Tim and Scott
PC Checkups / Support – $Priceless, Yourself
After the holiday festivities, it is inevitable that your loved ones turn to the family tech support to ask for help with their technology. One of the best gifts you can give as a tech savvy friend or family member is making sure your loved ones do not get ripped off by tech support businesses overcharging or even getting scammed by people merely claiming to be support. As the holidays wind down, offer to take a look at their computers and give them a good once over to clean them up and back to running like new. Also, please take a moment to educate them about tech support scams and that they should never call phone numbers on website pop ups! For distant relatives, software like Remote Utilities is awesome for remote support, and it's free!
Sapphire RX 480 Nitro+ Graphics Card – $263, Amazon
If the person you are shopping for is a PC gamer and they are running an older system, a graphics card upgrade can keep them in the game for awhile longer, perhaps while they wait to see how Zen vs Kaby/Cannon Lake shakes out. AMD's Polaris-based graphics cards are good midrange options that will likely use less power and be faster than their current card while also opening up new feature support such as DirectX 12, asynchronous compute, Vulkan, variable clockspeeds (boost/turbo clocks), and newer display standards.
Personally, the Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480 looks to be a good option that has a good design and is one of the fastest factory overclocked RX 480 GPUs. For the PC gamer in your life that is not interested or does not have the time to overclock and dial in the fastest speeds manually, this is a good 'install and get back to gaming' option. If they do like overclocking, cards from EVGA, Zotac, MSI, and others with their respective custom coolers and power phases might be a bit cheaper but should have similar overclocking potential so long as you don't completely fail on the silicon lottery.
Make Something – Price Varies
Image Credit: Bob Ross Inc.
As a kid, you have probably given an arts and crafts project to a friend or family member as a gift. While the bar is set significantly higher for an adult, some of our readers are artists and illustrators. If you have time and talent, then consider making a print, a scrapbook, or even a video for a loved one. Particularly for illustrations, many photo centers have same-day or next-day printing, including on canvases and posters. Apart from your time, they’re not that expensive, either.
Since I need to provide a link of some sort, I'll do Walmart USA. They do same-day on several items, including canvas, board, poster, books, calendars, and banners. I'm guessing you will get better quality from a local small business, though. If you're a professional, then you might know someone (or even have a printer of your own). That said, Walmart isn't bad. It's probably good enough.
A Computer Chair – $50 to $$$$, Amazon
This one can be a relatively personal and expensive gift, but, going along with the ottoman theme from last year, personal comfort is appreciated. There are many types of chairs, depending on whether the recipient prefers mesh, lounge, racer, and so forth, but you might be able to provide a good recommendation. Do note that some chairs may not arrive until after the holidays, though, so make sure that it will ship with enough time… or just make plans to get one on Boxing Week.
Ergonomic Mesh Chair – Amazon $49.99 (Regular $99.99)
Logitech Mechanical Keyboards – $109.99 to $121.99, Amazon
On Black Friday, I purchased a new mouse and keyboard set. While current prices are not quite the 50% off that I paid, there are still some decent discounts in play on all three models. Personally, I would lean toward one of the Orion Spectrums, either of the G810 Orion Spectrum or G910 Orion Spectrum, over the G910 Orion Spark, due to its odd keycaps. While I haven’t used them personally, from what I’ve seen and heard, it seems like a preference that you cannot really predict whether someone else will enjoy it. There exists a market, and they know who they are, but you, as the gift giver, probably will not know.
They each use the RomerG switches, which are very similar to the Cherry MX Brown. This means that they have a definite bump, to provide touch feedback of when the activation occurs so you don't need to bottom-out the keys, but no click. They're fairly quiet, too.