People often ask what hardware and software I use, so I’ll keep this page up-to-date as I make system and peripheral upgrades.
- 2020/03/28: updated per my new laptop and wrist pad
- 2018/03/21: switched to Cyberlink PowerDirector 16 for video editing and production
- 2016/03/06: replaced my ailing Logitech M110 non-gaming mouse with an Etekcity Scroll X1 Gaming Mouse
- 2015/01/28: got a new gaming laptop, the kick-ass Sager NP8268-S
- 2014/07/20: switched from my laptop built-in keyboard to a CM Storm QuickFire Rapid – Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with Cherry MX Red Switches
- 2012/09/15: upgraded from a traditional hard drive to Crucial m4 Solid State Drive. Simply put, this was a monster upgrade. With the SSD, I don’t get the random FPS dips in performance due to hard drive grinding. Now that I’ve gone SSD I won’t go back. The improved performance justifies the high cost
- 2012/08/15: upgraded to a Razer Carcharias Gaming Headset
Sager NP8957-S Gaming Laptop
I got this laptop in December 2019, and it’s the best laptop I’ve ever owned or used by a mile. The price was $1649 USD (free shipping, excluding tax) with the following specs:
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 MAX-Q 8GB GDDR6
- 9th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-9750H Processor
- 16G DDR4 SDRAM at 2666MHz
- 500GB Western Digital Blue SN500 M.2 NVMe SSD – as an OS Drive (Primary Drive C:) and for installing games
- 2TB FIRECUDA 7mm SSHD
- 15.6″ Full HD Display (1920 x 1080)
- MS Windows® 10 Pro 64-Bit Edition
This is my third Sager laptop and I recommend Sager to anyone looking for a robust, well-designed (great heat ventilation) gaming laptop at very competitive prices. Sager laptops come free of bloatware, which is another plus.
It’s worth paying for an SSD, so that you can install games on it. The performance in terms of loading times is vastly improved compared to a traditional hard drive.
- CM Storm QuickFire Rapid – Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with Cherry MX Red Switches
- Razer Carcharias Gaming Headset
- Etekcity Scroll X1 Gaming Mouse
- X-Bows TKL Keyboard Wrist Rest
The reasons I adopted a mechanical keyboard were the improved feel, responsiveness, and accuracy when gaming and to reduce EMF exposure. After hands-on testing with Cherry MX Red and Brown switches, I found that the Brown switches didn’t live up to the hype and stuck with Red switches.
For a long time, for gaming and streaming I used the affordable Plantronics Multimedia Stereo Headset (Audio 350), because it was comfortable on my head and ears and worked fine. I upgraded to the Razer Carcharias headset and while it wasn’t cheap (~$75 USD), the Carcharias is incredibly comfortable and worth the money. The Carcharias is not a wireless headset, which I prefer as I don’t like having to deal with dead batteries.
I purchased a well-rated (4.5 stars, 1300+ reviews) gaming mouse, the Etekcity Scroll X1, that was on sale for $15 USD because my non-gaming mouse was breaking down. That said, I don’t need a gaming mouse or keypad peripherals per my Guide on Strafing and Keybinding – make sure you aren’t relying on a gaming mouse or keypad when your underlying keybinds don’t make sense!
The X-Bows TKL wrist rest is awesome. It’s the correct length and height to pair with my QuickFire Rapid TKL keyboard, and as it’s silicone it’s super easy to clean.
I use an Asus VS247H-P 24″ HD monitor as the display device for online games. I purchased the monitor in Q1 2012, as it was the combination of highest-rated and reasonably-priced 1080p HD monitor that I could find. I love it.
The monitor was purchased with a generous donation from Troy “Cannibaal”. Thanks man, I really appreciate all the support – financial and non-financial, that you’ve given to me. <3
This is going to sound obvious, but if you want to record footage in 1080p, you need a 1080p monitor to play on. Prior to obtaining this monitor, I was only about to record footage in 1600×900, which is between 720p and 1080p, which is why until recently my videos were 720p on YouTube. Now they’re 1080p, as they should be.
Game Footage Recording, Narration, and Editing
I capture game footage with Nvidia’s Share software (formerly known as ShadowPlay), because it records in MP4 format. For many years I recorded with FRAPS, which is a good program and worth paying the license fee (~$37 USD) if you don’t have an option such as Nvidia Share. The downside with FRAPS is that it records in AVI format, so the video files are huge, whereas Share’s MP4 format is efficient in terms of disk space. I recommend recording at a constant bit rate with Share instead of variable bit rate, as some video editing programs do not handle variable bit rate correctly.
I used to edit game footage with Adobe Premiere Elements 10, which provides robust editing capability and a not-too-steep learning curve at an affordable price. Issues with APE are that it runs slowly, its projects eat up a lot of disk space, it renders videos slowly, and it doesn’t handle variable bit rate input videos correctly – the video and audio get out-of-sync during playback.
In 2018, I switched to Cyberlink PowerDirector 16, and it’s far superior to Adobe Premiere Elements in several notable ways: PowerDirector loads and run much faster as an application, its projects take up less disk space, it renders videos much faster, and it handles variable bit rate input footage properly. My impression is that Cyberlink is investing more in PowerDirector’s product development than Adobe is for Adobe Premiere Elements. I highly recommend PowerDirector, it’s a great product and well worth buying.
When rendering videos, I use H.264 format to produce MP4 files with 1080p (1920 x 1080 resolution) and 60 fps.
For recording narration, I use a Blue Snowball microphone (~$65 USD) with a Shure pop filter (~$35 USD). A pop filter improves recording quality by reducing consonants that have popping sounds such as words that start with “p” or “b”. If you’re going to bother getting a good mic, you should invest in a pop filter as well.
Webcam Recording and Streaming Hardware
In July 2012, I purchased a Logitech 1080p C920 webcam for $80 USD, and the webcam rocks. It comes with software for recording for the webcam that is super easy to use. Before that I was using the Logitech 720p C310 webcam, but the footage it recorded in 720p looked grainy. If you can afford it, the C920 is the way to go.
For hosting on GAMEBREAKER shows, I use a high-quality condenser microphone, the Samson SE10 earset condenser microphone (~$100 USD). It may be overkill for what you’re doing, but Gary Gannon raves about it, because it’s a professional microphone in audio quality and appearance. Some people use their Snowball microphone or equivalent for hosting. For some reason I can’t get the Samson SE10 to work well with narrated recordings with Adobe Premiere Elements 10, and I haven’t bothered to sort it out.