Picking the right time to upgrade your PC is never easy. Whether you're after more storage, more processing power, or a new graphics card, there always seems to be something new and exciting over the horizon worth waiting just a few more months for. Perhaps you could save a little more and get something even better that will last you a little longer.
But at some point you need to bite the bullet, throw down some cash and get hold of that new, sweet hardware. You need to pick a time to upgrade. To help you decide when to follow through with your upgrade planes, here's our guide to when you should upgrade in 2019.
There's no time quite like the present and there are very good reasons to upgrade now if you want to. Although there are some big hardware launches coming in the not-too-distant future (see below) there are some great deals to be had right now.
If you want more or faster RAM, there's no need to wait and in fact you might be better off buying now. Memory has been on a rollercoaster pricing ride over the past couple of years, spiking to insane levels in late 2018 – with some kits reaching up to three times their MSRP – before finally crashing down in 2019 and at the moment, most kits are at their lowest price in years.
You can get 32GB kits for well under $200, even if they're high-performance, and under $150 if you don't mind sacrificing RGB or super tight-timings.
SSDs are also at their lowest price yet and though they will probably get cheaper throughout 2019, there's no harm in buying a new drive now. A terabyte is less than $100 for mid-range drives, while $150 can get you a monster of an NVMe SSD.
There are some great deals to be had on CPUs too, especially if you have a budget build in mind. AMD has slashed the prices on its first and second-generation Ryzen CPUs, letting you pick up a tonne of cores for very little money. Intel hasn't responded in kind, but its 14nm supply issues have mostly corrected themselves, so there are some good deals on 8-series chips to be had.
It's probably better to wait a little for new graphics cards, but if you absolutely have to buy something right now, AMD Vega cards make for fantastic mid-range value. The 56 is better, because you can undervolt and overclock it to 64 speeds and at around the $300 mark there's nothing quite like them at the moment.
July - August
If you can wait just a few more weeks there are some amazing new hardware options to get excited about. AMD has brand new Ryzen 3000 CPUs and RX 5700 graphics cards that will all launch on July 7. The processors will offer more cores, higher-clocks, and greater single threaded performance comparable and even in-excess-of Intel's best ninth-generation chips.
The GPUs aren't going to be quite as impactful, but they'll replace Vega in the mid-range at a higher price point – keeping Vega relevant where available – and will offer competitive performance and pricing with Nvidia's RTX series cards.
However, on that front, Nvidia is set to respond with new "Super" GPUs of its own. We don't know when they will launch, but August seems like a probable time. They'll pump performance for the RTX series, while pushing existing non-super cards down the price stack.
September – New Year
There isn't as much coming later this year, with the big launches all taking place in the summer. However, there are some reasons you might want to hold off upgrading.
AMD has its super-high-end, 16-core, 3950X coming in September, which although expensive at $750, will be its most powerful and capable mainstream CPU ever. If you want the best AMD has to offer on the AM4 socket, that chip is it. If you want even more power, there may be Threadripper 3000 CPUs coming before the end of the year and they could offer even better binned chips, with greater performance and many, many more cores.
Most won't need such chips, but if you're sitting on a first-gen Threadripper system, the Zen 2 Threadripper chips should be massively more capable.
Next year holds all sorts of potential upgrade options, from next-generation Nvidia graphics cards, perhaps a full-fat AMD Navi graphics card, fourth-generation Ryzen CPUs, and likely Intel's Comet Lake chips.
While we don't expect a tonne from Intel's new 14nm architecture, it should help the blue team at least keep pace with some of AMD's weaker advancements, and new graphics cards will likely push ray tracing and general gaming performance to new levels.
2019 is a great year to upgrade in, but as usual, the next year will have plenty to look forward to as well.