There is a lot of exciting stuff happening in the PC hardware arena right now. Not just the normal level of stuff either, I don’t think. Sure- it is easy enough to say that there is ALWAYS some upgrade-or-another right on the horizon and be correct. They’re not always truly significant or meaningful updates though.

Now we have the nVidia 30×0 / Ampere series coming this month, from which initial reports mark as a beastly upgrade over the previous 20×0 / Turing generation and a worthy upgrade for those (like myself) who have held onto their 10×0 / Pascal series cards.

Given the size of the generational jump here, that would be exciting enough for me.

But AMD not one to miss a party, have announced two launch announcements for October. Zen 3 — their next generation CPU, taking the form of the Ryzen 4000 series chips — October 8th and the Radeon RX6000 / RDNA 2 series graphics cards October 28th.

All of which comes together in the form of the decision:

Computer Upgrade Time is Here!

Purely from an excitement point of view — I’d do it this month. The moment nVidia RTX 3080’s go on order. Just really try get in on the first shipment and try to avoid any of the near inevitable supply issues that will come with a product this hyped.

I don’t really expect AMD’s next line of graphics cards to be competitive with nVidia at the top-end and so change my mind on what I purchase. And honestly? Even if they are? It would have to be quite a considerable margin over and above to get me to consider switching to a Radeon graphics card. Like Kaylriene, I’ve had a history of bad experiences with Radeon card drivers — dating back to when they were still produced under the ATI label.

Every time I made the choice to try a Radeon card again I was made to regret it.

So on this front, my interest is almost entirely in what the pricing will look like in a (hopefully) more competitive landscape.

For the Ryzen 4000 / Zen 3 series though…

AMD has been making leaps and bounds in this arena and are once again, after years and years of occupying a very distant second place, a perfectly viable option for gaming.

While Intel still flounders around with their umpteenth 14nm process, the Ryzen 4000 series will be moving into a further refinement of their 7nm process. With how close AMD already is, there is more than an outside chance that this is the generation AMD takes back the lead. And almost as importantly for me — I’ve never been burned by trying an AMD CPU in the past.

Whether or not AMD ends up being able to pull ahead though — as with the video card situation, it is at least worth waiting and seeing how the competitive landscape might change. Of course, then there is also Intel’s 11th Gen (Rocket Lake) that we should be hearing about soon. It is yet another 14nm refresh, but it is also widely believed to bring Intel up to speed with PCIe 4.0 support. Belief so far is that there is no way the Ampere cards will be bottlenecked by the bandwidth of PCIe 3.0 — but I do wonder how that might play when also considering nVidia RTX IO that allows the GPU to take data into VRAM from a storage drive directly rather than first routing through CPU and RAM.

In any case, my target for having the upgraded PC ready to go therefore is simply before Christmas this year. Not so much to align with Christmas itself — but the holiday period around it. So there is still time to see what shakes out of the tree between now and then.

Dear lord I hope availability isn’t super restricted around that time still.

In the meantime — just for fun, I took a look at what a likely PC build bought this month might look like (sans video card, but it’s most likely I’ll go for an RTX 3080 rather than coughing all the way up for a 3090… As much as part of me might like to).

ComponentPart
Cases – Full TowerLian Li PC-O11D XL ROG Dynamic ROG Edition Full Tower Gaming Case RGB, Tempered Glass, Black
Cooling – CPUCorsair iCUE H150i RGB PRO XT Liquid CPU Cooler 360mm Radiator
CPUs – IntelIntel Comet Lake Core i7 10700K 8 Core 3.8Ghz
Hard Drives – Solid StateGigabyte Aorus 2TB NVMe Gen 4 M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD
Hard Drives – SATAWD 4TB Black Edition 256MB Performance SATA3 7200RPM Internal HDD
Memory – DesktopG.SKILL Trident Z Neo RGB F4-3600C16D-32GTZNC 32 GB RAM (2X 16GB) DDR4 3600MHz, CL16
Motherboards – Intel 1200ASRock Z490 TAICHI ATX Motherboard
Operating systemsMicrosoft Windows Home 10 32-bit/64-bit English USB
Power suppliesCorsair AX850 V2 Titanium

This may change significantly before it comes time to actually buy!