Tag: PC

SSD Prices Surge, Significant Double-Digit Increase Expected

Buyers of solid-state drives (SSDs) might face higher prices soon. Prices for consumer SSDs already went up a lot in the first quarter of this year. Now, experts predict they’ll go up even more in the next few months. This means people building PCs will have to spend more money.

A report from TrendForce, which analyzes the IT market, says consumer SSD prices rose by 23-28 percent in the first quarter. They expect prices to go up another 10-15 percent in the second quarter, even though not many people are buying SSDs right now.

The report also says prices for NAND Flash memory, which is used in SSDs and other devices, could go up by 13-18 percent in the second quarter of 2024. It looks at price trends for different types of NAND Flash products, like mobile memory, consumer and business SSDs, and the materials used to make them.

It’s important to mention that prices for business SSDs went up a lot last year. In the last three months of the year, prices increased by 15 percent. This trend of higher prices continued into the first quarter of 2024, with prices going up by another 23-28 percent, just like for consumer SSDs. Experts predict that prices for business SSDs will go up even more this quarter, by 20-25 percent. This is because there’s a lot of demand from companies that provide online services in North America and China.

In contrast to the business SSD market, it’s reported that people are being more careful when buying client SSDs. Some companies making PCs are cutting down on the number of SSDs they’re ordering for the second quarter of 2024. The big price increases will probably make these companies even less likely to order SSDs in the second half of the year. Even though people are being cautious, prices for NAND Flash wafers are expected to keep going up because manufacturers want to make more profit.

In the market for mobile NAND, there’s a lot of demand for eMMC from Chinese smartphone brands. Also, the UFS market is growing because there’s more demand in places like India and Southeast Asia. This is likely to make prices for both eMMC and UFS go up by 10-15 percent in the second quarter of 2024.

About the Author: simonc

Why We Should Get the PS5 Pro

The PS5 Pro is a rumored upgrade for the PlayStation 5, although it hasn’t been officially confirmed yet. Some gamers who already have a PS5 wonder if this upgrade is really needed. Despite the lack of official confirmation, leaks suggest that the PS5 Pro is likely. Whether these rumors are accurate or not, there are reasons why a PS5 Pro could be useful.

4K Remains Elusive on Consoles

When the PS4 Pro came out, it was made for the increasing number of people buying 4K TVs. The regular PlayStation 4 was designed for 1080p TVs. But actually making games run in 4K was often difficult. That’s why the PS4 Pro had a special feature called “checkerboard” rendering to help with this.

When the PlayStation 5 came out, it could easily handle older PS4 games in 4K. That’s because the PS5 is much more powerful than the PS4. But with new games made just for the PS5, developers are choosing more fancy graphics over high resolution. Sometimes, they even have to lower the frame rate to 30 frames per second (fps).

A PS5 Pro could make games made for the regular PS5 look better. It could make the picture clearer and the movement smoother. If we’re really lucky, it could do both. Having two versions of the console is helpful. If the PS5 Pro became the regular model, developers might focus too much on fancy graphics and make games run at lower resolutions and frame rates again.

Frame Rates Are Dropping

The PS5 was supposed to handle games at 120 frames per second (fps), which is great for people with TVs and monitors that support 120Hz. But not many games actually run at 120fps. One benefit of having a 120Hz TV is that games like Horizon Forbidden West can run at 40fps smoothly. This works well because 40fps divides evenly into 120, but it would stutter on a TV with a 60Hz display.

Even getting games to run at 60fps is becoming rare. And when they do, the picture quality is often not good. If a PS5 game can’t go above 60fps because of its processor, then a PS5 Pro probably won’t have better frame rates, since the processor isn’t expected to be much faster according to the leaked specs. But if a game runs at 60fps on the regular PS5 with bad picture quality, a PS5 Pro might make 60fps modes look better.

Ray Tracing Was DOA on the Base PS5

Both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles were planned years before they were released, which makes sense. But just before the PS5 came out, NVIDIA introduced its RTX series of GPUs. These GPUs can do real-time ray tracing, which is a big jump in graphics technology. Games like Cyberpunk 2077 look much better on PC with ray tracing than on consoles. While current consoles can do some ray tracing, it’s not very good.

That’s why ray tracing in console games is limited. Usually, it’s just for things like shadows or reflections, and they don’t look as good as the rest of the game. The PS5 Pro could change that, especially since AMD, who makes the PS5 and Xbox GPUs, has caught up to NVIDIA in ray tracing.

Ray tracing can make games look a lot better if it’s done right, and it could be a big selling point for the PS5 Pro.

Better Upscaling Tech Is Needed

NVIDIA surprised AMD not only with ray tracing but also with DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) when they launched their RTX cards. DLSS uses machine learning and algorithms trained on NVIDIA’s supercomputers to make games look better. It can take a game at a lower resolution and make it look like it’s at a higher resolution without losing any detail. DLSS had some problems at first, but now it’s so good that sometimes it looks as good as or even better than native resolution.

Consoles use AMD’s FSR (FidelityFX Super Resolution) technology, which is software-based and not as good as DLSS. It has a lot of image quality issues and makes current-generation console games look worse.

The leaked specifications for the PS5 Pro suggest it will have a custom AI-powered upscaling technology. This could be a big deal. If it’s as good as DLSS, it could make games look much better on 4K TVs, even if the game’s internal resolution is lower for better performance.

Even if you’re satisfied with your PS5 and its performance, it’s evident that a PS5 Pro could bring some noticeable improvements for players. Whether these improvements actually happen is uncertain, but there’s certainly potential for something better.

About the Author: simonc

Why Building a Gaming PC in 2023 Is a Great Idea

In the past couple of years, the PC gaming hardware landscape has witnessed its fair share of challenges, particularly in the underwhelming releases of new components, most notably the latest generation of GPUs. Despite these setbacks, building a new gaming PC from the ground up is not as bleak as it may seem. In fact, it might be one of the most opportune times in the last few years, even amid concerns about a global recession, inflation, and economic uncertainties.

Instead of dwelling on the drawbacks of pricey GPUs like the GeForce RTX 4060 Ti, 4070 Ti, 4080, Radeon 7900 XTX, and others, let’s shift our focus to the positive aspects of building a gaming PC right now. This article highlights why it’s a promising idea, especially for those seeking a fresh gaming setup.

While the GPU remains a critical component of any gaming system, there are still reasonably priced options available, catering to various preferences. For individuals embarking on a journey to construct an entirely new PC, there is a range of components required beyond just the graphics card. Surprisingly, these supplementary parts are currently quite affordable.


Analyzing the price trends of DDR5-6000 CL30 memory over the past 10 months reveals a significant decline, nearly 60%, from $280 for a 32GB kit last October to its current price of just $116. This pattern is consistent with the general trend in DDR5 pricing. However, it’s crucial to manage expectations regarding further price reductions.

Prices have already started to stabilize, and while there may be some additional minor decreases between now and the year’s end, we don’t foresee significant further declines. DRAM manufacturers have already implemented production cuts to maintain price stability.

If you’re embarking on a new PC build, we highly recommend opting for a DDR5-compatible system. Even for those with budget constraints, DDR4 still presents a viable option, especially considering that 32GB DDR4-3600 CL18 kits are now available for just under $60. However, it’s worth noting that you can acquire 32GB DDR5-5600 kits for less than $80, making a DDR5-enabled platform a compelling choice.

Currently, DRAM prices are exceptionally affordable, with the option to purchase top-quality 32GB DDR5 kits for just a little over $100, representing an outstanding value proposition.

Fast Storage

SSDs, a critical component for PC builders, have experienced significant price drops over the past year due to oversupply and subdued demand for NAND flash. This trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, resulting in slightly lower prices, particularly for lower-end SSDs.

For those with budget constraints, there’s good news. If you require a 1TB SSD, you can find options for as low as $40. For example, the MSI Spatium M371 offers a 1TB capacity for just $35 or a 2TB model for $75. The Crucial P3 1TB, another budget-friendly choice, is currently priced at $40 or $87 for the 2TB variant, signifying a significant price reduction, similar to the DDR5 trend, with a more than 50% price drop over the past 10 months.

Even higher-end models like the Samsung 980 Pro 2TB have seen substantial price cuts. Over the last year, the price has fallen from $250 to a mere $100, resulting in more than a 50% decrease in SSD prices across the board. These favorable pricing trends are making it an ideal time for PC builders to consider SSD upgrades.


Gamers are currently in a fortunate position with various CPU options available across different price ranges. For detailed purchasing guidance, we recommend consulting our comprehensive “Best CPUs” feature.

Over the past few years, CPU prices have remained competitive, and while there hasn’t been a consistent decline like with DRAM and SSDs, there have been notable price reductions. For instance, the Ryzen 9 7950X3D, originally priced at $700, has recently dropped to $560. Similarly, the Intel Core i9-13900K, which cost $660 in October, can now be found as low as $550, providing a 17% savings.

The Ryzen 5800X3D has seen a reduction from $450 to as low as $320, making it an exceptional choice for those already on the AM4 platform. For new system builders, the Ryzen 7 7700, currently priced at $320, is recommended. It offers comparable gaming performance with enhanced productivity capabilities and is supported by the newer AM5 platform.

Budget-conscious shoppers seeking a powerful PC with longevity in mind will find the Ryzen 5 7600, priced at $220, as the top choice. It outperforms the Core i5-13500, priced at $250, in both gaming and platform support, although the latter is still a commendable CPU in its own right.


Affordable motherboards play a crucial role in completing your gaming setup. While the pricing landscape may not be as remarkable as in other categories, it’s essential to find the right fit. As of our latest analysis, we have a solid grasp of AMD B650 motherboard pricing following a comprehensive buying guide.

For gamers on a tight budget, the Asrock B650M-HDV/M.2 shines as an excellent choice at just $125. Although the pricing of motherboards below $200 has seen little change over the past year, there are still several dependable options available. This pricing consistency extends to Intel LGA 1700 motherboards, where you can find competitive choices at similar prices to their AM5 counterparts. This flexibility ensures that both AMD and Intel remain viable options for those embarking on new system builds.

Cases and PSUs

When it comes to cases and power supplies, the options are abundant and competitively priced. In our Best Cases 2023 feature, we’ve curated excellent choices for various needs and budgets. For instance, the Hyte Y40, priced at $150, offers great value with an attractive build.

The range of PC cases is diverse, and you can find decent mid-tower options like the Fractal Design Focus 2 RGB for as low as $40. Power supplies are equally versatile, with quality 600w units under $70 and top-notch 1000w models around $150. With numerous options, explore what suits your budget and needs.


When it comes to graphics cards, the GeForce RTX 4090 is a standout but may not fit everyone’s budget at $1,600. Given the current GPU generation’s pricing and naming complexities, considering previous-gen GPUs is a sensible option.

You can find the Radeon 6950 XT for $580, offering good high-end performance slightly surpassing the RTX 4070. Below that, the Radeon RX 6700 XT, priced at around $320 – $350, stands as a solid choice. Further down, the GeForce RTX 4060 for $300, Radeon RX 7600 for $270, or an old 6650 XT for $250 are options for building a new gaming PC.

While these options may not offer groundbreaking value, they get the job done and enable PC gaming, which is the key takeaway. Despite the current landscape, it’s relatively better for new system builds compared to not too long ago.

A New Build

Considering everything, it’s feasible to build a gaming PC with a Ryzen 5 7600 CPU, 32GB of DDR5-6000 CL30 memory, Asrock B650M-HDV motherboard, 1TB SSD, Sapphire Radeon RX 6700 XT, a quality 750w power supply, a decent $100 ATX case, and a $50 air-cooler for around $1,050. You’ll need peripherals and an operating system, but for a reasonable budget, you can get a capable gaming system.

While this GPU generation has been underwhelming, this system still provides excellent gaming performance for less than the cost of a high-end GPU. You can also upgrade the system in the future. Consider spending a bit more on the motherboard for additional features and keep Intel as an option. Share your thoughts in the comments. Do you believe building a new gaming PC is a viable choice, and what components would you select?

About the Author: simonc

PC CPUs: The Next Generation Is Here

Why it’s important: Back in the day, there were only two companies making CPUs. Now, there are twelve. Most of the new players focused on the big and profitable data center market. But now, some are also targeting PCs. Nvidia and AMD are getting ready to make Arm-based CPUs for PCs. Microsoft is allowing Arm laptop CPUs, which is not great news for Qualcomm right now and could be a problem for Intel in the distant future.

Even though Intel has had a tough time in the data center for the past five years, they’ve managed to keep a hold on the PC market. While PCs don’t bring in as much money as data center CPUs, they sell in large quantities and help keep Intel’s manufacturing plants busy and financially healthy.

Intel’s PC market share has been maintained for the most part because of two key factors: the Intel brand and something known as “channel control.” Most consumers aren’t concerned with or well-informed about semiconductor manufacturing methods or instruction set architectures. What they do recognize is the Intel brand, which has been built through extensive advertising efforts over several decades.

For most consumers, selecting a PC CPU can be a confusing task filled with complex technical specifications. This means that even if AMD’s latest CPU appears superior on paper compared to Intel’s, Intel can still maintain an edge. Furthermore, consumers don’t directly buy from Intel; they buy from popular PC brands like HP, Dell, Asus, Lenovo, and others. These companies have strong ties with Intel, partly because they receive significant marketing incentives from Intel, which contribute significantly to their PC profits. These PC brands are hesitant to distance themselves from Intel because they fear losing these subsidies.

The only recent entrant into the PC CPU market has been Qualcomm. Qualcomm has dedicated nearly a decade to establishing a presence with its Arm-based CPUs, which required extensive efforts, especially in adapting Windows to Arm architecture. This endeavor strained Qualcomm’s relationship with Microsoft. Nevertheless, Qualcomm now appears to offer a reasonably competitive CPU.

We’ve discussed Qualcomm’s efforts before, and the main point is that it’s unlikely Qualcomm will gain a significant share in the PC market anytime soon unless people suddenly value on-device AI support. While that doesn’t seem very likely, it’s worth noting that Qualcomm currently has one of the best AI cores (NPU) for laptops.

Qualcomm has received criticism for its long-standing PC investment. However, one advantage it had was its exclusive partnership with Microsoft. For years, Qualcomm was the sole company working with Microsoft to adapt Windows for Arm-based devices. This exclusivity has now changed with the recent Reuters report about Nvidia and AMD entering the Arm CPU market. Microsoft is now open to supporting CPUs from other vendors for Windows. Importantly, these new entrants have a stronger background in Windows than Qualcomm. Qualcomm has faced challenges in building a software ecosystem for Arm-Windows, and the new entrants will likely have an easier time due to Qualcomm’s previous work. Qualcomm may need to reevaluate its efforts in the PC market, which is already small and has become more competitive. This is not an ideal market for Qualcomm to excel in.

Nvidia and AMD’s Entry into the CPU Market: What Does It Mean?

Now, what should we think about Nvidia and AMD’s initiatives? AMD’s move is a bit puzzling. They already have a decent share in the PC laptop market, but it’s a distant second to Intel, despite Intel facing its fair share of challenges over the years. We suspect this might be AMD’s way of showing goodwill to their long-standing partner, Microsoft (something Qualcomm could learn from).

The real question is whether AMD will invest significant marketing resources to gain a share in this space, even if it means potentially eating into their existing market share. How will the average consumer react when faced with the choice between an AMD x86 laptop and an AMD Arm laptop? Confusion might be the likely outcome, and they might opt for the familiar Intel brand instead.

On the other hand, Nvidia has a more compelling case. They already have a strong consumer brand, mainly in gaming, which carries significant weight. They can also earn brownie points with Microsoft, a substantial customer and partner, and they don’t have a competing product to worry about. In fact, an Nvidia CPU/GPU combo laptop could create a new product category. Many gamers we know would probably rush to get one.

Apple’s Impact on the PC CPU Market: A Blind Spot for Semiconductors

Now, let’s delve into the real focus of this discussion: Apple. It’s quite surprising that semiconductor vendors often avoid mentioning Apple in conversations about PC CPUs. It’s a significant blind spot. We’ve even heard Intel executives claim that “we do not compete with Apple.”

Over time, Apple has been steadily eroding PC market share, particularly when it comes to profitability. On average, a Windows PC sells for at least $500 less than the lowest-priced Mac. Apple dominates the lion’s share of profitability in personal computing, just as it does in the mobile phone industry. While we haven’t recently crunched the numbers, we’re fairly certain that the transition to Apple’s M1 CPU has widened this gap even further. This issue is so substantial for other laptop manufacturers that it’s almost easier to ignore.

Microsoft is well aware of this problem, and while its success isn’t solely dependent on the PC market, it remains a significant and strategically important segment for them, both in terms of profit and overall strategy. They recognize the need to address the lack of PC profitability, and they appear to see the CPU as a crucial element of their strategy. There’s some logic to this, as M-powered MacBooks are known for their power efficiency compared to Windows laptops. However, we’ve encountered many players in the Windows supply chain who seem to idealize Arm CPUs, believing that having Arm CPUs would help them compete better with Apple. We think this perspective misses the mark. Apple’s success lies in its ability to integrate its software with its silicon tightly, and the Arm component is not the sole differentiator.

Nevertheless, the new Windows CPUs could inject some vitality into the market. Arm-based chips thrived in mobile largely due to the intense competition among semiconductor vendors. Arm consistently emphasizes its mobile ecosystem, which, in part, resulted from numerous companies competing in the space. This competitive environment drove faster innovation and progress.

Potential for a New Era of Innovation in Windows Laptops

This scenario could potentially materialize in the laptop market, especially if Nvidia and AMD are just the initial players. A thriving ecosystem of Arm-based Windows CPUs has the potential to ignite a fresh wave of innovation in Windows laptops, leading to more specialized offerings. Nvidia might focus on the high-end segment with premium gaming laptops, while AMD and Qualcomm can carve out their unique niches. Some players may opt for a budget-friendly approach, posing a competitive challenge to Google Chromebooks.

It’s too early to determine if this scenario will become a reality, but the possibility now exists. Currently, we believe Intel is relatively shielded from immediate threats, particularly as it introduces enhanced products with improved manufacturing. However, looking further ahead, if robust competition emerges from Arm CPU manufacturers, Intel could indeed face significant challenges.

About the Author: simonc