No matter what year you build a PC, the following year is usually going to have lower prices and better processors introduced (and you are going to feel like you maybe could’ve waited). There’s always going to be the “next big thing” and we can’t be waiting forever.
However, 2017 (and early 2018) are a rather regressive time for PC building in some aspects. The price of RAM doubled and video card prices have periodically skyrocketed due to crypto mining. New and improved technology has been emerging in the PC industry: fast Solid State Drives, high-resolution IPS displays, compact PC cases/motherboards. However, these are still on the pricy side for many many people and it may be a better idea to build in late 2018 or early-mid 2019 to be able to get all of the features without paying a high price. In the case of a video card price spike, I would build a PC with integrated graphics and add a good video card when they go down in price.
Let’s not forget, though, that we live in much better times than the late 90’s and early 2000’s. 15-20 years ago, people would buy a $1000 PC and then 18 months later, a PC with literally double the processing power would come out and you weren’t even able to run the next version of Windows. Nowadays, improvements between years are more like 10-15% than 50-100%.
Should you build/buy a PC right now or wait?
The answer to this question is based on your budget and how passionate you are about having an up-to-date PC, of course.
In my case, I had a decent laptop at the time, but I didn’t have a PC at all. Since I really wanted to play modern games and run heavy applications, I bit the bullet and just built one. I probably spent $150 more than I would’ve if I had waited a year, but I consider a year worth of enjoyment to be important too.
If you have PC that’s very old (6+ years) and are having serious performance issues, it may be time for a new PC. However, for those who have a PC that’s 4-5 years old and isn’t struggling to run the apps you need it to, you are better off waiting a little longer (especially during times when it is unideal to build)