With a staggering 80% share of the votes, NVIDIA is once again the winner in this category. In May 2016, NVIDIA introduced the GeForce GTX 1080 (read: custom cards shootout) and GTX 1070, two screaming-fast GPUs built on its Pascal architecture. To recap, the former is faster than 2015's single-GPU champ, the GTX Titan X; and the latter is, well, basically a Titan X at less than half the price. The GeForce 10 series family has grown quite a bit since then, with additions such as the GTX 1060, GTX 1050 Ti, GTX 1050, and of course, a new crazy powerful Titan X. And let's not forget about the GeForce 10 series mobile GPUs for notebooks, which unlike previous years have specs that match closely to their desktop counterparts. For AMD, its VR-ready Polaris stack comprises of the Radeon RX 480, RX 470, and RX 460, all of which target budget-conscious gamers who still need decent performance.
With 30% of the votes, ASUS is our readers’ favorite gaming monitor brand. If you're looking for a big G-Sync-capable IPS monitor, there's the well regarded 27-inch ROG Swift PG279Q that's overclockable to 165Hz. Too big? Then consider the slightly more manageable 24-inch, full HD ROG Swift PG248Q, which also supports G-Sync and is overclockable to 180Hz. If you're going for the jugular, then it has to be the ROG Swift PG348Q, a 34-inch, 21:9 (3,440 x 1,440 pixels) curved behemoth. Samsung, which is increasingly bringing its quantum-dot tech to monitors, is second with 16% of the votes. Acer, which also has giant monitors to offer (read: 32-inch Predator XB321HK and 34-inch Predator X34), is third with 12%.
The contest for our Best Gaming Keyboard and Mouse Brand award involved more than 20 brands, but at the end of the day, the trophy went home with Razer. If you're a gamer, you'd have heard of Razer's BlackWidow series, which includes keyboards such as the BlackWidow X Chroma and the 2016 BlackWidow Ultimate. And in January this year, the company unveiled a new BlackWidow Chroma V2 that features a new switch type and detachable wrist rest. If you're shopping for a gaming mouse, 2016 saw the arrival of the entry-level Abyssus V2, which sports an ambidextrous design and a “true” 5,000 DPI optical sensor. And oh, did someone say gaming mouse mats?
With 36% of the votes, local outfit Aftershock PC is once again our readers’ favorite gaming desktop PC brand. To recap, the Ultracore is the company's flagship gaming PC. It supports a fully custom open loop liquid cooling setup, custom paint jobs, and course, you can deck it with premium gaming components, such as an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB card and an Intel Core i7-7700 CPU. You don't have to go so high end though; Aftershock's Hypergate mid tower, Tremor, and Zeal gaming rigs have all been recently updated with GeForce 10 series GPUs and Kaby Lake CPUs. Last year, the company also dipped its toes into the mini PC market with the Nano series, and worked with fiber broadband provider ViewQwest to offer a custom Boost PC for subscribers of the latter's 10Gbps Black plan.
With 25% of the votes, Alienware (a subsidiary of Dell) is the winner of this category once again. Just this past October, the company refreshed its Alienware 13, 15, and 17 gaming notebooks with - no surprise - NVIDIA's 10 series graphics chips. The new notebooks sport redesigned hinges, and up to 20% reduction in size compared to their predecessors. Additionally, they pack a Windows Hello camera for use with Windows 10, though only the bigger Alienware 15 and 17 feature a new TactX keyboard that offers N-key rollover and up to 2.2mm key travel. Followed closely behind is Aftershock PC with 22% of the votes. The local custom PC maker also updated its notebook lineups with NVIDIA Pascal GPUs last year; and earlier this year, it announced a new entry-level MX series powered by Intel Kaby Lake CPUs.
(Editor's note: Like last year, this year's Tech Awards' video games merit categories are presented in collaboration with GameAxis.com. In addition to the usual Best Gaming Console and Best Gaming Publisher awards, we've a new VR Gaming Gear award this year.)
Once again, our readers have chosen Sony as their favorite gaming console maker. To recap, there are two PlayStation 4 consoles you can get at the moment: the PlayStation 4 Slim and PlayStation 4 Pro. At its name implies, the PlayStation 4 Slim is a slimmer and more energy-efficient update of the conventional PS4. On the other hand, the still-pretty-much-out-of-stock-everywhere PlayStation 4 Pro has a higher-clocked processor, a beefier GPU, and supports 4K gaming and HDR. Anything but PS4? Well, Microsoft's Xbox One S has hit retail recently as well, and Nintendo's Switch is set to launch soon on March 3rd (but can you stomach the price?).
Maybe it's the effect of Super Mario Run for mobile (we'd like to think it's The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD for the Wii U), because our readers have this year voted Nintendo as their favorite gaming publisher. With 21% of the votes, the Japanese video game company managed to edge out last year's winner Activision Blizzard, which has gotten 18% of the votes this time round. Electronic Arts is a very close third with its 17% share.
VR gaming is still in its early stages, but our readers already have their favorite. Sony, maker of the PlayStation VR headset, is the winner of this inaugural award with 33% of the votes. In second place is Facebook-owned Oculus VR, which makes the Oculus Rift. HTC, which quietly launched its Vive headset late last year is in fourth place with 11%. Surprisingly, Samsung is third. We can only posit Galaxy phone users like what they're seeing with the new Gear VR; not to mention this is still one of the more affordable ways to get into VR.