Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Good Time to DIY PC

Good news for people who like to build their own PCs. You might have been horrified by the RAM prices in 2018. Large-sized SSDs weren’t cheap. Fortunately, the prices of many PC components have come down significantly this year.

I started noticing from the number of amazing deals I get in my inbox this year, especially for SSDs, NVMe sticks, and RAM modules. They are such a bargain, and while I am so tempted to buy them, I just don’t know what to do with them. I have enough spare SSDs sitting around unused that I know I shouldn’t get more.

The prices from Sim Lim Square shops and online merchants are also converging. While SSDs used to be much cheaper online, the Sim Lim Square shops have pretty much closed the gap. Hard disk drives used to be generally cheaper to get locally, but prices from online merchants with shipping included are something to consider nowadays.

Take RAM for example. Two sticks of Kingston DDR4 2400 MHz 16 GB modules (total 32 GB) cost me $330 in mid 2017. It wasn’t a great price, in my opinion, considering the past history at that point. But the prices climbed. In mid 2018, those same memory had gone up to $440. By today’s standard, of course, you would probably want to get something better, like a 2x Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2666 MHz 16 GB sticks for $223 (prices at Fuwell). The same memory on Amazon is S$194.10 plus S$7.20 for shipping (affiliate link).

I still remember the time when one had to weigh the cost-benefit between say a 128 GB SSD or 256 GB SSD. Today, if you don’t mind not getting the top-of-the-line SSD, which might be the most suitable thing to do if you are simply replacing or adding storage to an old PC, much larger flash drives can be gotten for a bargain. A PNY CS900 960 GB SSD sells for S$143.78 plus S$6.84 for shipping (affiliate link). You can get an even better deal with NVMe sticks. The Intel SSD 660p Series 1 TB, for example, costs just S$136.59 plus S$7.25 for shipping (affiliate link). This may not be the best of the best, but it is NVMe, and 1 TB in capacity!

These prices aren’t even the few exceptional deals you can find. A Crucial P1 NVMe 1 TB stick just costs S$143.78 plus S$7.10 for shipping (affiliate link), so you can see that the bargains are aplenty.

I’m starting to think if it makes sense to add an all-flash ZFS pool in my FreeNAS box! I know there’s little benefit for the exported network volumes themselves to run off flash since the bottleneck would be in the network. However, local virtual machines running off an all-flash volume could see some performance advantage!

The recent AMD comeback with their Ryzen processors has also spawned a lot of interest from DIY PC enthusiasts. The 3rd generation Ryzen processors are just out, and Intel isn’t likely to be catching up very soon, so it is no wonder that many are looking to AMD PC builds.

If you have been putting on hold your PC building project because of the exorbitant prices in previous years, it is time now to revisit your project. It’s easier than ever to shop online now, especially with free or affordable shipping available in most cases, giving you many more sourcing options for PC components. Don’t forget, of course, to still do some homework checking out local shops. Bulky items like PC cases and power supplies are probably better to get locally.

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