What gift do you get this holiday season for the computer builder in your life?
Well, first of all, probably not computer parts! Unless they’ve asked for a specific component, there’s a good chance you’d be giving them something redundant or unwanted.
But don’t worry! There are still plenty of things that the average PC builder could receive that are almost never redundant (like additional storage space) or which a builder is unlikely to have bought for themselves (like an uninterruptible power supply). Good gift ideas for PC building enthusiasts are what this list is all about.
The following 10 gifts ideas cover a spectrum of prices, and are sure to find use on or near the desk of any friend or family member who’s into building computers. Of course, suggestions you get directly from the intended recipient should always be prioritized; but if you haven’t received any guidance from them, these ideas will surely come in handy. Let’s begin!
Tier 1 Gifts ($1-50)
The first tier of gifts is the lowest in price and has the most examples. These gifts will find use by both novice and experienced builders alike.
#1 – Headphone Stand ($9)
A straightforward gift that is enough of an unnecessary nicety that most computer builders won’t already have one. Yet it’s useful enough to be used everyday, while being cheap enough to choose as a budget gift or to throw in as a stocking stuffer. By simply offering a place to safely store headphones, this gift clears up desktop space and provides a cleaner appearance overall.
*Headphones, of course, not included! Unless you also buy gift #9…
#2 – Multiport Power Strip Surge Protector ($22)
Despite their solid metal construction and aggressive, angular designs, computers are soft and temperamental on the inside, particularly regarding electricity. It’s important to ensure that any unexpected changes in the power supplying a PC are controlled by an external device so no expensive components are damaged or destroyed. A surge protector like this one from reliable power accessory brand Anker will prevent unexpected pulses of electricity from damaging computer components while also expanding the number of power ports near the PC, all for only $22! Help the computer builder in your life replace the little ratty power strip they’ve been using since 2014; it’s time for it to go.
#3 – All-in-one Univeral Wireless Charging Pad ($30)
Another gift idea from Anker is their all-in-one wireless charging pad. Having a wireless charger on my own desk has been incredibly convenient and keeps my phone charged up while working from home for evenings, where I don’t have access to another charger. Many high-wattage charging pads require special power adapters to maximize their charging potential, but they often aren’t included with the pad itself. This universal charging pad includes a full adapter built in for no-fuss universal charging straight out of the box. Whether they have an Android or an iPhone, they’ll appreciate having such a convenient location to charge their phone!
#4 – Essential Electronics Toolkit ($30)
Working on computers doesn’t inherently require much more than a screwdriver and some resolve, but having this iFixit essential electronics toolkit would have made my days repairing laptops, computers, and smartphones significantly easier. Including both essential tools like various magnetic screwdriver bits and plastic separators, this kit also includes a variety of useful specialty bits for unique parts and electronics, as well as a couple cleaning tools that are sure to find use in any computer builder’s tool box. As I indicated a moment ago, these tools can also be used to repair laptops and smartphones—provided all appropriate safety and warranty measures are followed, of course!
Tier 2 Gifts ($51-100)
This second tier steps up the price range and has two examples. They remain general enough to find use no matter the experience level of the recipient, while some of the next section is a bit more niche.
#5 – Bluetooth Desk Speakers ($50)
For many computer builders, their audio experience ends with a headphone cable. Speakers alternatively provide a more relaxed listening experience without the headgear, even at volumes low enough to avoid disturbing house- or room-mates. This speaker pair from Edifer features 2.75 inch drivers and a compact design that doesn’t dominate valuable desk space. They can even be placed anywhere thanks to their Bluetooth connectivity, whether that’s a desktop, a bookshelf, or a TV stand. Or they can be connected to a laptop instead, and used as a mobile pair of speakers for parties, elegant dinner events, and various other soirées.
#6 – 2TB External Hard Drive ($70)
External hard drives can store large amounts of data and can be transported anywhere, making them great gifts for computer-savvy travelers that like to watch media on the go. They can load the drive with shows and movies and bring it with them for direct playback on a laptop or tablet, keep it at home and stream directly from it over another service like Plex, or simply use it as a backup for their important data. This Western Digital My Passport drive is a reliable option with plenty of storage for most applications, but it would also be possible to scale this gift up or down according to your gift budget and how much storage you think your gift recipient could use! A lower-capacity 1TB version can be had for $50, or you can spring for up to a 5TB version for $120 if you happen to know a real data hoarder. For reference, to make more sense of what 1TB can hold, it is capable of storing ~158 copies of a 1080p version of the movie Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior. That’s a terrible movie—but what they do with the drive is up to them, so we won’t judge. If the intended gift recipient really loves collecting media or really prizes backing up their work, it may be best to spring for 2TB or greater.
Tier 3 Gifts ($101-150)
This third tier of gifts has three examples at a higher price range than tier 2: a DAC/Amp to boost audio experiences, a more premium storage solution, and a nice pair of headphones at a great price!
A Digital-to-Analog Converter, shortened to DAC, is a device that translates a computer’s audio output from digital to analogue, which increases the fidelity of the signal. This gift is a great idea for those with a particular interest in music or even movies and games, as it can increase the quality of computer audio dramatically while the included amplifier permits more powerful higher-impedance headphones to be used. Even “standard” headphones will see a benefit from this compact DAC that requires nothing outside of the box before use. If you’re okay with the gift being less than a surprise, then it may be worth checking if the recipient has a DAC already before buying… though that rule applies to pretty much any gift in this price range and above!
#8 – 2TB M.2 Solid State Drive ($130)
Most computer motherboards now have at least one M.2 SSD slot on them, and the Samsung 980 PRO EVO is a great drive that fits perfectly into that very space. Solid State Drives still command higher prices than traditional hard drives for a given capacity, but their significantly faster transfer speeds and slightly better longevity for most users ensure that any data loaded on the drive can be accessed quickly and reliably. This high-capacity SSD can store dozens of large games while also cutting down on loading times, or an entire library of movies and TV shows. No matter the intended use, this drive would be a welcome gift for any level of computer enthusiast with a port in their machine that can accommodate it. Looking to spend a little less but still want to get them a high-speed internal drive like this one? Select the 1TB option to bring it down to $80!
#9 – Over-the-ear Open-back Audiophile Headphones ($150)
Alright, call me a little biased on this one since these are the headphones I currently use myself, but that just means I’m speaking from experience when I recommend these to anyone who may enjoy a nice set of wired, open-back headphones for their desktop at home. For the current price of $150, this luxurious set is a steal and has far surpassed the audio quality of every other pair of headphones I’ve tried in this price range (even without a DAC). They’re lightweight, comfortable, and have a great sound profile for a huge range of uses, from gaming to watching media to listening to music.
Tier 4 Gift ($151+)
This is the final, most expensive tier of the list. It includes but a single gift, for those who can afford to provide extra stability to a desktop computer this holiday season:
#10 – 600-Watt Uninterruptible Power Supply ($165)
An Uninterruptible Power Supply, shortened to UPS, is a power storage system which continues powering a PC for a limited time in the event of a power outage. The idea is that the power supplied by a UPS is enough to safely shut the computer down in the event of an outage, preventing both data loss and component damage in the process. This particular power supply from CyberPower features 12 outlets, half of them linked to the battery system, and all of them surge-protected at all times. This $165 model is capable of putting out 600 Watts of power, which is enough for most computers, but a few ultra-powerful builds may require the 880-Watt version for $200.
And that concludes our list! As always, these ideas are just suggestions and can be tailored to suit the needs of the recipient, such as tweaking the max output of the UPS or the capacity of the SSD, or as ideas for similar gifts. Have another idea for a gift that a computer builder would probably enjoy? Let us know what it is in the comments!
Thanks for reading!