Black Friday is no longer just a day. It's not longer just a week. It's a state of mind: a day of deals stretched into an entire holiday season of sales, discounts, and special offers. Black Friday means weeks of deals on PC components like SSDs and cheap games on Steam. But it also means a whole lot of junk going on sale at prices that look great, until you realize you're saving money on something you shouldn't be buying in the first place.
When Black Friday 2017 rolls around and the shopping season officially begins on November 24, take some time to think before you buy. Here are our tips on what you should be buying this holiday season, and how to make sure you're getting a good deal.
Save big game purchases for the Steam Winter Sale
The holidays are the time for big AAA releases. They're also the time for Valve's annual winter sale on Steam, which slashes prices on thousands of games across the Steam library. Brand new big games rarely see big discounts, but you still might be able to save a few bucks. More importantly, games you've been waiting patiently to buy from spring and summer should see some heavy discounts. The longer you can wait to buy, the better the savings.
Storage and memory may be your chance for big savings
When it comes to PC components, there are some parts that rarely see big discounts. You're likely not going to score a price drop on an Intel processor, and that new graphics card you've been eying probably won't drop in price, either. But hard drives and SSDs? Those are going to have some great deals.
If you want bulk storage, keep an eye on Western Digital hard drives. Green drives aren't that fast, but they're perfectly fine for holding thousands of photos and other files. Speeds on SATA SSDs are pretty similar across the board, so as long as you buy one that's reliable, a Black Friday deal would be a good time to buy an SSD dedicated to your game library.
You may also see some good deals on RAM and power supplies. Again, make sure what you're buying is well-rated for reliability. If it has no reviews on sites like Amazon and Newegg, you may want to steer clear.
Check our buying guides for the best components
Black Friday deals usually aren't about getting the best. They're about getting the cheapest. Still, sometimes you get lucky. If you spot something from our hardware buying guides on sale, you know that it's both a good deal and a good product.
Check Amazon prices on CamelCamelCamel
Sometimes a Black Friday deal isn't actually a deal, because it's a crappy product that you shouldn't buy at any price. And sometimes a Black Friday deal isn't actually a deal, because it's not even a discount over that product's typical price! Prices on Amazon.com tend to fluctuate all the time, and a Black Friday discount could still see that price substantially above a typical Amazon dip. To make sure you're actually getting a good deal, price check your buy on CamelCamelCamel. If it regularly hits a lower price, save that purchase for later.
Below were our favorite deals from Black Friday last year. It's a good indicator of what hardware you can expect to go on sale this year in 2017, and what kind of discounts you're going to get.
Crucial MX300 750 GB SATA SSD: $120, B&H (save $50). Killer deal if you're looking for a high capacity SSD! (Currently out of stock, but check back.)
Intel 600p 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD: $290, Newegg (save $110) We've long-since advocated for SSDs as one of the single most important components in putting together a snappy rig, and that advice holds strong as the super-fast M.2 NVMe SSDs become more and more available. Intel's 600p is one of the slowest NVMe drives, but it still beats SATA drives and pricing is similar.
Samsung 850 Evo 500GB SATA: $130, Newegg (save $50), Amazon. The lowest price we've seen on Samsung's drive, one of the best SATA offerings. You also get a free copy of Watch Dogs 2 (at Newegg), making this a potentially great deal.
Seagate HDD 4TB 64MB: $100 after promo code (ESCFFGJ38), Newegg (save $65). Cheapest 4TB drive we've found. Deal expires at 11:59pm.
Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD: £150, Overclockers.UK (save £50). If you're staying with the SATA interface, the Samsung 850 EVO series are the best in both performance and price. Samsung has been leading the charge on SSDs. There's really no excuse anymore to boot Windows off a hard drive.
Asus GTX 1070 Turbo 8GB: $370 at Amazon (save $46)
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Windforce OC: $235 (after $15 MIR), Newegg, (save $25)
Zotac GTX 1060 3GB Mini: $185 at Amazon (save $15)
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition: £620, Overclockers.UK (save £80). Many places are now putting the Founders Edition Nvidia cards on sale, which is good since they're basically reference clocked cards with a blower cooling solution. (Currently out of stock, but says more 'available soon.')
Palit GeForce GTX 1070 GameRock 8GB: £380, Overclockers.UK (save £40)
XFX RX 480 Black Edition 8GB: £230, Overclockers.UK (save £30)
Asus ROG Swift 27-inch curved (PG278Q) 2560x1440 144Hz 1ms with G-Sync: $500, Fry's after promo code (2286478) and rebate ($50) (save $200) This is the best price we found on this great WQHD monitor with a high refresh rate and G-Sync. You may need to signup with an email address to receive a new promo code.
Asus ROG Swift 34-inch curved (PG348Q) 3440x1440 IPS 100Hz with G-Sync: $1,100, Amazon (save $200)
Acer Predator 24-inch (XB241H) 1920x1080 144Hz with G-Sync: $350, Amazon (save $50). Unfortunately, G-Sync monitors still come with a premium of a few hundred dollars over their FreeSync brethren, but they're worth the price if you want a variable refresh rate while using an Nvidia GPU. This Acer Predator is ideal for fast-paced 1080p gaming, and while it's not a huge discount, $350 is the cheapest it's ever been.
Asus 34-inch ROG Swift (PG348Q) 3440x1440 with G-Sync 100Hz: £980, Overclockers.UK (save £310). While still on the higher end of the price spectrum, the ROG Swift series from Asus are our favorite displays to game on around the office. Can't go wrong with both resolution and G-Sync.
Gaming headsets and headphones
Sennheiser PC350 Special Edition: $78, Newegg (save $80). The PC350 from Sennheiser deal is a great one that's hard to beat. Great audio from one of the best headphone brands in the world. Expires Sunday.
SteelSeries Siberia 650 Gaming Headset: $150, SteelSeries direct (save $50)
SteelSeries Siberia 800 Wireless Gaming Headset: $200, Amazon (save $100)
EKWB custom liquid cooling deals: EKWB, our favorite maker of custom cooling hardware and what we used in the LPC, is running a massive sale on all of its tubes and fittings. Over 60% off on all tubes.
HTC Vive VR system: $700 + $100 store credit, Microsoft Store (save $200). Microsoft is besting both Amazon and Newegg on the HTC Vive. You get a straight $100 discount off the headset, and $100 to spend on games or whatever else on the Microsoft store.
Steam Link: $20, Amazon (save $30) - OUT OF STOCK
Blue Microphones Yeti USB Mic: $90, Newegg (save $40) The Yeti is hands down our favorite USB microphone and is very often recommended by professional streamers.
The Razer DeathAdder Chroma is still one of our favorite gaming mice, and it's available on Amazon for $48 this week, which is $22 off the usual price. Its 6400 CPI optical sensor is great, and the shape is simply the best around no matter how you hold a mouse.
Microsoft Xbox One controller: $40, Microsoft Store (save $25)
Steam controller + carrying case: $35, Amazon (save $14)
Razer Diamondback Chroma Ambidextrous: $38, Amazon (save $52). Great deal on this top quality mouse at the moment at 58% off.
Logitech MK270 keyboard and mouse combo: £13.79, Amazon (save £8)
Razer Abyssus V2 mouse: £38, Amazon (save £22)
Razer BlackWidow Ultimate 2014 keyboard: £85, Amazon (save £50)
Razer BlackWidow Essential mechanical keyboard: £60, Amazon (save £40)
Razer DeathAdder Chroma mouse: £55, Amazon (save £20)
Vertagear Racing Series S-Line SL2000 Gaming Chair: £150, Overclockers.UK(save £50)
Google Chromecast: £18, John Lewis (save £12)
Fire TV Stick: £25, Amazon (save £10)
Google Chromecast: £18, Currys (save £12)
LG 55UH7700 55-inch 4K LED TV (2016 model): $800, Amazon (save $1003). This is one of the best 4K HDTVs you can get for under $1000.
LG 55UH6030 55-inch 4K Smart LED TV (2016 model): $500, Newegg, (save $250)
Samsung 49-inch 6500 series curved 4K Smart LED TV: $547, Walmart (save $553) - (Currently out of stock)
Vizio D65u-D2 65-inch 4K Smart LED TV: $848, Walmart (save $450). What a killer deal on this monster of a 4K TV. 65-inches of awesomeness for under a grand. And in case there was any doubt, Vizio now makes some of the best HDTVs on the market.
Samsung UE49KU6670 49-inch curved 4K TV: £699, Currys (save £250)