Question When is the time to start looking/planning for a custom built PC?

Spaz888

Junior Member
Jun 22, 2011
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Back in 2009/2010 I was looking for a PC which I had my computer shop build for me because it's was just an extra $50 to ensure I can hold them accountable if something wasn't running right. As it turned out, that's what did happen.

Anyway, the system back them was medium to high end. I'm still using it today but with added hybrid Seagate HDDs to save some cash.

Without going to much into my specs from back in the day, 1GB of RAM for a GPU was I bought and 6GB of RAM. One major mistake I made back in then was I was unknowingly an early adopter. I bought the first generation SATA 6 motherboard. UEFI would come out one or two years later. My system was first gen i7. I still have issues booting to Windows PE.

When I tried to upgrade my ASUS BIOS, the new BIOS was radically different from the previous version and loading "defaults" would not boot my system despite manually configuring the settings as best as I could with little updated info from the ASUS manual. ASUS tech support was useless. I asked them many times over the years to provide me an updated guide what these various different settings did. Each time they would dance around the issue. It was very frustrating. ASUS makes great mobos but their tech support is awful.

I see now over 11 years later, many laptops still come with 8GB of RAM which is baffling. Whatever happened to Moore's law?

Given the amount of multitasking I do and browser extensions/applications open, I'm thinking of at least 24 to 32GB of RAM should last me [my] lifetime.

Back then, RAM prices were high. Now, GPU prices have skyrocketed. Given the current market conditions, what would be a "best guess" to start looking to build my system? Do you think prices will stabilize in 2021 or should I tough-it-out and wait until 2022 (insert reasons why)?
 

MalVeauX

Senior member
Dec 19, 2008
642
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Heya,

Moore's law is regarding CPU's transistors; not memory.

Right now, memory and NAND tech is inexpensive; so it's a good time to buy quality RAM (DDR4) and NVMe and SSD drives. Cases, power supplies, etc, are also well priced (appropriate).

The latest CPUs are hard to find in stock currently, thanks to COVID. Some are over-priced scalping, so just don't buy them. Shop for what's in your budget and just get in line for what you want and it will eventually be in stock. You can always get a yesteryear release CPU and it will still be a huge upgrade over your current system.

GPUs are screwed up for price and will continue to be. This is both the cryptocurrency impact and COVID. The prices are crazy and the stock is bad. Unless you're playing latest games that require a top end GPU, you don't need to worry here too much. Most games still run great on older GPUs. For this, just shop around, used is a good way to get something close to an appropriate price unfortunately. There's no reason to believe GPU pricing will improve anytime soon. As soon as GPU based crypto mining became a thing, the market went nuts and never recovered. There's no real trend that is promising that will suggest GPUs will ever normalize, until crypto mining with GPU no longer exists. While it exists, it will mess up the GPU market.

There's no good time to buy/build unfortunately simply due to the CPU & GPU problem. Thankfully the rest is still affordable and available. So for the CPU & GPU side, just be patient, get in line, get it at MSRP or used. Don't buy scalped, don't support that habit. It's your money so do what you want of course though.

Very best,
 

DAPUNISHER

Super Moderator and Elite Member
Moderator
Aug 22, 2001
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Given the amount of multitasking I do and browser extensions/applications open, I'm thinking of at least 24 to 32GB of RAM should last me [my] lifetime.
Given this info, here is my advice. Don't let $100s in mark up keep you from having the system you want. No one knows when the supply constraints, or absurdly high demand due to C-19 and mining will ease up. I would say to check a few of the better system integrators that due biz where you live, and spec the system you want. Again, if I thought this would be my last PC, I would not let even a couple of thousand dollars stop me from doing it now, and doing it right.

If you are going to buy the parts and have locals build it, or DIY, tells us where you live, and we can spec out builds for you. Happy to give advice on configuring a OEM or S.I. system too.
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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It used to be that you would watch the CPU and motherboard roll-outs, and the prices of other parts. I thought it was like surfing -- trying to catch a wave. I want a new motherboard that's had the bugs ironed out of it.

But as someone said, at the moment, a couple of things seem a bit crazy.

Back in late 2016, I bought a Gigabyte GTX 1070 "Mini" OC -- just what I wanted for the cramped space inside my box. As far as I was concerned, it was a great graphics card. I had decided not to build SLI systems anymore. So today, I was window-shopping to see how much that card would cost today. If you can find it, they want the same money. So then I was curious about an RTX 2070 Mini. I could actually find the 1070 cards -- one at B&H Photo available for purchase. I can't find any 2070 cards -- not the Zotac or Gigabyte Mini cards, anyway. The prices seem astronomical.

For RAM, I wanted to go from 4x8GB to 2x16 in refurbishing my current system -- leaving me enough RAM to build another box with a spare processor and board. I thought the two-stick 32GB kit of G.Skill Trident Z "GTZR" (LED bling) -- DDR4-3200 14-14-14-34 -- was pretty cheap at around $200.

I can't advise as to whether you should buy 10th gen Intel or earlier. I'm still rocking a Skylake K processor, and it's plenty fast for my needs in a build that's four years old. An i9-10900K processor is about $500 and change, and a "good" motherboard would be above $450.

IF you wanted to go back as far as Skylake or Kaby Lake, you can find boards that were refurbished or had been RMA returns with nothing wrong -- good ones built to MIL-SPECs -- for as little as $150. You can even find bundles with Workstation boards and extra PCIE-lanes with a bridge chip, including processor and 2x4 8GB RAM ready to go.

But if you want the latest and greatest, take the time to do your homework; buy the right case; plan your storage deployment, use of NVME's and other factors; pick a good PSU, and attend to building it "right".

For PSUs, I've become a spoiled brat. I don't want "Bronze"; don't want "Silver" or "Gold"; don't want "Platinum". I'm only buying Prime Titanium Seasonic fully modular units of 600 to 750W.

I mean . . . you could still build a budget system with a bottom-of-the-line ASUS board and a PSU costing $100 or less. Depends both on what you want and what you need.
 

Spaz888

Junior Member
Jun 22, 2011
9
0
66
Given this info, here is my advice. Don't let $100s in mark up keep you from having the system you want. No one knows when the supply constraints, or absurdly high demand due to C-19 and mining will ease up. I would say to check a few of the better system integrators that due biz where you live, and spec the system you want. Again, if I thought this would be my last PC, I would not let even a couple of thousand dollars stop me from doing it now, and doing it right.

If you are going to buy the parts and have locals build it, or DIY, tells us where you live, and we can spec out builds for you. Happy to give advice on configuring a OEM or S.I. system too.
Thanks. That would be helpful. I am in Metro Vancouver, BC Canada. We used to have a really reputable DIY and builder called NCIX. Things went side-ways several years ago with the owner. I don't mind holding off and waiting for newer tech to sort itself out.

I bought a new 32 inch Lenovo monitor and upgraded my Win 7 system to Win 8.1. It would be nice to get higher resolution above 1920 and 75 hertz. It can't run Win 10 without it driving me crazy. It was a major headache with my mobo and WIndows trying to get even my SATA drivers to work right on Win 8.1. I had to force Win 8.1 to use the Intel driver.

The Marvel SATA controller sucks and never worked right with my ASUS P6X58D-E mobo. I couldn't update the BIOS one time because when I did so, the new BIOS (0803) was radically different (night and day) from the second first OEM version. ASUS never produced literature on the updated settings of the BIOS above 0303. They remained silent when I asked. I tried changing BIOS settings to auto for this and that, but it didn't work. It was really a nightmare and bad experience, but I was fortunate that I could downgrade back to 0303. ASUS makes great hardware but their software and support, not so much. In my many years prior, I never had this happen when trying to upgrade the BIOS in my mobos.
 
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aleader

Senior member
Oct 28, 2013
502
150
116
There's nothing wrong with a B450/3600 build either. That can be had for relatively cheap, and will last you a long while. Buy a decent MSI board and you can put a 5600x in it if you want to down the road. The days of having to go from 286 to 386 to 486 each year are long over.

There's also a 10400f or 10600k that are easily available, and are quite cheap for the performance you get. The issue with Intel is the motherboards.

RAM is relatively cheap and you may as well get 32GB, but 16GB will do you fine. Having browser windows open does not use much for resources at all...easy to check for yourself. I have 32GB RAM and certainly don't need it, but it was so cheap in October, that I figured what the hell. Pair it with a 1660 super, and you're set...if you can find one.
 
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Spaz888

Junior Member
Jun 22, 2011
9
0
66
At work we all got an email (I work part time for the government) and they sent a notice advising everyone there's a world wide shortage of computer parts especially graphic cards. Many people are now working from home and trying to buy computer equipment, but that's extremely difficult given the poor supply and high demand. Official Government suppliers have a huge shortage too. The recommendation from Informatics is to use what we have at the workplace (ask other Government departments) and take it home. It's that bad.

Additionally, my GPU from 2009/2010 which I paid around $130 back then and just a few years ago was being sold for under $20 online is now selling for the same price (used) assuming you can find it. The prices are just nuts....at least in my region.
 

aleader

Senior member
Oct 28, 2013
502
150
116
At work we all got an email (I work part time for the government) and they sent a notice advising everyone there's a world wide shortage of computer parts especially graphic cards. Many people are now working from home and trying to buy computer equipment, but that's extremely difficult given the poor supply and high demand. Official Government suppliers have a huge shortage too. The recommendation from Informatics is to use what we have at the workplace (ask other Government departments) and take it home. It's that bad.

Additionally, my GPU from 2009/2010 which I paid around $130 back then and just a few years ago was being sold for under $20 online is now selling for the same price (used) assuming you can find it. The prices are just nuts....at least in my region.
Generally for those type of jobs though there is no need for anything more than an onboard GPU, unless you're doing some sort of 3D modeling. Our laptops they give us at work are fast (much faster than we need), but none have gaming gpu's in them. All other parts I'm finding readily available, here in Canada anyways. This is a great MB ($120 USD) paired with a 3600 ($199). It's in my son's PC now:

https://www.newegg.ca/msi-b450-gaming-pro-carbon-max-wifi/p/N82E16813144296?Item=N82E16813144296&cm_sp=Homepage_SS-_-P4_13-144-296-_-02132021
 

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