Here's the hardware one world champ uses for gaming domination

This week on Hardcore Hardware, five-time world champion Counter Strike: GO player Stephanie Harvey tells us what it takes be a winner.

Ever wonder what it would feel like to jump into a boxing ring with Muhammad Ali or hit the race track against Ayrton Senna?

While I won’t ever have a chance to go up against those champs, I got to experience something a bit closer to my heart: playing a round of Counter Strike: Global Offensive against a world championship gamer: Stephanie “missharvey” Harvey.

I also got to pick Harvey’s brain about the hardware she uses and what it’s like to train at the highest level.


This iBuypower Revolt 2 is just like the ones used by team Counter Logic Gaming Red.

The hardware

Harvey plays on team Counter Logic Gaming Red and though she has several gaming machines, her official game rig is one provided by the team’s sponsor, iBuypower. It’s the Revolt 2 PC, and iBuypower was kind enough to send me a facsimile of an official team box. It felt a little bit like having GM send over a clone of a Chevrolet SS that Danica Patrick drives in Nascar.

The replica featured a Founders Edition GeForce GTX 1060, a Core i7-6700K, 16GB of DDR4/2400, a 240GB Intel 540-series SSD, and a 600 watt PSU. At $1,329, it actually compares well to a rig built using retail parts.

As a gaming box it seems well-suited for today’s games. For a game like Counter Strike: Global Offensive, however, which uses such an old engine, you might think it’s a little overkill.


Stephanie “missharvey” is a championship-level pro gamer.

That’s just what I thought, but I was surprised to hear Harvey say she needs as fast a CPU as she can get coupled with a good video card.

This seems unlikely since you can pretty much get Counter Strike: GO to run on integrated graphics on a dual-core laptop.

But watching Harvey set up on the Revolt 2, I finally understood what she meant when she called the game “CPU intensive.”

Like most pro gamers, Harvey uses lower graphics settings to maximize frame rates. The Revolt 2 she used was clocking 1,000 frames a second. I’ll say that again: 1,000 frames per second. Harvey said she can’t feel 1,000fps, but she does this because as the frame rate approaches and dips below 300fps, it hurts her performance. Yes, a frame rate below 300fps hurts her performance. She prefers as high a performance processor as possible to keep the frame rates sky high all the time.

gordon and missharvey

Pro-gamer missharvey gives me some tips, but it appears I’m hopeless.

The three M’s

It’s not just about what’s inside the PC though; it’s also about the three M’s: monitor, mouse, and mouse pad.

Harvey said the typical 60Hz panel doesn’t work for her—all her gaming must be on a high-frame monitor.

Nothing gets as close to a gamer as the mouse, and for that Harvey uses a Razer DeathAdder. Though mice are often marketed on insane DPI rates—up 10,000 DPI in some cases—Harvey uses the DeathAdder at a fairly low 400 DPI setting. She said for her, it’s about the mouse not losing track or skipping.

That means, believe or not, the necessity of a good mouse pad. Harvey uses a SteelSeries QcK+. Her current favorite keyboard is a Corsair K65RGB, which is the same one I favor—so I must be good, right?

The Match

With both machines set up, we played one-on-one for a round and it was simply unreal. I’m no twitch gamer but I’ve been around the block a few times. missharvey’s reaction times were simply next-level. I could not step two feet away from cover without instantly being put down. She could head-shot me from across the small map with an AK.

Only after being insta-killed eight or nine times did she lose interest and I was able to score a few hits. They weren’t death blows, but I at least had the moral victory in scoring a few shots. In the end, my kill-to-death ratio must have been 1:30.

At home in a pickup game, I would have long ago rage-quit—after typing “cheaterz aimbots!”—but seeing her warm up (yes, warm up—do you warm up before playing a video game?) and witnessing her next-level reaction times, it was actually a privilege to get so completely blown out by her.

The Lifestyle

Being a pro-gamer isn’t Hot Pockets and LOLS all day, either. Harvey currently lives in a “gaming house” with other team members, which sounds like an MTV Cribs episode of fun and hijinks, but is actually serious business.

There’s a strict healthy diet to be adhered to, and physical workouts to stay in shape. A healthier player is a better player, and when you have to sit in a chair and play games for hours on end, being in poor shape is a drag on the player and a drag on the team.

They don’t even get to stay up and party. Harvey said getting plenty of sleep to prepare for the grueling hours is also key to victory. Sounds like, well, an athlete’s kind of life style.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gordon Mah Ung

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?