Question What's a good time during the year to build a PC? (planning next build)

Inquisition8

Member
Nov 15, 2018
34
1
71
Hi All,

I'm going to be building a new PC and retiring my current one as a backup/hand-me-down to my son. I'm specifically going to be building this for the purpose of gaming - Starfield & Diablo 4 (both due out sometime next year). I'm going to be building just the box and in the immediate future looking to max out settings at 2560x1440. I have a nice 165hz 32" LG screen and I don't think I really need 4k yet, but may upgrade to it. I don't have a specific price range, but I'm not looking for super high end, just a good build with solid upgrade potential. Based on my last build I assume it'll run me somewhere between $2-3k. For hardware, I'm thinking something along the lines of:

Intel i9
32GB DDR5
1TB nVME
1TB SSD (backup)
NVIDIA 3x or 4x series?
May explore water cooling

I'm not in a hurry to build a system, but I'd like to have it ready to go by the time the games launch and I'm fine with building it early. I'm debating on whether it's better to take advantage of Black Friday deals or wait however many months and then just buy whatever is available at that point. What do you recommend? Should I drop coin on parts that are good deals around BF time and possibly even put it together then, or wait until a more definitive timeline is given for either of these titles? If I can/should get parts early, which ones should I look to acquire first vs. waiting? I assume if I find a good deal on a case I like for example I should get it then since it won't age really.

Normally I don't plan ahead like this, but with GPUs becoming scarce during COVID I don't want to be left without gear when the games release - just in case there's some other kind of fiasco.

TIA
 

Spydermag68

Platinum Member
Apr 5, 2002
2,580
74
91
From what I have heard the current Intel chips run hot and some YouTubers have been showing a bracket that helps with is problem. The next gen Raptor Lake should be better on heat and should work better with DDR5 since it is Intel's second DDR5 compatible CPU.

1TB nVME - works great for a boot drive and some games.
1TB SSD (backup) - You might see if you can get a larger SSD for backup.

Currently GPUs are at MSRP and dropping. Both NVidia and AMD are going to launch new ones this year. NVidia, from all the rumors, will keep best gaming GPU crown at the cost of a lot more power. AMD will improve over last gen and have less power draw.

For water cooling you can go AIO the easiest or full custom loop. If you go custom then check out JayzTwoCents for the basics on water cooling. Just watch a lot of video on how to build a custom loop. You can also buy a air pressure kit to test to see if your loop can hold water with out leaking.

You might want to look into EKWB for some parts. They only have selected water blocks for specific video cards. They most likely will not have one right way for 40 series cards.

------------------------------
I have been planning my next computer build since December when I found a case that I liked. I got a pre-order discount on the Lian Li 011 Dynamic Evo. Ever since then I have been using camelcamelcamel.com to check prices against Amazon. I also have some other price trackers on other sites. I got everything except the MB, CPU, Memory, and power supply. If you are wondering I am waiting for Zen 4 to drop in 33 days.

I could buy Zen 3 3800 3DX and be very happy about that, but I tend to hold onto my computers for a long time. Yep. I am still an rocking a Skylake CPU.

I am going with a custom loop to water cool my CPU. My first time to do this and have gone with XH305i RGB Pro from amazon. If you bought each thing from the kit separately it would cost about $600. I got it on sale for $500 using camel. I have also bought more matching fans using camel and Amazon. I bought single fans and was able to get 4 fans for the price of a 3-pack of the same fan.

For storage I am using 1 1TB nVME OS drive , 1 4TB SSD for games and programs and an 8TB HD bulk storage.

My build will be top of your budget or more.
 

Tech Junky

Golden Member
Jan 27, 2022
1,785
613
96
Intel i9
32GB DDR5
1TB nVME
1TB SSD (backup)
NVIDIA 3x or 4x series?
May explore water cooling
Firs of all you don't need an I9 unless you like to waste money. 12700K/13700K would be fine depending on if you wait for RPL or not in a couple of months. There's not really much difference though when it comes to gaming since the heavy leg work is done by the GPU anyway.

LC is a gimmick as Air works fine even on a $50 SE-226-XT w/ dual fans keeps my 12700K at room temp and cools quickly when it's done with a load which might hit 50C.

Dual NVME drives is a good thing since you have plenty of slots for them on current boards. There's also no need to spend $500+ on a DDR5 board as there's no real benefit to DDR5 at this point. The DDR5 tax is about $200 between the board / RAM.

If you're weary about a GPU get a 3060 for under $400 to tide you over until things shake out in the market between inventory gluts and death of mining. The new models coming out will be retail priced according to demand but, probably around $1K+ for the top of the line models.

As to the best time to buy / build... depends on what you're geared for. FALL is when new CPU's hit the market and within a few months they drop in price by ~20% along with board prices. BF is just retail's way to make you think you're getting a deal as the prices ramp up prior to the sales. They're not losing money to sell in bulk to consumers.

If you spot a good deal on something that's normally higher then just buy it.

This whole "frame" thing for CPU's is just marketing. If you buy a decent cooler with the proper adapter for the CPU it's not an issue. just clamp it down properly and the IHS won't bend.

With ADL I bought before BF and ended up still saving ~$60 off the discounted prices of BF.

For a total system though on ADL with the basics you should be able to pull off under $1000 excluding the GPU. Putting you somewhere around ~$2K with a higher end GPU if you skip the 3060 idea. Waiting to build a functional system can bite you in the ass though if something is faulty and you're outside of the return window resulting in being stuck with components that don't work w/o recourse.
 

dlerious

Golden Member
Mar 4, 2004
1,421
509
136
If you're weary about a GPU get a 3060 for under $400 to tide you over until things shake out in the market between inventory gluts and death of mining. The new models coming out will be retail priced according to demand but, probably around $1K+ for the top of the line models.
The 6600XT is under $300 and beats the 3060, unless you need an Nvidia specific feature.
 

Tech Junky

Golden Member
Jan 27, 2022
1,785
613
96
The 6600XT is under $300 and beats the 3060, unless you need an Nvidia specific feature.
I have a laptop.... so, keeping the costs down 3060 from a spec perspective was enough of a jump from a 1650 to warrant the additional cost over a 3050 which was more on par with the existing 1650 specs.

From a desktop POV though yes, evaluating more options would eb an option. I don't keep up with the GPU specs as much as I do the core components that lay the foundation to make a running system.

My point was pick a cheaper decent GPU now and then evaluate the options later when the new ones get released instead of sinking $1000 into something that will lose 505 of its value or more potentially in the next 6 months if prices keep falling at this rate.
 

Inquisition8

Member
Nov 15, 2018
34
1
71
So it seems the general consensus is that it's better to just wait until you're ready and then buy the components?

Also my purpose in asking about water cooling is in hopes of a quieter setup. My current setup works fine with a large air cooler (120mm); I just don't know what's a good/acceptable level of noise for a higher end system nowadays.

With regards to dual NVMe's, why? Do you put them in RAID or is there some new setup that I'm missing?

To put things into perspective, I built my last (current) system about 6.5 years ago. Since then I've dropped about $450 worth of upgrades into it (GTX760 > 1660 Super, 128GB SSD > 1TB SSD, 8GB > 16GB RAM). For this new system, I'd like to take a similar approach - something that will last 5+ years with minimal upgrades (likely GPU).
 

Tech Junky

Golden Member
Jan 27, 2022
1,785
613
96
With regards to dual NVMe's, why?
Because 3500MB/s+ is better than the 600MB/s of the 2.5" drive for the same price.

something that will last 5+ years with minimal upgrades
You can do this still but, with the pace that things are changing and the major overhaul currently to include DDR5 / PCIE5 and more changes right around the corner in the next 2 years or less it's hard to see ahead what might be worthwhile.

For longevity any current board should be viable for a few years but, the CPU side isn't staying constant for more than 1-2 versions at this point. Everything is shifting to a TILED layout in the next 18 month or less. Intel is shifting / planning on a release in 2024 with Arrow Lake. AMD is undergoing a change in a month or so with Zen 4. Apple is tinkering with this sort of thing with M1 / M2.

GPU / RAM / Drives though - pick your path and stick with it. As things change though there will be adapters you can use to take advantage of the changes. There will be adapter you can use to mount a Gen5 NVME into a PCIE slot but, that will also mean moving your GPU down to a Gen4 slot unless you find a board that has more than a single PCIE 5 slot or has a native Gen5 NVME slot like the Velocita MOBO.

With another release to 700 series Intel chipsets in a month or two and more options coming to Gen5 being built in... waiting might be an advantage if you're planning for the long haul vs keeping up with rebuilds every ~2 years.

LC vs Air is always a debate. LC isn't quieter because you're introducing more noise / vibrations with the motor / pump and you still have 2-3 fans anyway for the radiator. The only time to consider a LC setup is if you're going all the way and LCing the GPU with a water block as well. Just get a decent case that has better air management to allow for exhaust so you don't get heat soak.

So, my recommendation as of this moment in time.... See what the 700 series prices offer or opt for a DDR5 board/RAM as it will offer longer use and prices have been coming down as inventory comes up. Since we're so close to the release though waiting for 700 options makes more sense.

1660566221199.png

If the pricing on the CPU side for RPL is too high you can always put an ADL into the 700 board to take advantage of the newer / refined board and discount the price of the build using the ADL CPU. It all boils down to how you're going to use it and personal choices.
 

Inquisition8

Member
Nov 15, 2018
34
1
71
Thanks for the insight! As you can tell, my knowledge of current tech is about as old as my current PC. Looks like I'll be waiting until either game has a release date and then plan the build accordingly. Just PoE in the meantime.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY