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Game Developer / Programmer – 2017 Holiday Buying Guide

Storage - Samsung 960 PRO (~$150-$600)

The 960 pro is still the top performing SSD available.  But make sure your system has an available m2 slot for this special drive.

These come in a variety of sizes and the price jump goes up fast.

If you're looking for a great SSD at a slightly lower price though, go for the 960 EVO (also M.2).  The performance specs are very close and the price is about 2/3... I'm grabbing a new 1TB one for myself this holiday season.

Keyboard - Razer Black Widow Chroma V2 ($~100)

If you like tactile feedback, quick response, and awesome color customization like me, the black widow chroma 2 is a perfect fit.  The keys use Razers custom green switches, and while they feel great, it's worth noting that they are not quiet 🙂

And if you play games.. when you see the in-game support, be prepared to smile.  My favorite is in Overwatch, where the keyboard starts glowing yellow as I heal or blue when I damage boost 🙂

VR- Oculus Rift with Touch ($350-$400!)

If you read my stuff, you know that I love VR.  And while I personally prefer the HTC Vive for my big head and oddly shaped office, the Rift is just as good for 99% of people.  And it's priced perfectly for the holidays.  Keep an eye out for sales, it's planned to drop to as low as $350 this holiday season.

Update: It's live now for $350 at bestbuy (expecting amazon to pricematch) - 

Microphone - Blue Yeti (~$75-$110)

I've been using this microphone personally for about 2 years and love it.  Simply plug in the USB port and start talking.  The sound quality is great, the price is awesome (often under $100), and it looks great too (get it in just about any color).  Definitely a great choice for anyone looking to record podcasts, stream their games, or just chat with their friends online (in-fact my 15yr old just got one for his birthday after his friends kept complaining that his old mic sounded terrible).

Home Control - Google Home / Mini (~$25 / ~$90)

If you've been considering getting a digital home assistant like the echo or home, I can't reiterate how awesome they can be.  I have mine hooked up to control lights & home entertainment as well (via insteon & the logitech hub).

I also have echos in the house, and while they're a good choice as well, I've been much happier with the way google home understands what I'm asking and answers question.  (it'll search and find answers to almost anything I ask)

The Mini version just release too and will be on sale as low as $25.  I'm definitely going to pick up a few to spread around the house.

Home Control #2 - Harmony Hub + free Echo Dot (< $100)

While I love the google home, I also wanted to recommend the Harmony Hub.  It works great with both the echo & google ecosystems and can control just about any home entertainment hardware.

I have mine setup to tell google (or alexa) to turn on the TV..
The projector turns on, receiver powers up, switches to the right output, and the lights dim down.

It feels like you're in the future, and doesn't cost much at all... 
The same goes for shutdown.. no more waiting around, just tell it to shut down and everything turns off.

And of course while I wanted to recommend it, I saw that it now comes bundled with an Echo Dot for about $2 more, well worth the deal.  I'd jump on this right away.

Video Streaming - Google Chromecast (~$20)

Don't have a spare computer to hook up to your TV?  Go with a chromecast instead.  If you haven't used these, they're awesome..

You can stream straight from your phone (show your screen and share a presentation or game), or using any chromecast enabled app, the device can play video for you.  Start a youtube video, hit the chromecast button, and the chromecast takes over, your phone can turn off (or you can use it to control the video).

Sync it up with a google home to say things like "Hey Google, play my favorite youtube channel in the bedroom".  I have these on every tv in the house.. and with holiday pricing, expect to see these for around $20.

Laptop - Surface Book 2 (with GPU!) (~$$$$$)

This last recommendation is the only one I don't own personally... (though I hope to in the near future).

The surface book 2 is a huge upgrade from V1, and if you get the higher end versions, they even include a good GPU capable of running VR games.

The screen pops off to become a tablet, or you can re-connect it for more power (discrete GPU is in there), a quality keyboard, and more battery power.

I can't wait to get one myself...