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Battlefield 3 has finally been released, bringing a first-class shooting experience back to PC games. While consoles have received the game as well, for PC gamers it was a particularly notable release, as the game offers beautiful graphics, smooth mouse support, and dedicated servers.
As with any new game, however, you might find that your experience is hampered by a lack of proper hardware. Let’s have a look at ways to upgrade your hardware and improve your Battlefield experience.
Install A New Video Card
Battlefield 3 is one of the most graphically demanding games to recently come out for the PC. The recommended requirements are steep, and if you have a video card that’s a few years old, you may not be able to play the game with many details turned on.
Video cards have a reputation for being extremely expensive, but they’re actually not so bad. The recommended system requirements for Battlefield 3 ask for an Nvidia GTX 560 or an ATI Radeon 6950. These are actually reasonably affordable options. The GTX 560 is the cheaper of the two, and starts at $190 compared to the ATI Radeon 6950’s $239. With that said, you actually should be just fine with the cheaper Radeon HD 6870.
Note that this doesn’t mean you will be able to play at the highest resolutions with detail at ultra, but if you simply want to play at 1080p or below and medium to high detail, these choices will be more than adequate.
Buy A Gaming Mouse
Games like Battlefield 3 rely on quick reflexes and precision. If you want to win, you need to be able to quickly target and fire on enemies. That’s what the game is all about.
Grabbing a laser gaming mouse can greatly improve your experience. For gamers on a budget, the Razer DeathAdder is a good choice. It’s available in both left and right-handed editions, and offers excellent accuracy for under $50. Those willing to spend about $15 to $20 more should go for the Logitech G500, which offers not only an accurate sensor but also programmable buttons, adjustable weights, and an on-the-fly precision adjustment.
There are a lot of great gaming mice available, so you may decide to go another route. Whatever you choose, make sure it uses laser technology and that it is wired. Wireless mice sometimes fall victim to frustrating hiccups and input lag.
Install A Sound Card Or Upgrade Your Sound System
Most of today’s computers do not come with sound cards. Instead, they use integrated motherboard sound. This is perfectly adequate in most situations, but as has been shown by The Tech Report, sound cards do make a difference even today.
You don’t need to spend much. A simple ASUS Xonar DG card, priced at $30, is all most users will ever need.
There is a catch to this, and that’s the speakers and/or headphones you use. If they’re terrible, then you won’t receive much benefit from a sound card, in which case you should spend money on your cans instead. A set of over-the-ear headphones will provide the most immersive experience. Gaming headsets like the Razer ORCA are not a bad deal, but you don’t have to purchase a gaming headset. A nice pair of normal headphones like the Grado SR-60i or Sennheiser HD-280 Pro can work as well.
Upgrade Your Network Equipment
If you’re gaming wirelessly, and you’re not using the 802.11n standard, you should absolutely upgrade. Personally, I always game via a wired Ethernet connection whenever possible, but if you can’t do that, 802.11n is almost as good.
To use 802.11n you’ll need both a router and an adapter. Adapter selection will depend on your needs. Some users prefer a tiny USB adapter, while other users don’t mind if an antenna sticks out. If you have a desktop, you may opt for an internal PCI card.
The router doesn’t need to be fancy. While various company’s offer dedicated “gaming routers” their actual benefit is usually questionable. The simple Linksys E1000, which is $49.99, is a fine starting point.
Gamers with a desktop PC looking to squeeze every last drop of performance should consider the Bigfoot Killer 2100. This gaming-oriented network adapter is built to prioritize game traffic and reduce ping times. Surprisingly (and unlike some earlier Bigfoot Killer adapters) it actually works, though the difference isn’t always large enough to be noticeable. Only hardcore twitch gamers need apply.
These hardware upgrades may be expensive, but they’ll help you obtain the most out of Battlefield 3. Besides, it’s not as if they will only be of use with this one game. A nice new pair of headphones will make music more pleasurable, while a new video card will improve the quality of all your games.
Do you have a recommendation that you think should be listed? Feel free to let us know what it is in the comments, as well as explain why it’s perfect for Battlefield 3.
Image Credit: Maximum PC