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New Part Categories: Case Fans, Thermal Paste, Speakers, And Wired/Wireless Network Interfaces

philip March 4, 2013

Just a quick update - several new part categories have been added recently:

Let's Talk: PCPartPicker Discussion Forums Now Available

philip Jan. 18, 2013

It has been a long time coming, but PCPartPicker discussion forums are finally here. I've been encouraged by the growing community on this site, and I wanted to provide a centralized place where more discussion could occur.

You'll notice the format and markup are the same as the comments elsewhere on the site. I've made a few improvements to the site markup, like automatically linking urls that aren't decorated with markup. I've also included a few stylistic tweaks to hopefully make comments more readable. This is just the initial rollout, and more forum functionality is on the way (RSS feeds, reply counts, etc.).

Also, the structure and organization of the forums are very flexible, and I will adapt them based on demand. For instance, if it looks like there's a huge amount of discussion around 5.25" bay toaster ovens, I'll be happy to discuss adding a forum for those. I'd love to know what you think - there's a forum for that too!

Intel Xeon E3 Series CPU Support Added (With Compatibility Guidance)

philip Jan. 14, 2013

Intel Xeon E3 CPUs are now available to choose for your builds. Figuring out which desktop motherboards are compatible with different Xeon E3 CPUs can be hit-or-miss (not to mention time consuming), so I've also included full compatibility checking to assist with this.

Additional server-class components are also on the way. Stay tuned for Intel Xeon E5 and AMD Opteron CPUs, server motherboards, ECC RAM, and more!

Budget Gaming Build - Core i3-2120 / Radeon HD 7750 / Rosewill Challenger

philip Dec. 25, 2012

This build video is for Reddit user TheCenterOfEnnui, who asked the /r/buildapc community for help building a computer with his 12 year-old son. His original post was here. Since TheCenterOfEnnui did not have any experience building a computer, I offered to help by creating a build video tailored to the parts he would be using. I'm happy he accepted my offer, and this video is the result of that.

I purchased the exact same part list that he will be using with his son, and filmed my build step by step. Some of the things he will run into, I ran into during filming (like short power supply cables). Hopefully this video can serve as a guide if they run into any difficulties.

I will be auctioning off this completed build with 100% of the proceeds going to benefit Charity:water, a non-profit organization that provides clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries.

The part list, as well as the pricing at the time of this post is:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Core i3-2120 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor $109.99 @ NCIX US
Motherboard ASRock H61M-DGS Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard $44.99 @ SuperBiiz
Memory Samsung 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $39.99 @ Newegg
Storage Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $59.99 @ NCIX US
Video Card PowerColor Radeon HD 7750 1GB Video Card $85.99 @ SuperBiiz
Case Rosewill CHALLENGER ATX Mid Tower Case $54.11 @ Amazon
Power Supply SeaSonic 350W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply $40.20 @ Amazon
Optical Drive Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer $17.89 @ Outlet PC
Operating System Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) $89.98 @ Outlet PC
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available. $543.13
Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-25 14:49 EST-0500

Black Friday / Cyber Monday - The Best Time To Buy Computer Parts?

philip Nov. 16, 2012

Every year on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, shoppers scour retailers looking for the best deals on computer parts. Those two days are well known for having the largest sales and best discounts. But is it really the best time to buy?

PCPartPicker tracks prices for over 10,000 computer parts across dozens of retailers. To find out if the holiday season is the optimal time to purchase parts, I plotted out historical prices across different part categories.

Should you wait for the holiday sales? It depends...


First, let's look at Solid State Drives (SSDs) limited to the SATA interface and sized between 60GB-120GB.

For each part retail prices are plotted as blue points, creating an intensity plot. Gray banding represents the span from lowest to highest price. The vertical blue line represents Thanskgiving, and the vertical red line represents Christmas. The thick black line shows the overall average price.

SSD prices dropped slowly during Summer 2011, but then held steady from roughly October through January. Holiday sales showed up as week-long dips on the gray lower bound immediately after Thanksgiving and right before Christmas. Therefore, if you are looking to buy an SSD and aren't locked into a specific model, your best bet to is to buy the week after Thanksgiving or the week before Christmas. If you are locked into a specific model, however, it may not matter; prices generally hold steady well into the next year.

Hard Drives

In 2011, flooding in Thailand took several hard drive manufacturing plants offline, resulting in significantly reduced production. The effect began to take hold in October 2011, when inventory shortages caused prices to rise. Because of limited inventory, sales were extremely scarce during the holiday period. As production resumed, prices gradually dropped. Looking forward to the 2012 holiday season, I expect to see much better hard drive deals as production and inventory has largely been restored.


Next, let's look at LCD monitors between 20"-27". It's a very different story here.

From the plot we can tell that LCD monitor prices are slowly trending upwards. (Monitors were added to PCPartPicker mid-July 2011.) The real surprise is during the holiday shopping period. Prices rose quickly leading up to Thanksgiving. Immediately after Cyber Monday, prices rose sharply again. Roughly a week before Christmas, there was yet another rise in prices. There is evidence of spot sales a few days after Black Friday, but overall if you are buying a monitor it is better to do it sooner than later. Waiting for specific deals could end up costing you more.


For CPUs, I first restricted the selection to the most popular segment - Intel CPUs using an LGA1155 socket (excluding Extreme Editions).

Intel LGA1155-based CPUs held steady in price over the last year, even amid the introduction of Ivy Bridge. During the 2011 holiday period, prices were relatively immune to sales, suffering only a small price increase the week before Christmas. Therefore, if you are in the market for an Intel CPU, timing should not have much of an effect. It is worth noting that combo deals are not reflected in this plot.

Next I took a look at AM3 and AM3+ socket based CPUs from AMD:

Like Intel LGA1155 CPUs, AMD CPUs saw steady average prices with few lower-end sales.

Video Cards

With video cards, the introduction of Radeon HD 7000 and GeForce 600 series chipsets caused quite a bit of average price fluctuation. To get a better look at 2011 video card pricing, I chose to look at two previous chipsets - the Radeon HD 6000 and GeForce 500 series. The price trends are different between the two, making for an interesting comparison. GeForce 500 series cards dropped in price slowly throughout the holiday period, with spot sales at the usual times. Radeon HD 6000 series video cards also saw a steady reduction in price throughout the holiday period, in addition to typical spot sales.


When is the best time to buy? It depends on how picky you are about buying specific models. If you don't have specific parts in mind, you should be able to pick up significant savings. But be warned: for several part types, waiting until the week before Christmas could prove costly.

To make your holiday computer shopping easier, PCPartPicker closely tracks part prices. If you have specific components in mind, subscribe to price alerts to be notified when prices drop below your predetermined thresholds.

Happy Building!