Black Friday is less than three weeks away now, with November 23 being that fateful day. With the leaves turning brown, the days growing cooler, and the nights drawing in, it’s hard not to think about the blackest Friday there is. But whatever your feelings about the now-yearly consumergasm it’s potentially a great time to bag yourself some serious Black Friday PC deals… if you’re smart about it.
Black Friday is an exciting time to be PC tech enthusiast – it’s a great opportunity to find a bargain on that one component or peripheral you’ve been meaning to pick up all year, but finding the genuine deals in a mire of stock dumping nonsense can be tricky. And there’s also the fact it still feels a little dirty in that whole rampant-consumerism-gone-mad kinda way.
That’s mostly because for the last few years we’ve been fed images of ravening hordes of walking wallets fighting over the tattered boxes of cheap TVs and the bodies of the fallen. Yet we’re the sensible ones, right? We’ll be steering clear of the 4am queues on November 23 safe in the knowledge that all the best Black Friday PC deals can be picked up from the physical and emotional safety of the interweb tubes.
But has Black Friday run its course? Last year some retailers steered clear of the consumerist crush, and some bargain-hunters found the PC deals they were hoping for didn’t live up to previous years’ expectations. So why would it be any different this year? Well, the companies that did go big on Black Friday last year saw revenues boosted year-on-year and the companies that didn’t saw sales slump – so it stands to reason that more will be taking part this year.
And that’s great news for us PC gamers because it means there ought to be a host of great Black Friday PC deals for us to hoover up. But what is it that you’re after, and what gear is likely to get the best deals this year?
Black Friday SSD deals
We’re putting our money behind there being some considerable Black Friday SSD deals out and about this year. For longest time the dominant narrative has been that memory prices are costing both SSDs and system memory beyond the wallets of most of us PC gamers, but a slump in demand and a subsequent oversupply of memory means the prices of SSDs has started to fall.
Combine that with the likelihood that QLC memory will start to bring us affordable, capacious, and still pretty darned speedy SSDs to market in 2019, and you’ve got a recipe for the best current-gen solid state drives getting the Black Friday treatment.
Keep an eye out for both Samsung’s SATA and NVMe drives – the 860 EVO and 970 EVO – as they’re great SSDs, and as relatively mainstream offerings could be in line for some serious savings. We’d also recommend keeping tabs on potential deals for Crucial’s SSDs too. Both Samsung and Crucial’s parent company, Micron, are massive memory manufacturers and are best placed to create some serious bargains with Black Friday retailers.
Read our best SSD for gaming guide.
Black Friday memory deals
It’s the same thing with system memory, or DRAM. Fitting your PC out with 8GB of DDR4 was looking like something only the very wealthy could consider doing just six months ago, such was the ridiculous price of memory. But the cost of even the best RAM is dropping for the same reason as with SSDs, and 16GB is now actually affordable.
This time around we’d expect to see some good things coming out of Corsair, as one of the largest suppliers of gaming memory, as well as Crucial. Kingston, with its HyperX memory, would also be worth keeping an eye on this year too.
Black Friday graphics card deals
After a horrible couple of years, where graphics card pricing has been brutalised by the bloody cryptocurrency gold rush, relative stability is coming back to the GPU world. But because there has been a collapse in demand from the miners, despite the graphics card makers upping their manufacturing efforts, there has been a lot of cards sitting in the channels.
Prices have been dropping and that makes it more likely that Black Friday will actually see some serious graphics card deals. Don’t get too excited about seeing new RTX 2080 Ti cards for under a grand, or RTX 2070s at anything below MSRP, it’s still too soon after launch for there to be the sort of volume to make that possible.
Likewise don’t expect much movement on last-gen, 10-series Nvidia graphics cards either. The GTX 1080 Ti and GTX 1080 will probably not change much in terms of price, but there is the chance you could see some GTX 1070, and especially GTX 1060 bargains. Nvidia has committed to manufacturing more GTX 1060s, some with a GDDR5X memory update, in lieu of a mainstream 20-series GPU dropping this year.
Where we expect the big bargains to be had is on the Radeon side. AMD graphics cards are the ones most like to offer us serious Black Friday GPU deals, especially with the new AMD RX 590 expected to be launched the week before. That could lead to RX 580 and RX 570 cards in the channel getting tasty price drops as retailers shift stock.
There is reportedly a fair number of AMD GPUs out there right now, or “excess channel inventory levels,” as CEO Dr. Lisa Su called it in the recent earnings report. So you could get some good pricing around the 500-series Polaris cards, and maybe, just maybe, the RX Vega GPUs could find some pricing relevance… though that’s probably wishful thinking.
Read our best graphics card guide.
Black Friday CPU deals
Historically Intel chips don’t really get much in the way of price drops, whether around Black Friday, or ever. Just look at the way its chips still hold their value second-hand on Ebay. Even though the 9th Gen processors have launched, with the Core i9 9900K as the pinnacle of Intel processors, you’re probably not going to see much movement around the 8th Gen chips, like the i7 8700K. That said, the Core i5 8400 might just get a little reduction, so it could be worth keeping an eye on that one.
Where we’re expecting to see the most Black Friday CPU deals is on the AMD side. Both the second-gen Ryzen and Ryzen Threadripper processors are liable to find themselves with genuine price drops come November 23. With AMD’s Zen 2 chips potentially launching some time in the first half of next year now would be a great time to start trying to shift the stock of Ryzen 2000-series CPUs in the channel.
They’re great processors, and with any potential Black Friday motherboard deals, on B450 or X470 boards, this could be the best time ever to go ahead and build a brand new AMD-based gaming PC.
Read our best CPU for gaming guide.
Black Friday laptop deals
With CES 2019 just around the corner in January likely to introduce the world to the new GeForce 20-series laptop graphics cards, using the Nvidia Turing architecture, Black Friday could be a great time to pick up a new gaming laptop. There should be some great deals around 10-series Nvidia-powered gaming notebooks, especially ones using the last generation of Intel processors too.
The 10-series delivered some fantastic mobile performance, and the 8th Gen Intel laptop chips were very capable too, so you’re not going to be missing out if you pick yourself up a bargain gaming notebook from the last-gen.
Black Friday peripheral deals
The main Black Friday PC noise will probably surround the peripheral market, with a bunch of different kit getting prices slashed across Amazon, Overclockers, and Newegg. But it’s always worth keeping a qualitative approach to your bargain hunting. A rubbish gaming keyboard is still a rubbish gaming keyboard at 50% off.
But we can all but guarantee that the big guns – Corsair, Razer, and Logitech – will be making a big effort to produce some fantastic Black Friday deals for us to take advantage of, so they’re the ones to watch out for. We’d also suggest keeping an eye on Roccat kit too; it’s been making some great mice, keyboards, and headsets recently and could be on the bargain list this year too.
How can I tell if I’m really getting a bargain?
Now this is the real trick, isn’t it? The first thing to say is that if you don’t need something, no matter how much you’re paying for it, it’s probably too much. But then, how many of us really need a new graphics card?
To make sure you’re not getting taken for a ride by misdirecting 99% off stickers it’s worth doing a little research on an item. Whether or not you’re buying something via Amazon the CamelCamelCamel price tracker for the US and UK will give you a rough idea if you might be paying over the odds for something.
Just drop in the name of the item you’re interested in and it will tell you the historic pricing for it across the last year or so on Amazon.
You can also check on the following stores to see what offers they have on leading up to Black Friday too.