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What is the most over-rated PC upgrade and why?

Not everyone might agree with me on this, but this is what I think:

- Any RGB component that costs at least $50 extra just for the lighting, but has totally the same performance as the non-RGB equivalent

- Membrane keyboards that cost over $100, I'm looking at you Razer

- Overkill CPU, 8 or more cores aren't necessary for gaming

- Overkill RAM, I think above 3600mhz is beyond silly and just a waste of money, let's see what DDR5 brings in real performance differences

- One that I personally dislike. People buying crazy high Wattage and expensive PSUs for a system that doesn't need it. Let's say like 1000W for a RTX 2060 system for example, I often see those. I personally like to be in the right margin. It's good to have headroom, but who knows if you ever will upgrade to that RTX 3090 you're talking about. 

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Just now, FRD said:

- Any RGB component that costs at least $50 extra just for the lighting, but has totally the same performance as the non-RGB equivalent

Yeah, thats like your opinion, man.

But I do agree.

 

... but I'm no expert

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8 hours ago, PineyCreek said:

I'm reminded of auto enthusiasts joking about how swapping a metal hood/bonnet for a carbon fiber one would definitely make your car go faster...and then I can't help but mentally tie that to Ray Tracing on the 2k-series Nvidia cards...or RGB fans.

Racing environments often involve figuring out how to get every advantage possible while staying within the rules. Even seemingly minuscule changes, such as a lighter hood, can make the difference if all else is equal. The slight change in weight distribution probably accounts for greater alterations in handling and performance than absolute weight reduction alone. 


On the street, it’s probably more for aesthetics than practicality. If you’re pushing your car to such extent that minor weight savings are meaningful, you’re quite likely committing several felonies, and should probably knock it off. 
 

What does RGB do for me? Probably keeping  me awake if I’m running a render or encode overnight. 

The pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge.

Forever in search of my reason to exist.

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The recommendations made by tech-savy people are generally pretty level-headed, so I can't name an example of an 'overrated' upgrade.

 

If I can include non tech-savy people though, the most overrated upgrade is a RAM upgrade.

The amount of times people have come to have their RAM upgraded, thinking it will solve all their issues is astounding.

 

For example I have had people wanting to add memory to their Pentium 4 or Athlon 64 machines, thinking that will revive those into proper machines.

Or people wanting to add RAM to their laptop, to play games better; while the laptop only had an i5 and no graphics card.

 

5 hours ago, Alcarin said:

Mechanical keyboards: This is a highly subjective thing here, first and foremost. Typing-wise they are nice, but compared to a good quality membrane keyboard I have never really felt much of a difference. I also find many mechanical switches to be quite loud or tougher to actuate (quieter switches take more force iirc). I "downgraded" from a Corsair mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches (the keyboard was out of warranty and had a bad cord) to a Razer Cynosa V2. I'm happy with the change.

There are good and bad membrane keyboards in my mind, same for mechanical keyboards.

For me, mechanical keyboards have evolved more into a hobby, rather than just a thing I find necessary.

 

They are nice to type on, but mainly because I found the sort of switches I really like. So I would personally never claim every mechanical keyboard is better than every membrane board for example.

"We're all in this together, might as well be friends" Tom, Toonami.

 mini_cardboard: a 4% keyboard build log and how keyboards workhttps://linustechtips.com/topic/1328547-mini_cardboard-a-4-keyboard-build-log-and-how-keyboards-work/

 

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6 hours ago, Alcarin said:

I "downgraded" from a Corsair mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches (the keyboard was out of warranty and had a bad cord) to a Razer Cynosa V2. I'm happy with the change.

You want to sell it?

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4 hours ago, Giganthrax said:

I write for a living, and I literally get hand and wrist discomfort when typing on membrane keyboards for hours on end, whereas I can type on my mechanical keyboard with cherry mx blues all days long without getting any discomfort. Also, something about mechanical keyboards makes it much more difficult for me to hit multiple keys at the same time. 

 

But yeah, paying a premium for a mechanical keyboard is pointless if all you're doing is gaming and browsing the net. 

I do a great deal of typing as well. I do a lot for work as well as writing my own story. Like I said, it's a subjective thing. Plus I've always thought that Cherry MX Blues were insanely annoying. The loud clicks make me anxious and restless.

2 hours ago, Bitter said:

You want to sell it?

Already did.

PC SETUP: Intel i9 10850K \ 32GB Corsair Vengeance Pro DDR4-3600C16 RAM | EVGA Geforce GTX 1080 | MSI Z490 Gaming Carbon WIFI M/B | Corsair H100i Pro 240mm AIO | 500GB Samsung 850 Evo + 500GB Samsung 970 Evo Plus SSDs | EVGA SuperNova 850 P2 | Fractal Design Meshify C | Razer Cynosa V2 | Corsair Scimitar Pro RGB (worn out) | Gigabyte G27Q & LG 29UM67-P

 

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Ram. Upgrading from 8 gig to 16 gig made no difference. 

 

Although upgrading ram to dual channel in laptops, which often ship with single channel, can be a good performance boost. 

Sudo make me a sandwich 

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For me, high end motherboards (as in over $200 on mainstream platforms.) The midrange on both sides has gotten good enough that unless you're LN2 overclocking, a $100-200 board will get the most out of every component in your system. I keep seeing 3700Xs on Crosshair 8s and every time I think "what percentage of your build cost was motherboard..."

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9 hours ago, minibois said:

The recommendations made by tech-savy people are generally pretty level-headed, so I can't name an example of an 'overrated' upgrade.

 

If I can include non tech-savy people though, the most overrated upgrade is a RAM upgrade.

The amount of times people have come to have their RAM upgraded, thinking it will solve all their issues is astounding.

 

For example I have had people wanting to add memory to their Pentium 4 or Athlon 64 machines, thinking that will revive those into proper machines.

Or people wanting to add RAM to their laptop, to play games better; while the laptop only had an i5 and no graphics card.

 

There are good and bad membrane keyboards in my mind, same for mechanical keyboards.

For me, mechanical keyboards have evolved more into a hobby, rather than just a thing I find necessary.

 

They are nice to type on, but mainly because I found the sort of switches I really like. So I would personally never claim every mechanical keyboard is better than every membrane board for example.

The ram part makes sense, more so in a general age sense. A lot of people come from a time in which ram, actually made a huge difference. In those days, there was no gpu or heavy 2d/3d cards. Everything was cpu intensive and the only way to upgrade general system speed, was ram.

 

For me, the most over rated component, is the gpu and the market price agrees with me.

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11 hours ago, Zodiark1593 said:

Racing environments often involve figuring out how to get every advantage possible while staying within the rules. Even seemingly minuscule changes, such as a lighter hood, can make the difference if all else is equal. The slight change in weight distribution probably accounts for greater alterations in handling and performance than absolute weight reduction alone. 


On the street, it’s probably more for aesthetics than practicality. If you’re pushing your car to such extent that minor weight savings are meaningful, you’re quite likely committing several felonies, and should probably knock it off. 
 

What does RGB do for me? Probably keeping  me awake if I’m running a render or encode overnight. 

@trag1c@Zodiark1593

 

Oh sure, I agree.  Usually that joke is made in reference to the same people that put $2000 rims on a $2000 car.  Form over function.  If you have the money to afford a carbon fiber hood, why not put that into the actual mechanical aspects of your car that could be better, etc.  I feel the same about RGB, but RGB doesn't cost as much as carbon fiber usually 🙂

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The CPU, what you have already is pretty much going to be good even over a time span of years.

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9 minutes ago, RoseLuck462 said:

The CPU, what you have is pretty much going to be good even over a time span of years.

Yeah honestly I agree. I was running an i5 2400 for a while, and honestly for gaming it was a nice solid pairing with my 1060. Only reason I upgraded to a cheap ryzen cpu (1400 for 85 bucks) was for upgradeability and better performance when editing. But honestly, except for in CSGO my frames are really similar

NOT A PROFESSIONAL, just a tech nerd. I am a human and can be incorrect. dont forget to quote me and put full specs in troubleshooting posts

Main Setup (all prices in USD since its pretty widespread and well known)    PCPartPicker List Link

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AMD Ryzen 5 1400 CPU - $85, Deepcool Gammaxx 400 V2 Blue CPU Cooler - $25, Biostar B450MH AM4 Motherboard - $65, Timetec 16GB (2x8) 3200MHz CL16 DDR4 RAM - $60, Adata SU650 240GB M.2 SSD - $30, WD Caviar Blue 250GB 7200RPM HDD - $20, Seagate Barracuda  320GB 7200RPM HDD - $20, MSI Aero Nvidia GTX 1060 3GB GPU - $200, Cougar MG130G Micro-ATX Case - $50, Aresgame AGK750 Fully Modular 80+ Gold PSU - $90, HP 22EB 21.5" 1080P 60Hz Monitor - $100, Samsung 21.5" 2S22E450D 1080P 60Hz Monitor - $90, Sceptre E205-W 19.5" 1600-3R 900P 75Hz Monitor - $70, GK73X Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboard (Gateron Red Switches) - $70, HK Gaming Dye Sub Chalk Keycaps - $40, Steelseries Rival 3 Mouse - $30, Aresgame RGB Mouse Pad - Came with bundle, Random XXL Amazon Mouse Pad - $10, Widesen USB Condenser Mic - $20, Gertisan Mic Arm - $12 (adapter needed, + $4), OneOdio Over Ear Headphones - $33, Cooler Master SickleFlow 120MM Blue Fan - $10, Iceberg Thermal IceGALE 140MM Teal Fan 2 Pack - $45, Cougar 120MM Case Fan - Included with MG 130G

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Rack Project PC (1)

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Intel Core i5-2400 CPU - $25, Vetroo L5 CPU Cooler - $30, Dell Optiplex 390 LGA 1155 Motherboard - $15, G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB (2x8) 1866MHz CL10 DDR3 RAM  - $50, Leven 120GB 2.5" SSD - $22, MSI Aero Nvidia GTX 1050 TI 4GB - $150, Segotep GP 600W Non-Modular 80+ Gold PSU - $52, Tecware Spectre RGB Pro Mechanical Keyboard (Outemu Brown Switches) - $70, Pictek T16 Mouse - $23

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Intel Core i5-2400 CPU - $25, Enermax ETS-N31 CPU Cooler - $25, Dell Optiplex 390 LGA 1155 Motherboard - $15, 8GB (2x4) Hynix 1600MHz CL11 DDR3 RAM - $30, Leven 120GB 2.5" SSD - $22, Intel HD 2000 Graphics - Integrated into CPU, Cooler Master MasterWatt Lite 600W Non-Modular 80+ PSU - $50, HP Office Keyboard - $5, Havit Mouse - $10

 "I had the parts lying around" PC

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AMD A8-4555M CPU, "Stock" Cooler, Coinmine ITX Motherboard - ($Total of 3=$35), 8GB (2x4) Hynix 1333MHz CLsomething DDR3 SODIMM RAM - $22, HP 120GB 2.5" SSD - $203, AMD Radeon 7600G Graphics - Integrated into CPU, EVGA N1 400W Non-Modular PSU - $40, InWin 303 (Yes, I know its a ridiculously expensive and high end case for this type of build. I got one for free and had it lying around.) - $90, Thermaltake Riing 120MM Blue Fan (x3) - $17 Each, Cooler Master 120MM Case Fan - $10, Redragon S107 Keyboard + Mouse + Mouse Pad - $37

Other parts I have lying around

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3 Dell Optiplex Stock Coolers (1 broken), Cooler Master T2 Cooler, Intel Stock Cooler, Replace Power 420W PSU, Broken FX-8350, Broken Asrock 970 Motherboard, 2x4GB DDR3 RAM 1333MHz, a Dell Office KB, a bunch of office mice

Dell Inspiron 15-3575 Laptop

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Intel Celeron N4000 CPU, 4GB RAM, Windows 10 Home Activated 64 Bit, 500GB HDD, Intel UHD 600 Graphics

Gateway Vintage Laptop from 2006 probably

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Intel Core 2 Duo T5500, 3GB RAM, Windows Vista Home Premium Activated 32 Bit, 250GB HDD, Intel 965 Graphics

 

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On 4/3/2021 at 4:47 AM, AMD A10-9600P said:

Lol yep, just wanted to add my two cents before the entire 11th gen line got slated, as it's only the socketed desktop parts that are a massive let down

The 11400/f is an excellent CPU. The rest are vary between "relatively good " (11600k) to "why" (11900k)

I am NOT a professional and a lot of the time what I'm saying is based on limited knowledge and experience. I'm going to be incorrect at times. 
My build:
CPU: 10700k Oc'd to 5.0 ghz                            GPU: RTX 3070 ventus 2x
Motherboard: Asus z490-v                                Cooler: Deepcool castle ex 120mm
Ram: Team tforce delta 32gb 3200mhz cl16     Case: Phanteks p418r (p360a ripoff) 
PSU: Apevia Prestige 800w

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To me the 10700k seems pretty underrated. It's a very solid cpu. at 5.0ghz it draws 175-185w under full load. the Asus z490-v is a sh*t teir motherboard, I wouldn't recommend it for anything past a 10600k for light oc's only. Tforce ram is pretty but cpu cooler clearance can be an issue on them, so beware. the RTX 3070 is obviously a great card, but the ventus 2x is just horrible. Don't buy it, not now, not ever. It's flimsy af, you can't increase the stock power limit, the cooler is worse than the one on the 3070FE. If it's a choice between this and nothing, choose nothing. The deepcool castle ex 120mm isn't really on sale outside of prebuilts, but it's a nice pretty cooler, gets my 10700k up to 96c after a prime95 cpu test for 15 minutes. The p418r is basically what it looks like. P360a, slap a few cyberpowerpc logos on it, and you're golden. The Apevia Prestige 800w is bad, but not terrible. Runs respectably quiet and isn't a bomb. More than a lot of PSU's in prebuilts can claim.

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I a AZIO Retro MK Classic and while the Blue Clones Switches are fine, the Typewriter Keys do come loose and I have to put them back in.  There is no backlighting neither.

 

 

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Cooling upgrades. In my experience, expensive cpu heatsinks aren't worth it, the main benefit might be a fan that's quieter. Having a more than a couple good case fans is also a waste of money imo. 

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$100 of RGB Corsair fans that hardly improve cooling and light up the inside of your case to.....what? Reveal the areas of your PC that you haven't dusted?

My Build (3600X, RTX 3070)

 

disclaimer: i probably don't know what I'm talking about but I try to give the best advice I can

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18 minutes ago, mwagen said:

Cooling upgrades. In my experience, expensive cpu heatsinks aren't worth it, the main benefit might be a fan that's quieter. Having a more than a couple good case fans is also a waste of money imo. 

There's one other reason why people buy huge air coolers with tons of fans: a very high ambient temperature. Temperatures are already hitting the low 40s (or above 100 for you Fahrenheit people) where I live (I genuinely don't know what i'll do when summer hits apart from using my PC only at night), and many small coolers just aren't able to keep CPUs from thermal throttling when they're hit hard. In these situations, something like the noctua nh-d15 I upgraded to recently made the difference between thermal throttling at 95 degrees (celsius) and full performance at 85 degrees (celsius).

But yes, apart from such fringe cases, it's usually form over function.

 

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I might take some flak for this, but one overrated component could be the GPU. Hear me out. There's a shortage now right? A lot of people are scrambling to get their hands on the newest stuff but most of them likely don't even need to upgrade, but feel like they have to because GPUs are in short supply. There might be a word for that, where people are convinced they need something just because it's in short supply, but I see that in my social circle happening right now. Will there be gains to be made from upgrading? Probably. But is another ten or twenty frames really worth the cost of a graphics card? I think people think their current set up is a lot worse than it truly is, especially when new hardware comes out. I mean I'm rocking a 980Ti on frickin' Maxwell from 2015, like three generations removed from the 3000 series, and yet all my games run smooth and nearly max graphics.

 

Yes this depends on what you want to play, but I see people putting A LOT of stock into their graphics card when maybe, just maybe the one you got is actually pretty good and there's little reason to scramble for something just because it may be slightly faster. IDK, I know people have harddons for GPUs (it has the most posts on this website I think), but sometimes, just sometimes, it's an overrated component.

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hmm...

for now, I would say more than 8 core CPU for the vast majority of high-end PC gamers, 6 core for more casual gamers

i bought a 3900x thinking i would fully utilise it (not in games, but still), but other than very specific workload, i barely use 75% of it (>50% in MHW, which is the game i play)

mostly single thread bound, and it's pretty annoying

 

but more cores does give a buttery smooth frametime graph though

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none atm

I hate Intel's pricing, Ryzen's weird quirks, Nvidia's pricing, and Radeon GPUs in general

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Sony Xperia Z1 / Z2 / 10 ii, Asus Strix 970 / 1070, Samsung SSD, WD HDD, Corsair PSUs (AX, RM, CX(grey)), GeForce GPU, NZXT N450/S340, be quiet! Coolers, G.Skill Trident RAM, Logitech M525, Logitech G440, Razer Deathadder Elite

Products I hate:

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Xperia Z3, XiaoMi 5c, Radeon GPUs, Razer Audio Products, any bloatwares

Companies I absolutely adore: (and hope it stays that way)

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be quiet! - sent me AM4 mounting for my DRP3 even though it's way past the timeframe stated, no questions asked

Corsair - very good RMA experience, absolutely recommend

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Nvidia, Intel, Apple, TMT (Thundermatch, a retailer)

Personal Blacklisted Companies:

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Acer: shit tier quality products, shit tier customer service thus far, they "tried" to solve my issue but they arent really doing anything but delaying and delaying. (on-going case since July)

Gigabyte: horrible customer service (gigabyte had literally 0 customer service, asked me to go to retailer with NO WAY to email them about a question) but at least they fixed my shit in ONE MONTH (would probably take me 1 hour to fix if they let me email them)

XiaoMi Phones: built like a tank but the software is buggy as all hell

Seagate HDD: had too many dead seagate drives

Kingston SSD: 300V controller swap thingy

Razer (except their mouse)

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Any PC Component and Peripheral with RGB because to me it's just useless. The RGB will only distract you while Gaming or trying to get something done. Full Tempered glass Cases and therefore in some cases extremely blocked of Airflow, like you'll only hurt your expensive Components by not cooling them properly and you also add the hazard of it being easy to break glass and therefore hurt yourself and or your Components. I have nothing against a side Window but having all side panels made of glass and thus capitalizing on the structural integrity of the case is taking it too far for me. If you've got a great case with lots of Airflow then technically you never have to upgrade it either if you'll always want to use that ATX standard and don't have to add more drives or Cooling or GPU becomes too long. 

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Similarly related to some posts before.

Basically unnecessary upgrading your PC. A lot of times I see people that want to upgrade, just because "they want to" or "feel like it", while it's not even necessary. 

Sometimes I just wonder: why? Some people just love to spend as much money as possible on their hobby though.

I know we're all enthusiasts, but it's not like it's that much needed to upgrade every year or every 2 years. I guess it's what also keep this hobby fun.

Upgrading to the mainstream components to experience, see and feel the performance everyone is talking about. It's like a mainstream trend to follow.

Funny how human brains work sometimes: If a lot of people want it, I need it too

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16 hours ago, JustFarmer said:

The ram part makes sense, more so in a general age sense. A lot of people come from a time in which ram, actually made a huge difference. In those days, there was no gpu or heavy 2d/3d cards. Everything was cpu intensive and the only way to upgrade general system speed, was ram.

Yes, I do appreciate how they came to the conclusion - their reasoning being based on experiences from the past - but that in my mind made it an overrated upgrade in this age of tech.

It's just often difficult with customers to get that idea out of their head, when helping them upgrade their PC.

"We're all in this together, might as well be friends" Tom, Toonami.

 mini_cardboard: a 4% keyboard build log and how keyboards workhttps://linustechtips.com/topic/1328547-mini_cardboard-a-4-keyboard-build-log-and-how-keyboards-work/

 

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On 4/3/2021 at 4:08 AM, Lakshya Siddhi said:

Many a times you think that one specific upgrade will drastically improve your experience/  performance of your PC but it doesn't , what was it for you??

I feel like VRMs and their respective heatsinks are pretty overrated. You don't need a beefy heatsink to get good temps in most cases, and people usually think that they need overkill vrms to overclock. Say you're using a B550 aorus master to overclock a 5950x. In basically all normal use cases, you don't need the VRM heatsinks on the board basically at all, the vrms just don't run that hot. You could probably get away with overclocking a 5950x on a b550-pro vdh (A $110 board with what is considered pretty 'meh' vrms) if you're just using a chip with fairly average silicon on an ambient cooler.

I am NOT a professional and a lot of the time what I'm saying is based on limited knowledge and experience. I'm going to be incorrect at times. 
My build:
CPU: 10700k Oc'd to 5.0 ghz                            GPU: RTX 3070 ventus 2x
Motherboard: Asus z490-v                                Cooler: Deepcool castle ex 120mm
Ram: Team tforce delta 32gb 3200mhz cl16     Case: Phanteks p418r (p360a ripoff) 
PSU: Apevia Prestige 800w

Notes:
Spoiler

To me the 10700k seems pretty underrated. It's a very solid cpu. at 5.0ghz it draws 175-185w under full load. the Asus z490-v is a sh*t teir motherboard, I wouldn't recommend it for anything past a 10600k for light oc's only. Tforce ram is pretty but cpu cooler clearance can be an issue on them, so beware. the RTX 3070 is obviously a great card, but the ventus 2x is just horrible. Don't buy it, not now, not ever. It's flimsy af, you can't increase the stock power limit, the cooler is worse than the one on the 3070FE. If it's a choice between this and nothing, choose nothing. The deepcool castle ex 120mm isn't really on sale outside of prebuilts, but it's a nice pretty cooler, gets my 10700k up to 96c after a prime95 cpu test for 15 minutes. The p418r is basically what it looks like. P360a, slap a few cyberpowerpc logos on it, and you're golden. The Apevia Prestige 800w is bad, but not terrible. Runs respectably quiet and isn't a bomb. More than a lot of PSU's in prebuilts can claim.

Motherboard Tier List                   How many watts do I need?
Best B550 Motherboards             Best Intel Z490 Motherboards

PC Troubleshooting                      You don't need a big PSU

PSU Tier List                                Common pc building mistakes 
PC BUILD Guide! (POV)              How to Overclock your CPU 

 

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The most pointless pc upgrade is adding rgb to your rig.

Only cool kids (dark mode users) can read this.

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17 hours ago, RoseLuck462 said:

The CPU, what you have already is pretty much going to be good even over a time span of years.

unless its the cpu on your raspberry pi

Only cool kids (dark mode users) can read this.

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