We saw plenty of Black Friday RAM deals last year, but they were largely held back from true greatness due to the skyrocketing memory prices. This year, things have changed. RAM prices have not only stabilized, but plummeted over the course of 2019, meaning it's possible to find RAM kits at better prices than ever. It also means that when this year's Black Friday deals roll around, we'll likely see some of the cheapest RAM kits ever to go on sale.
When shopping for RAM, there's a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, you want DDR4 RAM, as DDR3 is almost entirely outdated at this point. Beyond that, we generally recommend looking for 16GB kits, or 32GB if you're putting together a high-end gaming PC build. At this point, 8GB is not enough for some of the latest games, while anything more than 32GB is overkill. As for memory speed, there doesn't tend to be more than a $10 to $20 difference between low-end 2133MHz and kits at 3000MHz and above. Considering the small price difference, it's usually worth splurging on the faster sticks. (And if you're wondering, RAM speed does matter for gaming.)
Black Friday RAM deals—when do they go on sale?
While actual Black Friday isn't until November 29, you can expect the deals to start well before then. In previous years we've seen sales start about 2 weeks in advance, so you should keep an eye on any RAM kits you're considering from about November 15 onwards. Because Black Friday is relatively late in the month this year, you can expect to see the sales running into Christmas. There's usually a bit of a lull in early December, but with Cyber Monday happening on December 2 and all the deals from that expected to run until a week after (December 9) then you're realistically going to be seeing cheap prices on monitors until Santa's ready to deliver his gifts on Christmas Eve.
In terms of actual buying advice... that's a little trickier. Most retailers save their absolute best deals for Black Friday itself, but there's really no guarantee that your chosen kit will be a part of that. If you're absolutely sold on a particular kit—maybe you really like one brand's implementation of RGB lighting—and you see it on sale, don't hesitate to pull the trigger. There will be some great RAM deals on Black Friday itself, but at this point there's no telling which specific kits will be on sale.
Black Friday RAM deals from 2018 (expired)
While they're no longer on sale, it's always good to look at the RAM deals from Black Friday last year, to see the kind of discounts that retailers offer. We've included below a variety of memory kit sizes and speeds to suit whatever your budget needs. Again, these are deals from 2018, they're no longer active, and you can expect different kits to be on sale in November, but this does give you an idea of what to expect this year.
G.Skill Tridentz RGB series 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4 | $259
This is about as cheap as we've seen this powerful memory. Squeeze 32GB into two slots and enjoy the lightshow provided by the RGB bars. Buy at Newegg GeIL Evo Potenza 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-2666 | $94.99 ($33 off)
This deal beats anything we saw last year by a wide margin. It's relatively tame specs of DDR42400 CL16, but it's the lowest price we've seen lately on a 16GB kit. Buy at Newegg Patriot Signature 8GB (2x4GB) DDR4-2400 CL17 | $54.99 ($10 off)
One of the least expensive dual-channel kits currently available. It's generic memory at an affordable price, if you can't quite spring for a 16GB kit. Buy at Newegg
How to save money on RAM during Black Friday
When Black Friday rolls around, there's no shortage of great deals in sight. If anything, the biggest problem is the sheer number of options at your fingertips. Online stores will be shouting for your attention—and your money—so it helps to have an idea of what you're looking for. We here at PC Gamer will be combing through the digital store shelves separating the genuinely good deals from the overpriced garbage. While we'll be here to guide you during the event itself, here are some money saving tips to help you navigate the savings.
1. Know what you need in advance
Are you working on a completely new build, or just adding a new set of sticks to your existing rig? Either way, it's a good idea to decide whether you want a 16GB or 32GB RAM kit (smaller and larger sizes exist, of course, but we don't recommend going with less than 16, while more than 32 is overkill for most users). Similarly, you should decide if you care about fancy extras like RGB lighting, or if a simple and clean set of sticks will do the job.
2. Pay attention to speed, but don't stress about it
For DDR4 users, there's almost no point in buying minimum speed memory. DDR4-2666 can be had for basically the same price as DDR4-2133, and even DDR4-3200 often costs a few bucks more. Pay attention to memory timings as well, as lower speeds with tighter CL13 or CL14 timings can end up performing a bit better. In general, however, there's less than a three percent difference in overall system performance when comparing DDR4-2400 to DDR4-3200 memory, so buy whatever fits your budget that fits your aesthetic.
3. Keep a couple of price comparison sites bookmarked
While PC Gamer will be bringing you the best deals we can find on RAM, you need to decide whether or not you're buying at the right price for you. Looking at price comparison sites like CamelCamelCamel can give you a sense of your chosen kit's price history, and whether or not you're actually getting a good deal. It's often tempting to hold out for the 'lowest price ever' but our advice is to just look for a decent saving and not get too hung up prices hitting rock bottom.
Best RAM deals right now
RAM prices have thankfully been fairly healthy this year, so if you see a great deal right now, don't worry about waiting until Black Friday—there's no guarantee the savings will be greater.
CORSAIR Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 | $69.99
Corsair's Vengeance LPX RAM kits aren't terribly flashy to look at, but they're solid sticks at a great price. View Deal
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 | $79.99
For $10 more you get basically the same RAM kit (though the timings are slightly different), except this one is outfitted with RGB lighting. View Deal