Hardware products not to buy at Christmas

Hardware products not to buy at Christmas

Consoles will not be the only thing missing this Christmas: the semiconductor crisis has also hit the PC and hardware market hard, as evidenced by the situation we have been experiencing for a year now and which will also continue for a large part of 2022. How by now you know, video cards are the component that was most affected by shortage, but processors also had a bad time at the beginning of the year: if you remember, AMD's Ryzen 5000 were practically unavailable, or if they were available they had much higher prices to those suggested. And just so that we do not miss anything, around the month of May the appearance of the cryptocurrency Chia has put the market of SSD and Hard Disk in crisis, purchased in bulk by those who saw in the currency a sort of "new Bitcoin".

The moment of crisis has not prevented major manufacturers from releasing new products and new technologies: last November Intel released its 12th generation Alder Lake processors, introducing hybrid architecture for the first time in the x86 world and implementing new DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 standards, dedicated respectively to RAM and SSD, even if the latter are not yet on the market.

Today we want to offer you a short article, different from the usual, in which we indicate which ones are according to we the hardware components not to buy at Christmas, or more generally in this end 2021 / early 2022. We will not deal with specific products, but rather types of products that for various reasons are not worth the money. to buy today, whether it is because they are too immature, or because they are excessively overpriced.

Nvidia and AMD video cards

It will certainly seem obvious to you, but at present, unless you absolutely need it (for example for business purposes), don't buy a video card . At present, availability is still very scarce, with some specific models (in particular RTX 3070 and RTX 3070 Ti) completely unavailable, while prices are rising again. Just to give you some idea of ​​what are the average prices at which the cards can be found today, an RTX 3060 costs between 650 and 700 euros, double (or more) compared to the 339 euros proposed by Nvidia, while an RTX 3060 You can find it between 850 and 900 euros, against the 429 euros of the Nvidia price list. As we always remember, the customized models cost more than the Founders Edition ones, but usually the difference is around 100 euros or a little more.

Staying at Nvidia, going up the range perhaps becomes even worse. The RTX 3070 are practically unavailable, the RTX 3070 Ti have a cost between 1000 and 1200 euros (the price list would be 619 euros), the RTX 3080s are between 1400 and 1500 euros, against the 719 euros required by Nvidia for the FE model, now unavailable like all Founders Editions. The RTX 3080 Ti has a cost that is around 2000 euros, also in this case almost double the 1199 euros of the FE model, while the few RTX 3090s are available at prices from 2500 to 3000 euros, depending on the customization, compared to at a recommended price from Nvidia of 1549 euros.

On the AMD side, the situation is certainly no better: the entry level RX 6600 is between 550 and 600 euros, the RX 6600 XT between 650 and 750 euro, while the RX 6700 XT has a price that fluctuates between 900 and 1000 euro, against a price list proposed by AMD of about 520 euro. The RX 6800 is practically unobtainable, the RX 6800 XT has a price around 1500 euros (against the 700 euros of AMD), finally the RX 6900 XT can be found between 1600 and 1700 euros, while AMD offers the reference model for about 1000 euros.

The new DDR5 RAM

Also affected by the semiconductor crisis, even if to a lesser extent than the video cards, the DDR5 RAM is undoubtedly a novelty, but they are almost impossible to find and in our opinion it is not worth buying them in this period. The models that have debuted on the market so far offer frequencies between 4800MHz and 5200MHz, with CL40 latencies, and do not guarantee noteworthy performance improvements over DDR4 in games and main applications.

At present, if not use special software that properly exploit the bandwidth (much higher on the new DDR5), it doesn't make much sense to adopt the new standard, which among other things has a fairly important entry cost: prices are all around 380 and 400 euros, but can also reach 550 euros for the most performing models, with a frequency of 5600MHz and CL36 latency, moreover to use the DDR5 one is forced to switch to the Intel Alder Lake platform, the only one to support the new standard.

Motherboards with DDR5 RAM and PCIe 5.0 SSD Support

The highest-end motherboards for the new Intel Alder Lake processors guarantee DDR5 RAM and PCIe 5.0 SSD support, but we do not believe s a good time to buy them; these are recent components and not yet widely available, which in many cases are found at a higher price than the list price.

As previously mentioned, at present it makes very little sense to buy DDR5 RAM, unless you have extremely specific needs or want at all costs to have the latest technology available. The speech is then even more valid as regards the support for PCIe 5.0 SSDs, which at the moment are not even present on the market and which will probably arrive in 2022 forwarded. In short, if you want to assemble a new PC or update your current configuration with an Intel Alder Lake processor, our advice is to combine it with a mid-range motherboard, with support for DDR4 and PCIe 4.0 memories, so as to be able to save several hundred. euros but still have quality hardware with excellent performance.

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