If you want the PC to do better for you, there are things that do not pay you to spend the money

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Hello, my name is Javier and I have spent money on PC components that I have then totally wasted. If you are in that situation, welcome to the group. One that is especially numerous because those of us who like technology don’t mind investing in it. The problem is then not to get too much out of the investment.

In fact, this text serves as a small reminder that maybe we don’t need so much. This segment does not stop tempting us with extensions and improvements that can turn our PC into a beast. We have to be there to assess whether we are really going to take advantage of that super processor or that super graphics. And that is why it is worth talking about what things can compensate and what not so much.

Here are two different situations that we talk about in this text. The first, that of a recent example that we have seen and that makes it clear that there are times when a user simply jumps into the pool without the proper knowledge and make mistakes in your purchase of components.

In the second part of the article is where we will do that review that comes from the other perspective: that we often oversize our needs and buy components more powerful than we probably need.

Be careful what you buy

In Gamestar.de —publication of the Webedia group to which Xataka belongs— an editor published these days a reflection about his PC in which he came to a clear conclusion: a lot of money had been spent to get very little performance.

His mistakes were certainly notable: years ago he bought four Radeon X1950 Pro to take advantage of in a configuration with CrossFireX, but in the end he could only connect three — the motherboard wasn’t ready for that many, and the components got in each other’s way. Not only that: the scalability of the solution was poor, and the performance improvement, which was only real in some very specific scenarios, was not worth the investment.

The same thing happened with an RTX 2080 Ti that he bought some time later and that in the end he did not take advantage of because I mostly played ‘indie’ games and not to AAA titles that are usually the ones that squeeze those high-end graphics.

This is the gaming tower that I would buy: the computers with the best value for money to play recommended by Xataka

Your investment in a motherboard of 550 euros was also a mistake —it didn’t take advantage of the overclocking options it offered, for example— and it also didn’t hit the mark with a workstation processor (a Core i7 7820X) which again wasn’t the most appropriate for its usage scenario.

Learned lessons

I suppose that like many of you, I have also made mistakes when buying equipment or updating it with new components. When you think of your next computer you can often get excited and spend more than you really need.

Screenshot 2022 06 09 At 12 20 48

Source: Reddit.

It’s normal, of course. We want to enjoy that team to the fullest and that means that perhaps let’s spend when choosing that processor, graphics or memory that we are not really going to take advantage of.

The example of that editor is forceful, and allows us to review to which components may be less interesting (and which more) if we are going to invest in a new PC:

  • motherboard: The choice of motherboard is important and is totally linked to the processor, but as in this case we have to do an exercise in honesty. Do we need Intel’s W680 chipset which is really for workstations, or four M.2 slots, DDR5 memory support, advanced overclocking, or PCIe 5.0 slots? Are we really going to use all that stuff? Here it is better to do a real planning exercise —what we are going to use versus what we would like to be able to use— and choose a model that adapts to the use we are going to give the equipment.
  • Processor: if you are going to dedicate your computer to intensive gaming and want to enjoy demanding games to the fullest, there is no other: buy the best processor you can afford (such as graphics). But if your gaming sessions are more casual and playing in 1080p at high FPS rates appeals to you, you still don’t need the latest of the latest. Same for work. Are you a video editor, 3D design professional or do scientific calculations? Long live multicore processors with lots of threads. If that scenario is rare again, a more modest and even older-generation processor can be a great option.
  • Memory: one might think that in this RAM memory, the more the better. The truth is that it is not. Few scenarios today—virtualization, 3D design, scientific calculations—make that assumption true. For the vast majority of users – gamers included – the recommendation is clear: 16 GB of RAM is the ideal amount.
  • SSD or HDD: there are not many doubts here either. SSD drives have revived old PCs stagnant by the hard drives of the past, and have become an almost mandatory component in any current PC or laptop. If you need a lot of storage capacity, you always have time to connect conventional drives both internally and externally —traditional hard drives last for a while, for the record—, but having an SSD drive, even the old ones with a SATA connection, is one of the best investments any user can make. Or the best, directly. I would not say so much about betting on a PCIe 4.0 drive – the difference with an M.2 PCIe 3.0 NVMe is only noticeable in certain scenarios of intensive use of the drives – but of course having a drive of this last type is something that helps in a way spectacular to make your experience with your PC or laptop much more fluid.
  • Graphic card: do not follow the example of the editor who counted his mistakes. As with the processor, if you are going to dedicate the PC to gaming here there is not much to say, and if you can buy an RTX 3090 go ahead – I would not buy the recent 3090 Ti, it is not profitable unless you can really afford it. But if you play only occasionally and can “make do” with not playing at full detail and resolution – or you play a lot of indies – there are much more affordable options that offer a very satisfying experience. There is also the other option, of course: that you use the PC to work and have, for example, a console to play. It is also not a bad idea to separate these two scenarios.
  • Display: Very hand in hand with the graphics card and our usage scenario. Gaming monitors with high refresh rates — but with lower resolution, often 1080p — are a good option for those intensive gamers, but if you want to use it for work I recommend at least a good 27-inch monitor with QHD resolution (2,560 x 1,440) although Of course there are options for all tastes and the ultra-panoramic ones can also be a great alternative.

There are of course other components in which it is possible to invest, but the maxim of “invest in what you use” is once again the one that should guide our purchase decision. Do we really need liquid cooling or that mouse with 26 programmable buttons? Everything counts, and in the end the difficult exercise of being honest with ourselves (“Ugh, I’m still getting excited and I’m not going to use this much”) can save us a lot of money and the occasional disappointment.

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We have talked about the case of the traditional Windows PC, but in reality this type of excessive spending and underutilized is common in the Apple segment as well. Studio Macs with the Apple M1 Max or Ultra chips are great, but still not ideal for someone like me (I use a Mac mini M1 for work). Often there is a big difference between what you want and what you really needand recognizing it and acting accordingly is more complicated than it seems.

Having said that, I would like to conclude by making it clear that in the end all this does not matter too much. The reality is that it costs a lot to earn money, so it is tricky to say how to spend it or not: that each one spends it as he considers best: what matters is that you are happy with that purchase, take advantage of it more or less.

Hello, my name is Javier and I have spent money on PC components that I have then totally wasted. If…

Hello, my name is Javier and I have spent money on PC components that I have then totally wasted. If…

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