Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2311558-To-Build-or-not-to-Build
Rated: E · Article · Other · #2311558
Should I build a new PC
I've been spending some time lately trying to decide if I want to build a new PC or not.

There are several things to consider in building a new PC. These fundamental choices are the
CPU, the central processing unit;
GPU, the graphics processing unit; and

Other choices are ease-of-build and esthetics. I built my first PC in 2012, and cable management inside the case was a nightmaire. Today's cases are much better designed and promise easier, less frustrating builds. In terms of esthetics, I wanted a case with at least one glass panel to show off the cool stuff inside. That means adding the minor expense of LED lighting on things like fans, memory, and other elements of the build.

So, back to my choice--to build or not build.

What I have now.

It's not like my current PC is bad. In fact, it's pretty cool looking
Current PC
When I built in in 2018, it had the latest cutting edge technology:
CPU: Intel I7-8700K 6-core processor
Memory: 32GB DDR4-3200 memory
Storage: Samsung 1TB M.2-2280 NVME SSD
GPU: GeForce 8GB video card
Cooling, fans

I also included a 1TB mechanical drive (not solid state) for backups. That failed about a year ago, and I had to replace it. I used a slower solid state drive (SSD) since it was just for backups. If I build a new system, I'll probably either get another SSD or just re-purpsose the one in my existing sytem.

Other than the mechanical drive failing, this all still works, although it can kind of grind away at some higher-intensity graphics applications.

What I plan to build.

There have been significant improvements in the core technologies. Looking at the basic components, if I were to build a new machine with comparable techology today, it would look like this:
CPU: Intel i7-14700KF 16-core processor
Memory: 64 GB DDR5-6000 memory
Storage: Crucial 1TB M.2-22 NVME
GPU: ARC 16 GB Video card
Cooling, liquid cooling for the CPU, extra fans for the case

I'm sticking with Intel for the CPU. At almost every benchmark that's meaningful to me, the Intel CPU does better and costs less than the corresponding AMD CPU.

In 2018 I went with NVidia over AMD for the GPU for the same reason as prefering Intel over AMD for the CPU. However, in 2024 I think the new Intel ARC is a better choice for the GPU, at least for me. Intel probably will never catch up with AMD and NVidia in terms of supporting legacy games, but I'm not a gamer, so that's irrelevant to me. On the core benchmarks that are--or might be--relevant to me, the intel ARC does as well as the comparable AMD and NVidia GPUs and costs a bit less. If I wanted to spend $1000 on a GPU, AMD and NVidia win, but who wants to spend that mucn on a video card? Not me.

In terms of the CPU, memory, and SSD storage, each of today's components are roughly twice as fast as the ones from 2018. The graphics processing is likewise faster, although since I'm not a gamer I most likely won't get much improvement from that part of the techology. Still, I use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator frequently, so a modern GPU would be helpful.

The target system would probably look something like this.
HYTE System
This is an image of a PC built on a new Hyte case that has an "acquarium" look, with two glass sides and is probably pretty close to what my final build will look like--should I actually build it.

What's the upside?
A faster system is the first upside.

A second upside is that my current system is five years old. I've already had one hardware failure. I could have another at any time. It takes a couple of weeks to acquire the parts and build a new system, so if I have a major failure--like a failure to the boot disk--i'd be without a desktop system for that long. I've got a laptop, but I'm not sure I want to be that long without a desktop system. A comparably-equpped pre-built system would be at least $1000 more, which I'm unwilling to spend, so I'd wind up with spending the same money for a less capable system.

Third, by using the latest technology throughout, I'm future-protecting my system. For example, in 2020, Microsoft rolled out improvements to Windows that made it inevitable that some hardware would become obsolete. For example, the system I built in 2012 won't run WIndows 11, so when the Windows 7 support cycle ends this year, it's obsolete. By using the latest technology in 2018, I was able to do the minor upgrades that system so it could run Windows 11--it was future-proofed. The new motherboard I plan to purchase supports WiFi7, even though I presently have no devices that use this standard. But when I do, the extra bandwidth will be good thave.

Future-protecting is an imperfect plus-side: no one knows what Microsoft will decree for their next OS.

Another upside is that it's kind of fun to build a new computer, especially now that I've done all the design work to insure that the parts are compatible and will work together.

What's the downside?

Well, money, of course. j

The system I built in 2018 cost roughly $1500. In 2024 dollars, that's $1890.

But there's more than inflation to consider.

One of the drawbacks to the newer technology is that it runs hotter than the 2018 technology. This means that that I need an all-in-one liquid cooler for the CPU and more fans in the system. My current system has an air-cooled CPU and three fans to cool the case, while the planned new system has a liquid-cooled CPU (with three fans), and six fans to cool the case. The fans don't add mnuch expense, but the liquid-cooling system is pricey. Liquid cooling and more fans add about $400 to the system, an expense I didn't incur in 2018. That means that, other things being equal, I can expect to spend about $2200-$2300 building a new system.

In fact, my budget for a proposed new build works out to $2382. Looking it over, I see that I've added about $200 in esthetic choices--things like the "aquarium style" case and extra LED lighting--just to make it look cool. So I've more or less come in on budget.

What's the decision?

Right now, I'm balancing the upsides which are, I admit, marginal, against the downside which is kind of formidable. It's not like I don't have the money, but do I want to spend it on this?

I'm dithering.

I do like the possible improvement in esthetics, which I didn't mention above. The probable appearance of the new system is certainly cooler than my current PC and I'm willing to pay the $200 I'm over budget for the extra pizsazz.

Here's the budget detail if anyone is interested (for some reason, insert isn't displaying the file correctly).

"New Build Summary

© Copyright 2024 Max Griffin 🏳️‍🌈 (mathguy at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2311558-To-Build-or-not-to-Build