Right now is both the best of times and the worst of times for building a new PC or upgrading an existing one. If you absolutely need to build or upgrade one today, then there is no time better, of course. However, if you have the ability to hold off, at least on some components, it should be in your best interest. We expect to see new video cards from both AMD and Nvidia, as well as new processors from Intel and AMD.
Remember, this advice applies specifically to desktop PCS, as laptop hardware is always delayed behind desktop components. All of this hardware will not come out until later 2023 for laptops.
The best advice for video cards is to skip any card that currently costs over $500. The new cards will be announced starting this week, and both AMD and Nvidia are expected to start with the top specification cards and work their way backward. So, the more expensive cards from the current generation are likely to drop in price as their replacements could be out shortly. So, investing in these cards will cost more in the long run than waiting a little while.
In addition, current generation cards are seeing a decline now that Ethereum mining is effectively dead. That means that demand on cards has lowered significantly and availability has not changed. Ethereum moved from proof of work to proof of stake, so video cards are no longer involved. Currently, it would take 20 years to break even on a 3080 using the new technology, before the prices change.
However, if you are in the market for a less expensive card, now is not a bad time to invest. The next generation cards with the lower specifications will likely be longer before they are replaced, so costs will not change significantly in the near term. Also, because the prices are already lower, there isn't as much room for discounts when new hardware is released.
Now, what about CPUs? In the next few weeks or possibly months, new AMD Ryzen chips are coming, as are Intel Raptor Lake chips. They'll be faster than the current generation and older chips will go on sale. However, it's important to note that new AMD chips are not going to work in existing motherboards, so making a change today would be ill advised. A future update is going to require new motherboards, which will come along with a requirement for upgraded RAM. If you're building a powerful computer, that slight delay might be worth considering.
However, if you're looking to build or buy a mid to low cost computer, now would still be an okay time to buy. A $300 CPU is not going to see a significant change in power or price in the next generation. But, if you're looking for a top tier CPU, it would be best to hold off.
Other components, such as CPUs, cases, and power supplies are not expected to change much between now and the release of the new components, so those are not a concern.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.