Guru3D Q1 Winter 20/21 PC Buyer Guide

PC Buyers Guide 38 Page 1 of 6 Published by



Guru3D Winter Q1 2021 PC Buyers Guide

It has been a while since the last version of this guide; the world is very much a changed place since then. The pandemic of the SARS-COV-2 / COVID-19 virus has thoroughly left its mark on 2020 and 2021. This article has been in the works for a fair while, but we wanted to wait for prices and availability to settle but then decided to move forward.


Since the last version of this guide, several high-profile hardware releases brought significant generational jumps in performance compared to their predecessors. I actually cannot remember such a jam-packed year. We have had (in no particular order):

  1. AMD’s Zen 3 ‘Vermeer’ CPUs.
  2. Nvidia’s RTX 3000 ‘Ampere’ GPUs.
  3. Radeon’s RX 6000 ‘Big Navi’ GPUs.
  4. The PS5 and Xbox Series S/X.

A note on the situation Prices and availability

Sadly – beyond the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that continues to affect the globe – there was an unfortunate stain on all the above hardware releases. Availability. Whilst the situation has improved for AMD’s Zen 3 and the consoles, there is a scarcity to both Nvidia’s RTX 3000 GPUs and Radeon’s RX6000 cards that I cannot remember ever occurring.

With that said, I cannot pay heed – in this guide – to hardware availability. If I did, there would be upwards of 20 versions of the guide catering to different corners of the globe. I don’t have the time to do that; hence the builds below should be seen as targets wherever you live. Of course, do bear in mind that those in the United States see the best prices on PC hardware, with those in the United Kingdom and wider EU being the next best treated. If you are elsewhere… my apologies.


The lack of availability of parts has also hugely affected pricing. So, unlike the 2020 versions of our guide, the builds will not be targeting specific price points. Rather, they will be down to my interpretation of what normally constitutes the ‘low’, ‘mid-range,’ and ‘high-end’ of things.

Talking of upcoming releases, we have Intel’s 11th Generation ‘Rocket Lake’ CPUs… and that’s about it. AMD unveiled their Ryzen 5000 series mobile chips at CES on January 12th, but that is all we know. Of course, we should see all the usual benefits of Zen 3 over the older Ryzen 4000 mobile chips, e.g., increased IPC, lower latency, higher clock speeds, improved boost behavior, etc.

Intel’s 11th generation chips are actually a major departure from the old ‘Skylake’ based core that we have grown accustomed to… well, since the release of Skylake in 2015. The new chips – whilst still manufactured on 14nm – are based on the new ‘Cypress Cove’ core design and are expected to see up to a 19% IPC improvement over previous 14nm architectures. Whilst impressive, if true, it has to be remembered that the top SKU i9 11900k comes with just a maximum of 8 cores. I have little doubt that – with Rocket Lake’s release – Intel will retake the gaming crown, if only marginally (Intel’s recent 11900k press reveal didn’t actually show all that big an advantage for Intel’s new 8-core flagship, 6-8% at the most at 1080p). What won’t change, however, is AMD’s domination in multi-threaded workloads. And… well, there is always Zen 4.

With that, we will move onto the first of our builds.

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