The computer hardware industry is tough, arguably just as tough as the two industries adjacent to it – games and software. Making it in the market requires a lot of key ingredients like a loyal fan base, solid construction, reasonable pricing and fulfilling a promise to consumers to not sell them something that breaks down too soon. With so many brands clamouring for your attention, though, which ones should you be watching carefully?

High-end gaming computer

Cooler Master Storm for peripherals

Cooler Master Storm or CM Storm is a brand-within-a-brand with a range of products from computer chassis to laptop coolers and even some great mice. Cooler Master quickly became entrenched in the mind share of the market with its peripherals and so far it hasn’t disappointed. I own a Quickfire Pro mechanical keyboard myself and I’m currently eyeing the Sirius headphones because I’m sick of the crappy ones I’m using now.

More importantly, it’s a brand that’s very in tune with what gamers and power users want and relies more on build quality and performance rather than cheap frills.

SanDisk for Solid State Drives

Sandisk Extreme II SSD

Sandisk Extreme II SSD

SanDisk is a memory manufacturer and has been working with flash memory long before it became cheap and fast enough to replace your hard drive. Like a few other SSD manufacturers, SanDisk has the benefit of making its own NAND memory and controlling almost every part of its assembly line. The company also has a history of making good firmware for the Marvell controller chips that they license out and they’ve been at this game longer than most others.

Samsung for just about everything

Samsung is an industry giant that has been moving along at a blistering pace in the last three years. The company is setting records with its ARM-based Exynos processor and makes a staggering amount of hardware in its own factories. Not only SSDs, but monitor panels, system memory and even things entirely unrelated to computers – washing machines, fridges, electric tin openers and robots all feature on Samsung’s to-do list and most are built very well. If you find a set of Green RAM, grab it because it’s one of the best kits on the market.

Genius for peripherals

Genius DeathTaker gaming mouse

Genius DeathTaker gaming mouse

Genius is one of those cheap brands that’s starting to take itself seriously. Like the Korean car manufacturers who have begun upping their game and charging at marques like BMW and Mercedes, Genius has begun making better peripherals and speakers and their attention to detail, branding and functionality is making them a fast favourite with cash-strapped gamers. While they aren’t in the premium market just yet, products like the DeathTaker show that they really do mean business.

Microsoft, because it’s so big

Microsoft is the one company you’d least expect to see here, but they are transitioning to designing their own hardware. The popularity of the Surface Pro tells them that they’re moving somewhat in the right direction, but everything hinges on what direction Windows 8.1 takes them. While its true that they have enough money to bankroll multiple failures and still come out on top, the company is fast losing relevance among its core gaming customer group and the Xbox One launch will be a crucial time for them to show the world they still have what it takes.

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