1CoolerMaster Elite 335 PC CaseThe end of regular PC price drops?

I reg­u­larly build PCs for people, and have recently been look­ing at a high end spec for someone.  I star­ted, as I often do, by look­ing at what I’d got for a high end sys­tem about a year ago, to see if it was worth mov­ing up the the new gen­er­a­tion, or if a sub­stan­tial drop in the older spec made it tempt­ing to repeat.  In the past the year old sys­tem has always been sub­stan­tially cheap­er, so I was quite sur­prised to find that this time it wasn’t. 

First, let’s look at the core parts of the sys­tem — then, and now.  I’ll also com­pare this to a new gen­er­a­tion equi­val­ent to see what that looks like.
Year old specold spec price Sept-2012old spec price Sept-2013New spec priceNew gen­er­a­tion spec
Giga­byte Z77-DS3H£70.91£68.96£87.64MSI Z87
OCZ Ver­tex 4 120Gb£89.99£84.99£84.99no change
Core i7 3770K 3.5GHz£259.45£260.93£268.88Core i7 4770K 3.5GHz
2x8Gb cor­sair 1600 CL10£69.77£101.69£101.69no change
£490.12£516.57£543.20

Ouch! So the new gen­er­a­tion sys­tem is £53.10 more expens­ive (about 10%) but the old spec, bought today, would be more expens­ive than it was a year ago!  This can’t be accoun­ted for by 1 volat­ile item (like RAM or HDD), because whilst the RAM has increased by £30 (over 40%), none of the oth­er com­pon­ents has dropped by an appre­ciable amount.  It looks like Intel’s dom­in­ance of the CPU world is mean­ing speed improve­ments are much slower to arrive, and their older CPUs aren’t fall­ing in price.  This in turn means mother­boards and RAM also aren’t devalu­ing either.

The full spec

Lets look and see if prices for oth­er parts of the sys­tem have dropped, for those look­ing to build an entire sys­tem

Year old specold spec price Sept-2012old spec price Sept-2013New spec priceNew gen­er­a­tion spec
Giga­byte Z77-DS3H£70.91£68.96£87.64MSI Z87
OCZ Ver­tex 4 120Gb£89.99£84.99£84.99no change
Core i7 3770K 3.5GHz£259.45£260.93£268.88Core i7 4770K 3.5GHz
2x8Gb cor­sair 1600 CL10£69.77£101.69£101.69no change
Seag­ate 2Tb 7200 64Mb£79.98£69.99£69.99no change
CM Élite 334U case£32.20£34.46£34.46no change
Cor­sair CX 500W PSU£46.66£44.61£44.61no change
LiteOn 22x DVD#RW£13.13£12.29£12.29LiteOn 24x DVD#RW
HD 7770 1Gb DDR5£98.00£75.51£75.51no change
£760.08£753.43£780.06

So the old spec has dropped by £7 over­all.  A new gen­er­a­tion machine, which is largely the same spec, is £20 more.  So really, things haven’t changed at all.  In a year!

Two lessons learned

1. Giv­en that there is no obvi­ous reas­on for the cur­rent trend to change, now is not a good time to “wait for prices to fall”  If you’re look­ing for new kit then now really is as good a time as any to invest.

2. Desktop PC innov­a­tion looks to have col­lapsed as the mar­ket has moved to mobile (i.e. laptop, tab­let and phone).  Expect future gen­er­a­tions to offer the same (or very sim­il­ar) per­form­ance with lower power con­sump­tion.  This means older high per­form­ance desktop CPUs will con­tin­ue to hold their value, as the desktop upgrade mar­ket hasn’t ever been driv­en by a need to reduce power use.

Found this useful? Please do let us know by dropping a comment below. If you would like to subscribe please use the subscribe link on the menu at the top right. You can also share this with your friends by using the social links below. Cheers.

You might also like..

Leave a Reply

One Comment