The general advice on building a gaming PC right now is that you should hold off for a few months because a tonne of generational component releases are just on the horizon. On paper, that makes sense – no point buying a GPU or processor right now if they’re just about to be superseded, right?
Well… no. At least, I disagree with that anyway, especially if you late a look at what happened during the release of the current generation of graphics cards. A dastardly mix of a chip shortage (in itself caused by production issues and increased demand from other areas of tech), paired with a boom in Ethereum, a cryptocurrency that was capable of being mined on consumer-grade GPUs.
Demand skyrocketed overnight while production and inventory plummeted, which in turn caused prices to inflate. It’s only in recent weeks that a good chunk of PC gamers and PC enthusiasts have been apple to snap up an Nvidia Ampere or AMD RDNA2 video card at a reasonable price. It’s all very well to tell people to hold on until Lovelace and RDNA 3 cards are released, but looking around the Amazon Prime Day deals, it’s actually refreshing to see a healthy supply of components in stock, and at a reasonable price at that.
I feel like telling people to wait is also a disservice to folks still using older hardware, especially those who took the leap and purchased a current–gen card recently. While it’s not the only way to check on the state of the gaming market, the Steam Hardware survey (opens in new tab) still places cards from the GeForce GTX 16 series at the top of the list, and developers are at least partially aware that they can’t market games to an audience with hardware that’s incapable of running them.
The Nvidia RTX 30 series and Big Navi cards are going to be very relevant for years to come, as will recently released processors, motherboards, and more. There’s a lot of pressure to upgrade your entire system to a full next-gen setup that utilizes DDR5 RAM and the very latest components, but you’ll find that a budget-friendly build equipped with older releases will still be a capable system for a few years.
Thank god for PC Part Picker
Gaming PCs are kinda like cars. Some folks like to buy a luxury motor, and some like to modify their ride from top to bottom with upgrades, but it’s okay to just drive a reasonably priced economy car.
If all you need is for it to play your favorite games such as Fortnite or Valorant, there’s really no sense in overspending on something more powerful. If you’re not going to utilize all that power then it’s wasteful and will become just as irrelevant as it ages after all.
I mentioned the Prime Day sale earlier as I’d really encourage you to check out some of the deals if you wanted to make use of this relative period of pricing and production stability.
I’ve outlined a few of my favorites below, but I cannot stress enough that they’re not all going to be compatible. An easy way to make sure that the components will play nicely in your current build, or indeed in a completely new system you’re planning is to input the parts into the PC Part Picker website (opens in new tab).
This will tell you with relative accuracy if there’s any reason that something isn’t compatible – trying to buy an Intel processor for an AMD socket motherboard for example. It’s best used by absolute novice builders as it provides a pretty good guide, but there are plenty of community forums that can help you with more specific buying advice.
The best PC Gaming Prime day deals
The best GPU Prime Day deals
The best processor Prime Day deals
The best DDR5 RAM Prime Day deals
More GPU deals across the world
No matter where you live, you’ll find all the lowest prices for graphics cards around the web right here, with offers available in your region.