I originally planned to upgrade (i.e. replace) my ageing i7-4770K system with 16 GB of DDR3 1600 memory about 3 years ago but then COVID arrived along along with ridiculous pricing for GPUs, thanks to scummy scalpers, and I decided to delay it. I was already planning to buy a PS5 at launch so I figured that would tide me over in the meantime (which is did for about 2 years) and at least I got that for its MSRP from Amazon (I was lucky enough to be able to pre-order one straight after the Sony announcement).
Last summer, I finally got hold of an RTX 3080 for near its MRSP (£749), again from Amazon, and although it did allow me to finally use DLSS and ray-tracing in games, it was clearly being held back by the nearly 10 year-old CPU at that point. With the release of PS4 and PS5 games on PC, more and more games were struggling to hold 60 fps at 1440p so I decided to buy a pre-built PC with an Intel i5-13600KF from PCSpecialist in December last year minus the graphics card as I could just use the already decent RTX 3080. It cost me around £2,500 in total (not including the cost of the GPU) but that was because I opted for an all-SSD build for games with the two hard drives from my old system, 10 GB in total, being used for data storage and for older games that do not benefit or need the faster SSD speeds. I got a motherboard with 4 NVMe Gen 4 slots and all of them have 2 TB drives attached plus internal and external SATA3 SSDs to give me around 20 TB of fast storage for games (7.5 TB of which is DirectStorage compatible).
The PC, which comes with Windows 11 Pro and 32 GB of DDR4 3600 memory, has been an absolute dream to use. Most of my games now run at a locked 120 fps maxed out at 1440p, even with ray-tracing (using DLSS) enabled. There are a few games such as Cyberpunk 2077 and The Callisto Protocol that push the system hard but I can honestly say that the vast majority of games run so much better now than I could ever have imagined. The truth is that if I had upgraded my PC, say, 5 years ago I don't think the impact of the upgrade would have been quite so striking. I mean I would have been stuck with my old 1080 Ti and most games at that time were made with the PS4/Xbox One in mind so did not require anything more powerful. I believe this is why my old system lasted so long. However, I am glad I upgraded now and the process of moving stuff over to my new PC was a lot more seamless than it was 10 years ago when I built my then-new i7-4770K system and had to install games from discs and so on. Most of my games are on Steam and that only required me to move the games from the hard drives from my old system to the new internal NVMe drives or add the ones from the external SSDs to the Steam libraries and I was good to go. Previously, I had always been put off my all the hassle I had when upgrading my PC with cloud storage and Steam that is no longer a concern.
Finally, I will add that my PC upgrades are never really motivated by the need to have a faster CPU (although it is certainly very beneficial if your old one is 10 years old!) as I actually think that is the least exciting part of any new PC build, at least based on my experience of over 30 years of using PCs. What makes a new PC build worthwhile is having access to newer technologies such as faster storage (NVMe M.2 drives) and forthcoming features like DirectStorage plus faster PCI-e 5 slots for future graphics card. However, I will say that with the current pricing of high-end GPUs by NVIDIA being pushed to ludicrous extremes that I fear this may be the last PC I buy. I bought my 1080 Ti for £700 and my RTX 3080 for £749 but the RTX 4080 is almost twice the price and, while faster, does not offer anywhere near the same value for money as the other two cards.