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Is it worth buying a new desktop right now?

Last response: in Opinions and Experiences
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April 17, 2014 3:37:52 AM

Currently I only own a laptop, bought it around three and a half years ago. Works fairly well and I can do all the basic stuff such as browsing and word-procesing. Games work to a certain extent, and all on low quality.

I don't play a lot of games, although I am a programmer and some IDEs such as Visual Studio are extremely slow on my laptop. Which is why I think I need an upgrade.

I'm thinking of building a desktop PC (would be my first time), and I'm currently researching and learning about different PC parts.

Recently, there have been announcements of DDR4 memory and Broadwell CPUs. Taking DDR as an example, as I understand it a motherboard supporting DDR3 memory can't support DDR4.

So my question is, is it worth getting a new desktop right now or do I wait? DDR4 and Broadwell are the only "updates" I know of, don't know if anything else is in development or announced which is worth waiting for...

More about : worth buying desktop

April 17, 2014 3:44:17 AM

bbezzina73 said:
Currently I only own a laptop, bought it around three and a half years ago. Works fairly well and I can do all the basic stuff such as browsing and word-procesing. Games work to a certain extent, and all on low quality.

I don't play a lot of games, although I am a programmer and some IDEs such as Visual Studio are extremely slow on my laptop. Which is why I think I need an upgrade.

I'm thinking of building a desktop PC (would be my first time), and I'm currently researching and learning about different PC parts.

Recently, there have been announcements of DDR4 memory and Broadwell CPUs. Taking DDR as an example, as I understand it a motherboard supporting DDR3 memory can't support DDR4.

So my question is, is it worth getting a new desktop right now or do I wait? DDR4 and Broadwell are the only "updates" I know of, don't know if anything else is in development or announced which is worth waiting for...


My advice get the pc now. There is *always* some new technology just a few months away. When DDR4 is released its probably going to be at lower speeds so the high performance DDR3 memory available now will probably be faster (the same happened with the DDR2 - DDR3 transition).

Broadwell is going to mainly focus on improving the on-die GPU, so won't be that much of a step up from Haswell in cpu performance (which itself was a minor bump from Ivy which was a minor bump from Sandy, in terms of CPU performance Sandy is still very credible despite its age).
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April 17, 2014 3:54:12 AM

If its only about IDEs speed then it has 2 things to do with:
1) HDD
2) CPU

Both will affect quicker response of the VS and compilation process itself.
Currently we've had a swap of the laptops in my work office, indeed I'm working on Clarion IDE as well as VS 2010,after a swap of the HDD for SSD the response is far better and noticeable.
If you have core I5 or I7 already on your laptop then the only need is to change the system+ide drive.
Id just buy a 200GB+ SSD, take out the old drive and put it into a USB bay... just like we have done here.

About the DDR 4 vs DDR3 its simple... the memory sockets can have different pinouts thus it can be impossible to swap those sticks another thing is a signal processing.. while at some times ago this job was done by mobo north bridge now its done by a module in CPU thus its now also CPU depended. So if the pinouts are not compatibile and/or signal is processed on different pins then the mobo has to be changed as well.

So back to your question... if its only about the programming IDE then swapping drive for an SSD will give you a noticeable boost, while any other components possibly wont.

While i can see ppl already are suggesting building a new PC... im still pointing my solution...
If you have Corei5 and 4Gb ram then the new build wont do any good for this needs.. if you don't, then considering a new build might be an option.
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April 17, 2014 3:59:25 AM

OP the short answer is there is never an ideal time and always a new tech on the way. Just build one now and don't worry about it, I'm still using a desktop from 2007 at home as a backup machine and for most tasks it performs similarly to my i7 which is also about 3 years old! If you use quality hardware and an SSD the machine will be quick and will likely last quite some time.
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April 17, 2014 5:04:51 AM

cdrkf said:
bbezzina73 said:
Currently I only own a laptop, bought it around three and a half years ago. Works fairly well and I can do all the basic stuff such as browsing and word-procesing. Games work to a certain extent, and all on low quality.

I don't play a lot of games, although I am a programmer and some IDEs such as Visual Studio are extremely slow on my laptop. Which is why I think I need an upgrade.

I'm thinking of building a desktop PC (would be my first time), and I'm currently researching and learning about different PC parts.

Recently, there have been announcements of DDR4 memory and Broadwell CPUs. Taking DDR as an example, as I understand it a motherboard supporting DDR3 memory can't support DDR4.

So my question is, is it worth getting a new desktop right now or do I wait? DDR4 and Broadwell are the only "updates" I know of, don't know if anything else is in development or announced which is worth waiting for...


My advice get the pc now. There is *always* some new technology just a few months away. When DDR4 is released its probably going to be at lower speeds so the high performance DDR3 memory available now will probably be faster (the same happened with the DDR2 - DDR3 transition).

Broadwell is going to mainly focus on improving the on-die GPU, so won't be that much of a step up from Haswell in cpu performance (which itself was a minor bump from Ivy which was a minor bump from Sandy, in terms of CPU performance Sandy is still very credible despite its age).


Thanks for your answer and clarifying those matters. I realise that I will never have the newest technology, but I ask about DDR4 because a new DDR memory does not come out frequently or every year. I would like to buy a system which will perform well in the long run and with the latest technologies I am able to get or afford. Buying a DDR4-supported motherboard directly would save me the total cost of buying a DDR3-motherboard now and a DDR4-motherboard in a few years time. That is why I ask if it is worth it.
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April 17, 2014 5:10:44 AM

bbezzina73 said:


Thanks for your answer and clarifying those matters. I realise that I will never have the newest technology, but I ask about DDR4 because a new DDR memory does not come out frequently or every year. I would like to buy a system which will perform well in the long run and with the latest technologies I am able to get or afford. Buying a DDR4-supported motherboard directly would save me the total cost of buying a DDR3-motherboard now and a DDR4-motherboard in a few years time. That is why I ask if it is worth it.


People are still running DDR2 now, I really wouldn't be too concerned to be honest!
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April 17, 2014 5:15:55 AM

Ra_V_en said:
If its only about IDEs speed then it has 2 things to do with:
1) HDD
2) CPU

Both will affect quicker response of the VS and compilation process itself.
Currently we've had a swap of the laptops in my work office, indeed I'm working on Clarion IDE as well as VS 2010,after a swap of the HDD for SSD the response is far better and noticeable.
If you have core I5 or I7 already on your laptop then the only need is to change the system+ide drive.
Id just buy a 200GB+ SSD, take out the old drive and put it into a USB bay... just like we have done here.

About the DDR 4 vs DDR3 its simple... the memory sockets can have different pinouts thus it can be impossible to swap those sticks another thing is a signal processing.. while at some times ago this job was done by mobo north bridge now its done by a module in CPU thus its now also CPU depended. So if the pinouts are not compatibile and/or signal is processed on different pins then the mobo has to be changed as well.

So back to your question... if its only about the programming IDE then swapping drive for an SSD will give you a noticeable boost, while any other components possibly wont.

While i can see ppl already are suggesting building a new PC... im still pointing my solution...
If you have Corei5 and 4Gb ram then the new build wont do any good for this needs.. if you don't, then considering a new build might be an option.


I actually have an i3-Core with 4GB RAM. And I agree, a SSD would greatly improve speed time and I had already planned to install one in my new system.

It is not just for IDEs though. I'm not a hardcore gamer, but I do play games, and would really like to play an average game to its full potential. Even to play HD movies; right now my laptop is able to play them for a short period of time before everything starts slowing down or the laptop overheats.

Another reason why I want a desktop is because desktops are "always" going to be more powerful and efficient than a laptop. Laptops were useful because they were portable. Now I don't need a portable device except my smartphone, so I don't look at laptops anymore.

So I will get a better CPU and a SSD like you said. My question is, when is the best time to get them?
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April 17, 2014 5:20:48 AM

lol if you want it then now is the best time! I think you are over thinking this big time! I built a computer last week for a friend using an Ivy Bridge i3, which is discontinued. But it's quick and he's well happy with it and it cost <£350 for MiniITX build. If the money is right it doesn't matter, it will hold a decent second hand value for some time yet if you want to sell bits and upgrade. Desktop computing is about selling the bits before the devalue and buying them when they are at their cheapest point. That's the only way to stay ahead of the curve.
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April 17, 2014 5:37:38 AM

Poprin said:
lol if you want it then now is the best time! I think you are over thinking this big time! I built a computer last week for a friend using an Ivy Bridge i3, which is discontinued. But it's quick and he's well happy with it and it cost <£350 for MiniITX build. If the money is right it doesn't matter, it will hold a decent second hand value for some time yet if you want to sell bits and upgrade. Desktop computing is about selling the bits before the devalue and buying them when they are at their cheapest point. That's the only way to stay ahead of the curve.


Hmm good advice Poprin. So how do you buy parts at their cheapest point? I'm still new to buying parts and building a PC....
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April 17, 2014 5:57:59 AM

Well it's not an exact science, prices change all the time. I live in the UK so it might be different for different countries but at the moment ironically the new Intel Haswell processors are very competitive because Intel are trying to market their new range. So for example FX AMD processors are cheap at the moment, but because availability of good AM3 motherboards isn't so great you loose that cost saving because the board is twice the price of an 1150 board. The cheapest processor / motherboard combo at the moment that gives you good performance with latest tech (ie SATA3 / USB3 / etc) is to go with an FM2 board and an Athlon 750k and bang a good gaming card in and away you go. However if you want some upgrade room, solid resale value I would go with the Intel Haswell platform. The i3-4330 is a really good processor, if you go i5 or i7 unless you get the K series unlocked CPU just go for the lowest clocked non power saving version. Because the couple of 100mhz clock speed is barely noticeable and often there is a big price hike for the faster clock speed.
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April 17, 2014 5:59:12 AM

Obviously laptops in general are not meant for a gaming platform.
My answer was based on the programming needs which i believe can be done on the laptop anyways...only with small changes, if you have speed drops you should consider hovering the laptop radiator.. maybe it has too much of dust.
If you want a gaming platform then laptop is bad idea anyways... and waiting for the cheapest point will take you nowhere... it's obvious price will drop at some point since it always does with new technology... its only mater of you want it now or later... btw gaming rig <> programming rig in my vocabulary, I've 2 stationary PC's for gaming and 2 laptops for non entertainment usage, all doing great for the software which are meant to be used with.
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