Hey everyone, it’s Whatever Wednesdays again. Today is mostly just a post for myself to organize my thoughts about a “New Computer”.
The computer I am currently using I’ve had since I was a fellow back in late 2012, early 2013. That was 6-7 years ago and it hasn’t been upgraded at all since then. It’s come with me to Rhode Island and then across the United States and some ocean to Hawaii. Then it moved again from our condo to our house.
The computer I bought back then was a pre-built mid range gaming PC. For those of you who are purists that would never buy a pre-built PC, let me first explain that I got a great deal on it. I actually calculated the cost of all the components against the entire cost of the pre built PC — and the prebuilt PC won. I forgot what the deal was, but it was a few hundred dollars off the retail price which made it worthwhile.
What did you buy?
There are many different models with different specifications. You can read the pcmag review on it here if you’re interested.
Long story short, I put a lot of time and research into buying that desktop with the plan that it was to last at least 5 years. I also specifically chose the Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 (2 GB), which was a really good card at the time, and is still decent nowadays. Additionally, I opted for the Intel Core i7-3770k for the CPU, which is still decent, even now.
My only two regrets were that I should have opted for 16 GB of RAM from the beginning and probably should have added another 1 TB hard drive. However, I was still a poor fellow and this computer was stretching our budget as it was. At the time, I promised my wife that this computer would “last” and would like to think it has.
It’s served me well these past 6-7 years, but is ancient in terms of computer years, especially for a gaming PC. I’ve been talking about building/buying a new one for months or maybe even more than a year now.
However, recently the monitor which I bought with it, an ASUS 24″, which was also very good for its time, is starting to go on the blink. I’ve had to kind of ghetto-rig it to stay on without getting stuck on the onscreen display — which apparently is a common problem.
Since I was researching about what new monitor to buy, I fell down the rabbit hole of thinking about building/buying a new computer as well. I would move all my important files and stuff to the new one, and pretty much wipe this old one clean. Additionally, I’ll probably add a bunch of parental security things on it before I give it to my kids. I think it still has a few more years on it for my daughter and son to learn on. I’ll need to buy a new monitor for them too probably.
So what are you going to get now?
Well, a lot has changed since 2012/2013. The advantages of building your own PC are still there, but they aren’t quite as large as they were before. The bigger PC makers like Dell (Alienware), HP (Omen), etc and the other gaming PC companies like iBUYPOWER and CyberPowerPC have really made their margins razor thin to stay competitive. However, other “premium” gaming brands like MSI, Falcon Northwest, Origin, etc will still cost you significantly more.
I’ve been watching things closely for awhile now. I think that in general, as long as you can find a prebuilt PC with the components you want, it’s probably going to end up being a better deal.
Also, you must remember that I’m not really looking for the “bleeding edge” of PCs. I’m mainly looking for something that will last the longest and be the best “bang for your buck”. Usually this is found in the mid range for people like me — which is what I did for my previous PC.
Ok, so what stats are you looking for then?
First things first, please remember that I’m not looking for top of the line. I don’t plan to play the newest games at the highest frame rate or do any kind of ridiculous graphic design. The major decisions are Intel versus AMD for CPU and Radeon versus Nvidia for GPU.
My previous build was Intel/Nvidia. However, my recent research seems to say that the best bang for your buck in the upper- mid range is AMD/Radeon with:
AMD Ryzen 7 3700x
Radeon RX 5700 XT
The rub here is that the Radeon card doesn’t support raytracing, which is kind of the whole point of Nvidia’s RTX line. At this point, I don’t see huge value in raytracing other than to be futureproof. However, others would disagree with me.
For those who don’t know, a great resource for building a PC is pcpartpicker.com. Here are a few builds that are in line with what I am thinking about specs wise.
rollem78 – 9-22-19
wilmaster1 – 9-14-19
Here’s a similar configuration from a prebuilt company – CyberPowerPC
I think the CyberPowerPC configuration is pretty good. However, once you start customizing stuff, the price goes up. I’m not really into the whole RGB thing with making stuff light up, so I don’t need any of that. That said, I do want the best cooling possible (within reason), so I will need to try to optimize for that. It seems people don’t really like the in-house cases or cooling options either which will increase the cost.
Then you need to consider which motherboard and power supply you prefer as well. So it’ll likely be considerably more than the $1299 base. However, this computer is pretty good in my opinion as long as you choose reasonable upgrade options. It should last at least 5 years if well taken care of, which is what I want.
Unfortunately, HP and Dell don’t currently offer the AMD Ryzen 7 3700x and Radeon RX 5700 XT together. I’ll need to do some more searching.
Things to consider, ie. my notes:
When choosing a motherboard, consider the need for WiFi 6 compatibility. While this may not be a problem currently, it may be necessary in 3-5 years time. As such, the cheapest motherboard option with WiFi 6 is:
ASROCK X570 TAICHI ATX w/ WiFi 6
However, as I type this, that is a $147 upgrade over the stock motherboard (which actually isn’t bad).
In the next few months, we may see WiFi 6 become more prevalent for motherboards which would drive down the price. However, this is always the problem with buying a computer. If you keep waiting, what you want will go down in price, but something new will come out making your mid-range PC into a low-mid range PC.
Should probably also upgrade the RAM is 32 GB just to be -somewhat- future proof. 3000 Mhz versus 32000 Mhz doesn’t really matter for most games. However, the price difference is almost negligible, so it’s essentially a toss-up.
Storage is important and will probably either opt for a 240 GB SSD + 2 TB combo drive or just opt for a 1 TB SSD. To be honest, I don’t have all that much storage on my current computer, it’s kind of one of those if you have it you use it. So I tend to delete things I don’t need and don’t just leave unplayed games or unused applications on my computer. However, my wife is always concerned that we may lose pictures/videos of the kids, even though most of them are backed up “in the cloud” as well as on two different external hard drives.
I will also need to consider which case works the best with which cooling options. This is a whole other body of research in itself since different cases are constructed differently. While it may not be a huge difference, since it is a significant amount of money, it’s better to get the look and airflow you want to optimize things. For example, I like the NZXT H510 case and people seem to pair it with the NZXT Kraken x62 Water Cooling Fan. However, both are expensive.
Also, I need to note that since I am going with an AMD video card this time around, I should probably buy a 1440p FreeSync monitor for optimization.
Anyways, just trying to assemble my thoughts on which PC I should build/buy. Most likely this won’t happen for a few months, but I’m just trying to get a feel for how things are.
My budget will probably be pretty similar to what I chose last time which was $1500 for the PC build itself but with a separate budget for the LCD monitor(s). While that may seem like a lot, if you consider that it lasted for 6-7 years, I think I did pretty well overall. Especially if you take into account that some people buy a new computer every other year or so.
Going to need a new computer soon.
Just me thinking about it.
Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.
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