your headphone or speakers. If you are big on FPS games, this hands you an edge over your opponents.

There’s an RGB backlit logo on the front which adds a nice touch to your ambient during gaming. The light is customizable (via software) and can be disabled. The volume knob also has a ring light around it. While this is also cool, there’s no option to disable or modify its color.

The software (dubbed ‘Sound Blaster Connect’) is great, easy to navigate, and offers a ton of nifty customizations like adjusting EQ presets, change sound modes, etc. There’s also a bunch of personalized audio presets for popular FPS games like Fortnite, Overwatch, COD, etc.

Price and Availability

The Sound BlasterX retails for about $120 – $150 (see offers on Amazon). It is compatible with PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch. One downside, however, is that voice chat during games isn’t supported on Xbox and Nintendo Switch.

Other Key Features

  • Audio Resolution: 32-bit/384kHz
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 130dB
  • Supported Platform: PC (Windows & Mac), PS4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch.
  • Connectivity: 1 x 3.5mm headphone jack, 1 x 3.5mm microphone jack, 1 x optical out, 1 x optical in.

Pros

  • Brilliant design and metal-like finish.
  • 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound support.
  • Impressive headphones sound quality and audio balancing.

Cons

  • Virtual sound 7.1 not supported on Nintendo Switch.

5. StarTech 7.1 USB Sound Card

There’s a lot of great sound cards out there, no doubts. Compatibility-wise, however, sound cards with Linux support are usually in short supply. If you are in the market for a sound card (below $50) with great audio decoding for your Linux computer, this one from StarTech is worth the money. You can check out other equally-affordable alternatives in this Linux Sound Card buying guide. Now let’s talk about what the StarTech USB sound card brings to the table.

First off, 7.1 virtual surround sound support will add more depth to your sound. Then there’s a plethora of connectivity options at your disposal: two microphone input sits on the side while a bunch of other 3.5mm ports are positioned on the front for easy access. You don’t get the fancy stuff (like RGB backlight) but this sound card is really functional and gets the job done. There are four buttons at the top for both microphone and volume control. These buttons are cool and really clicky but, personally, I’d prefer a knob or wheel as it’s more effortless.

The device can also be used on Windows and PS4 consoles; it lacks support for Xbox and Nintendo Switch.

Price and Availability

The StarTech 7.1 USB Sound Card wins the prize for the most affordable sound card on this list. It is available for $29 (see offers on Amazon) and ships with a USB cable, USB adapter, and a manual.

Other Key Features

  • Audio Processor: C-Media CM6206 chipset
  • Sample rates: 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 92dB
  • Supported Platform: PC (Windows & Linux) and PS4
  • Connectivity: 1 x USB-B, 1 x 3.5mm headphone jack, 1 x Line-In, 2 x 3.5mm microphone jack, 1 x S/PDIF Out, 1 x S/PDIF optical in, 4 x  Front/Back/Surround 3.5mm ports.

Pros

  • Supports Linux.
  • Dual microphone input; great for conference audio recording.
  • Flexible connectivity options.
  • Incredibly affordable.
  • 7.1 surround sound supported.

Cons

  • Lacks Xbox and Nintendo support.

6. AudioEngine D1

Best sound cards

The AudioEngine D1 boasts of an interesting combination of visually-appealing ergonomic design and a powerful (AKM AK4396 DAC) chipset that filters noise and distortion from digital audio signals received from your computer and console. This chipset joins forces with the TI OPA2134 headphone amplifier that raises low-voltage audio from the source device to high-fidelity sound waves in your headphones.

The 3.5mm headphone jack is located on the front and flanked to the left by the LED power indicator (not RGB lightning) and smooth silver volume knob.

Usage of this device follows a simple plug-and-play model; requires no driver or software installation. Hook the sound card to your PC or console via the USB-B port on the rear, plug in your headphones/speakers to the 3.5mm jack, and you are good to go.

There’s no microphone input on the Audioengine D1, which makes it a no-no for people looking to record songs, podcasts, etc. For gamers, however, this is a solid device that’ll improve your gaming audio quality.

Price and Availability

For $169 (see offers on Amazon), you get the Audioengine D1 sound-amplifying device, a 2-feet long USB cable, an instruction manual, and a microfiber storage bag. The reviews from users are great, with some buyers commending it being a better option alternative to the Sound Blaster Z PCIe soundcard.

Other Key Features

  • Audio Processor: C-Media CM6206 chipset
  • Sample rates: 32 kHz and 96 kHz
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 110 dB
  • Supported Platform: PC (Windows, Mac, & Linux) and Console (PS4, Xbox)
  • Connectivity options: 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-B input, 2 x Stereo RCA outputs, SPDIF Optical/TOSLINK Input.

Pros

  • Compact design and solid construction.
  • Requires no driver or software installation.
  • Chipset offers impressive low-noise and low-distortion audio output.
  • The microfiber storage bag is a plus.

Cons

  • No dedicated mute button.
  • Lacks surround sound support.

Choosing Your Sound Card: Buying Guide

Now that we’ve helped you narrowed down your options, let’s also talk about some vital features to look out for when choosing a sound card for your computer or console.

1. Type: Internal or External

Sound cards usually come in two types, based on installation structure. Internal sound cards have to be attached to a computer’s motherboard via the PCIe slot. External sound cards, on the other hand, can be attached to a PC, consoles, and supported devices via USB or connection interface recommended by the manufacturer. External sound cards are more convenient and easier to set up. And unlike internal sound cards, you don’t have to tear your computer apart to install them. Just plug… and use.

One other downside of internal sound cards is that they sometimes have fewer connectivity options. Likewise, they tend to pick up sound interferences from components located within your computer.

2. Platform/Device Support

What device are you buying the sound card for? Or more specifically, what device(s) do you intend to use the sound card on? Your computer? Gaming console? What OS is installed on your PC? We recommend you carefully peruse the technical specifications of a product before purchasing it. If you need a sound card for your Macbook and Xbox One, make sure the product is compatible with both devices. The more devices a sound card supports, the better.

3. Surround Sound

Sound cards with support for Surround Sound technology will deliver better audio output than those without. In the same light, a 7.1 surround sound channel will produce a more dynamic and immerse sound experience than the 5.1 surround sound channel. If you’d be using the sound card majorly for music production, podcast recording, or mixing, you could pass on surround sound-compatible sound cards. It’s nice to have it, though. For gaming, movie streaming, or other entertainment-related activities, get a sound card with surround sound support. You’d thank us for it.

4. Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR)

This describes the quantitative relationship between the sound signal emitted by the sound card versus background noise that passes through. Signal to Noise ratio is measured in decibels (dB) and it is recommended that you purchase sound cards with SNR of 100 dB or higher. For context, if a sound card’s SNR is rated 120 dB, it simply means the product’s audio/sound is 120 times higher than the level of background noise or interference from your hardware.

5. Connectivity Options

Fancy design and portability are great. However, having multiple and flexible connectivity options is of greater importance. For multi-person recording, find a sound card with at least two (2) microphone ports — see the StarTech 7.1 USB Sound Card. Likewise, multiple audio outputs let you simultaneously connect multiple speakers or headphones to the sound card. TOSLINK jacks and RCA ports are also important if you’d be connecting external speakers or other audio equipment.

6. Software Support

Sound cards with companion software have comparative advantages over those without one. Sound cards’ complementary software allows for easy control, efficient customization, and personalization. You can easily choose and switch between preset modes, changed RGB lights, adjust equalizer settings, etc.

Conclusion

Sound cards are generally a nice thing to have. If your device’s sound production quality is good, a sound card can make it better. Be it for gaming, audio recording, or entertainment, the sound cards in this guide will heighten your listening experience to a whole new dimension. They are relatively affordable (price ranging from $30 — $150) and you don’t have to break the bank to get one. Drop a comment below if you’ve got any questions or suggestions. We’d be more than happy to take them.

The post 6 Best Sound Cards for an Improved Audio Experience (Reviews) appeared first on AddictiveTips.