2021 is set to be an amazing year for PC users, with a ton of new hardware shaking things up and delivering serious performance boosts for gaming and productivity tasks in equal measure.
If you have been thinking about pulling the trigger on an upgrade, here is a look at the most sought-after components that you should aim your attention at over the next 12 months.
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Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070
Nvidia’s 20 series GPUs were seen as something of a damp squib by the enthusiast crowd; they promised so much with their ray tracing potential, yet failed to deliver in part because not enough games offered support for this, and those that did ran far worse with RTX enabled.
Thankfully the 30 series, which launched a few months ago, is a much more appealing prospect, and the RTX 3070 represents the sweet spot in terms of price and performance.
It is essentially equivalent to the last gen flagship, the 2080ti, but at around half the cost of that behemoth. And thanks to the impressive AI-powered upscaling capabilities of Nvidia’s DLSS, it is even a good option for running the latest games like Cyberpunk 2077 at higher resolutions and framerates.
Sure, you could shell out even more for an RTX 3080 or 3080, but unless you have deep pockets, the performance gains will not justify the extra expense, and the RTX 3070 is more than capable of handling everything from triple A gaming and browser-based experiences like online casino sites (example), to video editing and 3D modeling design work.
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
Intel has haughtily sported the CPU crown in terms of raw gaming grunt for over a decade, but this title was snatched away by rival chipmaker AMD thanks to the beastly capabilities of the Ryzen 9 5900X. Furthermore, since Intel seems to be miles away from making anything to topple it, there has never been a better time to switch to Team Red.
With 12 physical cores and 24 threads at its disposal, as well as a base clock of 3.7GHz and a boost clock of 4.8GHz, everything you throw at this processor will be handled faster and more fluidly than you could possibly imagine.
AMD also does a better job of offering cross-generational compatibility for its CPUs and motherboard chipsets, so you should have a decent upgrade path going forwards if you take this route.
Lian Li O11 Dynamic Mini
Small form factor cases have risen to prominence in the past few years, but the problem with most of the more compact options on the market is that they force users to make compromises in terms of the components they pick in the name of space-saving. The O11 Dynamic Mini from Lian Li lets you have your cake and eat it too by being one of the only small scale enclosures to provide support for full-sized ATX motherboards.
The design is also impressively modular, meaning you can organize the internals in a number of different ways depending on whether you want to put air cooling or water cooling at the top of the agenda. The tempered glass panels at the front and side, coupled with adequate ventilation on the top and to the rear, enable it to look good and run cool.
WD Black SN750 1TB
Storage has come on in leaps and bounds and gamers will really value the faster loading times that an M.2 SSD running on third-gen PCIe standards can bring to the table, especially as this is something the PS5 and Xbox Series X both focus on delivering.
This model from Western Digital is fast, robust, and endowed with tech to help it keep up with costlier equivalents from Samsung.