Ah, Black Friday 2020, it's so very nearly upon us. With the alluring promise of the ultimate deals on the finest PC gaming gear, the annual consumer shopping frenzy represents a tempting time to either pick up a bargain to round off your perfect PC setup, or else get ahead of the Christmas gifting rush.
Amazon - the theory of everything
Walmart - Games, Movies, Budget Laptops
B&H - Monitors, Laptops, and PCs
Best Buy - PCs, Laptops, and Accessories
Target - Games, Accessories, and Laptops
Staples - Gaming Chairs
Lenovo - Discounts on Legion Laptops and PCs
Razer - Laptops and Gaming Accessories
Newegg - Components and Hardware
Microsoft - PCs, Laptops, and Games
Dell - Alienware PCs and Laptops
As usual, Black Friday 2020 itself occurs on the last Friday of November, which this year makes it November 27. But that is, of course, not telling the full story about the true extent of this shopaholism-inducing sales event. Really we're talking about Black November because as soon as the calendar ticks over to the first of that month pretty much every retailer across the globe will start to paint it black.
On the plus side it does mean we don't necessarily have to jump into the maelstrom over the weekend to find the best Black Friday deals on PC gaming goodies. There will be different offers across the month, with a host of different retailers aiming to get the jump on each other with the best offers.
Mostly that means they'll all be trying to beat Amazon. But that is generally an exercise in futility as Jeff knows all, Jeff sees all, and will price match everyone into oblivion. He's probably plugged directly, meatily into a vast datacentre at the start of November, with neurons firing hither and thither, matching or beating the likes of Newegg, Walmart, and the rest in deals... until he's bodily removed by his minions at some point in January to recuperate in a Bacta tank until Prime Day 2021. Probably.
When is Black Friday 2020?
In this inauspicious year Black Friday itself falls on November 27, 2020, and effectively carries through the weekend into Cyber Monday on November 30, 2020. We expect the likes of Amazon will hold back certain key deal until this final weekend, though, as I pointed out earlier, you will find the whole dealsgasm going on throughout the month.
To be honest, with Amazon Prime Day 2020 hitting sometime in October, you could almost see it actually kicking off in earnest with that two-day, members-only event and then running through to the end of November.
That's a lot of shopping time.
What can I expect discounts on this Black Friday 2020?
When it comes to PC gaming we're expecting you'll be able to find discounts on pretty much every facet of your rig this year. Traditionally it's a great time to keep an eye out for gaming laptop deals, with companies keen to clear older, but still high-quality, stock before the end of the year and new generations are released.
There may also be some deals on the best gaming PCs over the month too, for the same reason. A new generation of Nvidia Ampere and AMD RDNA 2 graphics cards, as well as AMD Zen 3 processors, will be shipping before the year end, and that means last-gen machines might get their final hurrah.
It also means the best graphics cards of the existing GeForce and Radeon generations, which are mostly still available in the shops, could see some meaty discounts too. I would expect that, most especially, AMD Ryzen 3000 CPUs will be the key components to receive stellar deals throughout November.
The price of memory, and therefore the best SSDs, is in a bit of a freefall state right now, and that bodes well for some tasty deals this Black Friday. Again, we're expecting the PCIe 4.0 generation of solid state drives to really push on going into 2021, with new memory controllers and the first next-gen Samsung drive dropping soon, so we expect to see existing PCIe 3.0 SSDs getting their own suite of discounts too.
The gaming monitor market has been mildly stagnant over the last year, but traditionally you'll find Black Friday a good time to be looking for either a straight monitor or for a big-screen 4K TV for gaming.
The PC peripheral market too goes into overdrive around Black Friday, and so the likes of Logitech and Razer are bound to be slashing prices on their existing stock of gaming keyboards, gaming headsets, and the not-so humble gaming mouse.
What should I avoid buying on Black Friday 2020?
Basically anything you don't need. It's distressingly easy to be duped into dropping cash on something just because there's a hefty discount attached to it… even though you have absolutely no use for it.
If you're considering making a purchase around Black Friday we would absolutely recommend going into November with a plan of attack. That probably sounds needlessly aggressive, but you need to know what you actually want to buy first or you'll end up with no end of crap.
Cheap crap, maybe, but crap nonetheless.
Do some research on the products you'd like to pick up in the sales, and maybe some alternatives in case those don't pop up, and set yourself a strict budget too.
Products like graphics cards and processors have obvious tiers (though the different companies work damned hard to make product names as confusing as possible), and SSDs have rated speeds, but for peripherals it's tougher to tell from the specs whether they're worth the money. Checking for reviews, from such luminaries as ourselves, should guide you on your way, and also checking price trackers such as CamelCamelCamel will let you know if a deal's more than just skin deep.
Any other Black Friday 2020 tips and tricks?
If you haven't already used it up during a credit card splurge around Amazon Prime Day, then you ought to take the opportunity to sign up for a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime. That will get you early access to the Lightning Deals, and help you grab some of Jeff's best deals of the day. It will also net you free shipping on a host of products and speedy delivery too, and at the very worst it'll be handy when it comes to bagging some last-minute Christmas gifts for that aunt you always forget about.
It also might be worth keeping an eye out for Walmart Plus, or Walmart+, depending on how it eventually gets branded. At the moment Walmart's upcoming service is still behind closed doors, but it could be launched in time for Black Friday and may see some of the company's best offers reserved for its release.
But whatever happens around Black Friday 2020, we'll be on hand throughout November to make sure that you're told about the best PC gaming deals going down around the event, and hopefully put a stop to any potential buyer's remorse.