CyberPowerPC’s Steve Mason’s gaming update

PCR speaks with American personal computer retailer, CyberPowerPC’s, General Manager, Steve Mason about what’s hot and other whatnots of the gaming world.

Here’s what Steve Mason had to say.

What would you say are the latest gaming trends?
Communities, and community building, have exploded in the last couple of years, no doubt as a natural consequence of lockdown. Platforms like Discord were quirky a few years ago, now they’re almost a required aspect of gaming. Gamers want to both play their games and stream to their friends, or their following should they have one, at the same time. Whether it’s a friendly(ish) game on Warzone, a light-hearted giggle-fest on Fall Guys, continuing a heroic quest in Neverwinter, or simply one person dying a lot in Elden Ring whilst being watched by their mates, the ability to share gaming sessions is more prevalent than ever. Even an old gamer like myself, playing text-based turn-based war games based in Middle Earth is in on the act!

What are the coolest accessories that you can get your hands on?
Well I’m biased but I like RGB. Where once it was limited to fans of single colours, now the entire setup can incorporate it. Fans have more colour than ever, keyboards have more colour options than my first television, monitors can project lighting behind them to make everything more immersive, desks have lighting abilities now, chairs as well. Everything you can think of, and then there are products like Nanoleaf which take the options to another level if you’re of a mind. And this is before you link up your lighting to your games to change colour based on what’s happening. Headsets have so much more sound quality now, so the level of immersion is only getting deeper and deeper.

What top tips can you offer for buying a PC?
If you’re an enthusiast and you know the technology, the latest product releases, the brands etc., then chances are you know what you want from a PC. In that scenario it’s about budget. With everything going on in the UK right now regarding costs of living, knowing your budget and sticking to it are vital. If you’re fortunate enough to be unaffected then go wild!

If you’re not an enthusiast, perhaps a parent buying a gift for their child(ren) or someone looking to get into PC gaming for the first time, it’s important to understand not all gaming PCs are equal. Talk to people (like us), ask questions, make sure you’re not buying too much PC for your needs. Check online reviews, make sure you’re covered by a solid warranty, and stick to your budget.

What’s currently the best option for a gamer, streamer or a content creator?
From a raw technology perspective, at the time of answering this the top options would be the new Nvidia RTX 4090 graphics card combined with either a top AMD Ryzen 7000-series CPU, or a top Intel 13th Gen CPU. Combine these with some NVMe storage and the sheer performance available is frightening; it will cope with anything you throw at it, be it gaming or content creation.

If you’re streaming as well, it’s hard to look past streaming equipment from Elgato, they are the market leaders.

If you’re creating content and actively using your machine to make money for you, depending on the level you’re at, you may want to consider Nvidia Studio options where drivers are optimised more for content creation than for gaming.

What PC components are most in demand?
The most exciting time for us is always when new generations of technology are released. As I type this we’ve seen the release of Intel’s 13th Gen CPUs, AMD’s Ryzen 7000-series GPUs, and Nvidia’s RTX 4090 with the RTX 4080 announced for November. AMD also have exciting new GPU technology arriving very soon. Whenever these new generations appear, demand booms. The leap in performance between iterations is usually worth the wait, worth the hype.

What’s also more in demand now more than ever before is faster storage. We’ve swiftly gone from talking about storage speed in terms of megabits to gigabits per second. With technology like Microsoft’s Direct Storage looking to make the most of faster storage in the future the demand for more speed is only going to increase.

Who is making the most noise in the gaming world right now and why?
In terms of gamers themselves, from what I see online and on social media, I’d have to say women and girl gamers. It’s terrific to see. In the last few years I’ve seen a huge boom in female streamers, female gamers, female content creators with many actively calling out, and battling against, some of the toxicity which exists within the wider gaming community. If ever there was a community which should be (and in the overwhelming majority of cases genuinely is) inclusive, and celebrating inclusivity, it’s the gaming community. Toxicity has no place in gaming, nor anywhere else, but it’s inspiring to see gamers/creators like Julia Hardy, Sunpi, Cadaea etc. using their platforms to fight against it and promote positivity. As well as enjoying games, of course!

As a brand in the US how is business locally and globally going for you?
I can comment on how things are locally within the UK for us. 2020 and 2021 were some of the most challenging trading conditions conceivable. Demand was at levels nobody could have predicted. Product shortages, chip shortages, logistical challenges, Brexit consequences, lockdown and all it entailed, all combined to create a perfect storm of obstacles to be overcome. This we did and we’re in a much stronger position now because of it.

2022 has seen its own challenges with the economic and political carnage in the UK but business remains strong. We’re strongly managed, heavily focused on continuing to improve and providing the best customer experience possible.

How is business going in the custom build market and is this seeing greater up lift than standard build PCs?

Business is good. We sell both custom and fixed-spec systems; demand for both tends to vary depending on seasonality but in general growth is healthy for us on both sides of the fence. Custom options do have a slight edge as more customers seek to put their own stamp on their setups. What is increasing is the degree of customisation customers would like to see available to them. For example we now offer custom engraving on our systems, something new for this year after it was frequently requested, and is proving immensely popular with customers. There’s something very different about seeing systems lit up with RGB loveliness but shining through an etched image of a customer’s favourite pet, or their gamer tag, or in on instance a horrific image of Michael Myers from Halloween.

Who are your partners?

We’re fortunate to work closely with the leading brands in the market. Nvidia, AMD, Intel, Microsoft, MSI, Asus, Asrock, Corsair, Cooler Master, Seagate, Western Digital, Solidigm, Samsung, Kingston, Adata, AOC, NZXT, EPOS, Norton, InWin, Lian Li, Viewsonic, Palit, Zotac, Fractal Design… the list goes on, not to mention our OEM partners who help create Cyberpower’s branded products.

We also work closely with our retail partners such as Very, Argos, Costco, AO, Laptops Direct who all do a terrific job for us.

Gamers Beat Cancer have been a charity partner for us in 2022 for whom we hope to have raised over £10,000 by the end of the year.

What would be included in the ultimate gaming rig right now?
New technology is coming but as I type this, assuming budget wasn’t an obstacle, I’d have to say:

Nvidia RTX 4090

Intel 13th Gen i9 13900K or AMD Ryzen 9 7950X

Either a Z790 or X670E motherboard

As much DDR5 RAM as the motherboard will allow

As much Gen4 NVMe storage as you dare; a few options are now available with over 7Gbps read speeds

A dual-loop liquid cooling system for your CPU and GPU, complete with choice of coolant colours

A nice, panoramic case such as our Y60 to show off what would be an utterly insane system in the best way!

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