Want to build a PC? Now might be the best time in years
With the cost of PC parts finally starting to freefall, now might be the perfect time to build a PC. I recently built my first PC from scratch for the first time in approximately six years, and the process, while costly, was largely the same as I remembered it before.
To roll back a bit, the reason we’re even talking about how difficult it is to purchase computer parts is thanks to a number of factors. Essentially there was a rather high demand for computer parts relative to the supply that was produced, and it was a mixture of problems on both the supply side and the demand side that created a perfect storm of chaos that ensured gamers weren’t able to get their hands on computer parts.
Now though, it’s possible to get into PC gaming again if you’re looking to build a new computer without breaking the bank, and it might be the perfect time to do it.
The RTX 4000 series is just around the corner
Here’s the problem, other PC components started to crash in price a while ago, except for one thing — graphics cards. Those were still sought after by crypto enthusiasts, driving up prices and also resulting in scalpers on the market. Now those are also starting to come down in price… and completely freefall, in some cases. ASUS dropped the price of some of its RTX 3000 cards by as much as 25% at the start of this month, and other card manufacturers are seeing their prices fall too on various price trackers online.
Get the INNO3D GeForce RTX 3060 Twin X2 12GB GPU from @OverclockersUK for £379.99.
— NVIDIA GeForce UK (@NVIDIAGeForceUK) April 21, 2022
As gamers finally come out to scoop up some of these deals, there are others waiting for the RTX 4000 series. The RTX 4000 series is expected to drop sometime around September, meaning that between now and then, the RTX 3000 series is the best you can get. However, if you wait to see what the RTX 4000 series brings, that in itself can pose an issue. If it’s too costly or doesn’t bring the improvements that we may expect from NVIDIA, then it’s likely that a ton of gamers are going to be looking back at the RTX 3000 series. The new graphics cards could possibly have their own supply issues in the early months, which could further push back your opportunity to finally get your hands on a graphics card at a reasonable rate. You’d be staring at the cycle repeating itself, and never actually get around to making a purchase.
Because of this, if your goal is to get a good gaming PC that lasts for a long time, then it might be worth splashing out cash right about now on a graphics card. Graphics cards are quickly falling back towards their MSRPs, and CPUs and other components have been there for quite a while now. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that RAM was no longer $150 for a stick of 16GB, as was the case (or worse) during the RAMageddon of 2017.
Your hardware is getting old
Let’s face it, your old hardware is probably getting old, too. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been holding out for quite a while now to upgrade. The best component in my PC was my GTX 1070, and that card is nearly six years old now. If you have a 1000 series card, your hardware is definitely nowhere near as capable of handling triple-A titles as it once was. RTX Voice, raytracing, DLSS, and more await you when upgrading from a GTX 1000 series card.
As well, if you’re upgrading your parts, you don’t want to create a components bottleneck. That’s why it’s good to upgrade now, while parts are available online and at a moment’s notice. I’ve found it incredibly easy to import parts across Europe, and sites such as Amazon and Newegg in the US are finally stocking parts consistently.
When picking parts, an RTX 3060 will pretty handily beat a GTX 1070, and that’s a card I can pick up for roughly the same price I bought my GTX 1070 at. Prices are returning to normal for now, but it’s hard to say what’s going to happen in the future when the new cards drop.
To build, or not to build?
If you want to wait, then there’s nothing wrong with that. If your parts also work fine, then there’s no reason to force yourself to upgrade. Computer parts can last a long time, and if you’re happy with your build, then there’s no need to go out and pick up new parts for the sake of picking up parts.
However, if you’ve been pondering over building a new PC for a long time, then now seems to definitely be the time to do it. Even mid-range cards are coming back down to their MSRP, and sadly, even that was a rarity. I finally put together a PC that I’ve been considering and upgrading on a PC Part Picker list for two years now, even though the vast majority of what I play is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Not exactly a computationally expensive game.
If you are upgrading an older PC or building an entirely new one, what kind of computer are you building? What parts have you chosen? Let us know! And if you’re looking to build your first computer, follow along with our guide on How to Build a PC.