Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be here before you know it, with the holiday season soon to follow. That means we're rapidly approaching the best time of year to purchase new PC gaming hardware, components, accessories, and games.
At this point, the only question is whether you should wait until Black Friday to buy whatever sweet piece of gear you've had your eye on. The answer is tricky, too. Prices are sure to come down during Black Friday / Cyber Monday themselves, but we've also come to expect a flurry of sales in the days and weeks leading up to that fateful weekend of deals.
With that in mind, here's what to expect (and how to prepare) for Black Friday 2018 and Cyber Monday 2018.
When is Black Friday 2018?
Black Friday is officially the Friday following Thanksgiving in the US, which puts it on November 23, 2018 this year. Having said that, we've come to expect deals to start going live throughout Thanksgiving day (and sometimes even earlier).
When is Cyber Monday 2018?
Cyber Monday is the first Monday following Thanksgiving/Black Friday. This year Cyber Monday 2018 is Monday November 26.
What's the difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
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Black Friday began as a day of shopping sales at brick-and-mortar stores, with Cyber Monday later joining it as the day for finding online deals. But as online shopping has risen to stratospheric levels (have you seen how much Amazon is worth lately?), you can expect to see deals both in-store and online starting on Black Friday (and earlier), and continuing through the weekend.
Some companies and retailers release all of their planned sales on Black Friday, while others divvy them up throughout the weekend, or hold some deals to push live on Cyber Monday. We'll have a team working around the clock combing through thousands of deals—both good and bad—to find sales on our favorite components and deep discounts on other great hardware. We'll let you know if a deal is worth considering, or if it's even a good deal in the first place.
To get the best deals, we recommend checking back often as new deals go live—and as we curate more and more of the best ones we can find.
How should I prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
The first thing is do your homework. Figure out what components you want to upgrade, and do your research to figure out which parts are best for you. (Our hardware buying guides are great for advice on that front.) Once you've figured out your target deals, check how much they're usually sold for using a tool like PCPartPicker or CamelCamelCamel. That way once the sales hit, you can tell how much money (if any) you're actually saving.
Next it's a good idea to set a budget—there's a ton of stuff on sale, and it's easy to get carried away buying things you don't really need. Having said that, don't be afraid to splurge. The discounts will be considerable—take advantage.
What to expect from gaming PC deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Intel just launched its first 9th-generation "Cannon Lake" Intel Core processors, including the i5-9600K, the i7-9600K, and i9-9900k. The chances of seeing a heavily-discounted gaming PC with one of these processors is slim. On the plus side, manufacturers will be eager to clear out their existing inventories of PCs with 7th-gen (Kaby Lake) and 8th-gen (Coffee Lake) Intel processors. These desktops will still handle modern AAA games just fine when paired with a higher-end graphics card.
AMD also released a new line of processors this year—the second-gen Ryzen CPUs. However, there aren't many PCs on the market with these new CPUs. It's possible we'll see a few models on sale, but expect to see steeper discounts on desktops using AMD's processors from last year—the 1600X, 1700X, and 1800X. For example, this iBUYPOWER PC with an 1800X and an RX 580 already dropped to $799 once.
As far as graphics cards go, Nvidia just released its first RTX GPUs, and there are already plenty of prebuilt PCs with them. However, most of these are already backordered or out of stock, so most the PCs that go on sale this Black Friday/Cyber Monday will use GTX 10-series cards.
What to expect from gaming laptop deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
There haven't been any groundbreaking technological advancements in gaming laptops over the past year. There aren't any models with Nvidia's new RTX graphics cards yet. However, we have started to see plenty of laptops using Intel's eighth-generation Core processors, which include the usual performance and battery life improvements.
This Black Friday/Cyber Monday, you should expect to see the same $100-300 discounts as last year, depending on the original price. Nothing too exciting, but if you are in the market for a gaming laptop, the money saved can go towards a few Steam games or a nice headset.
What to expect from GPU deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Graphics card prices have finally returned to normal, after the year-long cryptocurrency-induced shortage. Now that manufacturers have plenty of excess stock, you can expect to see some great deals this year.
Nvidia just launched its brand new RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti cards, finally bringing ray-tracing to mainstream hardware. Because these products are still new, don't expect to see major discounts. However, there will almost certainly be great deals on last-gen GTX 10-series cards, like the GTX 1080 and 1070. Companies like EVGA and Gigabyte have already been clearing out their inventories of old GPUs with recent sales.
AMD hasn't had any major graphics card launches this year, so you should expect the same $40-60 off discounts we saw during the last Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
What to expect from monitor deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have sort of morphed into one long holiday shopping season, rather than wholly separate events. Some deals are specific to one or the other, but for the most part, there is a constant rotation of bargains starting before Thanksgiving and running through at least the following Monday, sometimes longer.
Vendors typically leverage the holiday shopping season to clear out older inventories. It's rare to see a brand new product go on sale, so we don't expect there to be any significant discounts on monitors like the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ or Acer Predator X27, the pair of 4K 144Hz monitors with HDR and G-Sync support (everything but the kitchen sink, in other words). At around $2,000 a pop, there's a limited audience for those models anyway.
That said, we do expect to see deals on 4K monitors in general, and to some extent, HDR displays as well. We also anticipate deals on monitors supporting AMD's first generation Freesync technology. AMD has been pushing an updated 'Freesync 2 HDR' certification, so vendors will likely look to clear room for newer models.
One in particular to be on the lookout for is Asus's MG279Q. We consider this to be one of the best Freesync gaming monitors out there. It's a 27-inch monitor with a 2560x1440 resolution and 144Hz refresh rate.
Last year we saw discounts on a range of monitors, including a 7 percent savings on the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q, a 27-inch 1440p monitor with a 144MHz (overclocks to 165MHz) refresh rate and G-Sync support.
What to expect from SSD deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Solid state drives have been on a steady price decline over the past few years, thanks to lower manufacturing costs and greater competition. This has accelerated in the past few months, leaving SSD prices at an all-time low.
Most 500GB SATA drives are less than $100, and 1TB models are typically around $150. Faster M.2 disks are still more expensive than their SATA counterparts, but not by much; 500GB NVMe M.2 drives run for about $150.
This Black Friday, you can expect SSD prices to drop to absurdly-low prices. As seen in the list below, some drives were as much as 40-60% off last year.
What to expect from motherboard deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
The Z390 boards are already stocked at online-retailers. They're not a total overhaul of the Z370s, but they've added a few extra features. Many Z370s also have updated BIOSes to accommodate the new 9th gen Cores. If you are thinking on splurging on one of Intel's new CPUs, but need a new motherboard to go with it, you don't need to rush to get the newest one. Expect to see some of the same discounts again as last year.
As for motherboards with AMD chipsets, there were a few deals last year on motherboards that supported both first gen and second gen Ryzen processors, like the ASUS ROG Strix X370-F, so it seems likely we'll see those deals again. A lot of AMD motherboards are currently $10 less than their usual price, so expect those savings to increase once Black Friday and Cyber Monday roll around.
Of course, if you aren't sure what to put on your shopping list when the time comes, you can always take a look at our recommendations for the best gaming motherboards.
What to expect from CPU deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Intel just launched its first 9th-generation "Cannon Lake" Intel Core processors, including the i5-9600K, the i7-9600K, and i9-9900k. The chances of seeing these CPUs on sale are slim, since they're brand new. On the plus side, retailers might be more inclined to clear out their existing inventories of 7th-gen (Kaby Lake) and 8th-gen (Coffee Lake) Intel CPUs.
When it comes to AMD, it's likely that we'll see steep discounts on both first and second-generation Ryzen processors. For some perspective, the Ryzen 5 2600X only launched a few months ago, and it has already dropped in price from $230 to $210. That's not a massive price drop by any means, but it's indicative we might see great deals this Black Friday/Cyber Monday.
What to expect from PC case deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Last year's Black Friday was a great time to buy a PC case, as there were quite a few popular models on sale. Corsair, Thermaltake, Fractal Design, Rosewill, NZXT, Corsair, Bitfenix, and other companies all had discounted cases—even if the best deals required mail-in rebates.
This Black Friday/Cyber Monday, you can expect the same $30-60 off discounts we saw last year. Nothing too exciting, but the money you save by grabbing a cheaper case can go towards better internal hardware or a few games.
What to expect from RAM deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Since last year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday occurred in the middle of global flash memory shortages, it's difficult to predict this year's sales based on the past. Prime Day 2018, which occurred several months after the decline began, gives us a better idea of what to expect. Corsair's Vengeance RGB Pro 16GB (2 x 8GB) RAM was $170 ($40 off), and G.SKILL's Ripjaws V 16GB (2 x 8GB) kit was $150 ($40 off).
Given that prices have continued to fall since Prime Day, it's probably safe to assume the discounts will be slightly better this year—perhaps $50-60 off for certain RAM kits.
What to expect from headset deals this Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Last year there were a massive amount of gaming headsets on sale, from low-end models to premium variants. No matter what your budget, this year you can expect to get a gaming headset at a great price. We've listed some of the best deals from last year in the section below.
This Black Friday/Cyber Monday, you can expect to see plenty of headsets on sale for around 30-50% off, depending on the manufacturer and original price. Logitech, Razer, and SteelSeries had all their popular models discounted last Black Friday — there won't be any shortage of options.
What to expect from PC speaker deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Computer speakers don't change much from year to year, but there have been a few interesting product launches since the last Black Friday and Cyber Monday. For example, Logitech released its G560 speakers with RGB lighting, which is now our top PC speaker recommendation. Razer also launched its new THX-certified Nommo Pro, which of course has RGB lighting.
Going by last year's deals, you can expect to see speakers for around 30-50 percent off this Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Most of the discounted PC audio products last year were for headsets, but there were still a few good deals on speakers, especially ones more oriented for home theater use.
What to expect from gaming router deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
This past Amazon Prime Day gives us a good idea of what to expect from this year's Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Linksys, Netgear, Asus, TP-Link, and Synology all had their higher-end routers on sale — typically around 30-50 percent off the original prices.
There haven't been any radical advances in Wi-Fi technology over the past year, so there isn't a specific feature you should be looking for in discounted routers. Mesh systems like the Google Wi-Fi and Netgear Orbi are becoming more and more popular, but recent improvements in that product category are mostly thanks to better software, not new hardware.
What to expect from 4K TV deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
There haven't been any radical improvements in 4K TVs since last year, so there aren't any specific products or features you should keep an eye out for. Most smart TVs still run webOS, Roku OS, or Amazon's Fire TV OS.
4K TVs have only started to hit mainstream over the past year or two, and the manufacturing costs continue to decline. Because of these two factors, you can expect this year's 4K TV sales to be just as good as last year's, and perhaps even better.
What to expect from controller deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Little has changed from last year’s options when it comes to the selection of great game pads and controllers available, and as far as we’re concerned, Sony’s DualShock 4 controller is still the height of performance for PC gaming, as well as our favorite to use. The addition of the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller to the mix as a viable option for PC gaming has altered the landscape a bit, but it’s considerably pricier than its console brethren for those looking for bargains for PC controllers.
For 2018’s impending Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, we’re likely to see the usual suspects, such as Sony's DualShock 4 controller and Microsoft's Xbox One controller going for decent prices, and occasionally the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller will be on offer. It's likely with the many Xbox One and PlayStation 4 bundles available this year, we'll see a similar swath of deals popping up for Black Friday and Cyber Monday to go along with the cheaper bundles that folks will be gifting and receiving throughout the holidays.
What to expect from gaming chair deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Chairs4Gaming held a decent Black Friday sale last year with 15 to 20 percent off of a selection of DXRacer models, and 10 percent off footrests. Meanwhile, Office Depot ran a sale on a $99 "gaming chair" of an undisclosed brand. For 2018, Staples has already revealed a $99 gaming chair (brand unknown), which is $100 down from its usual price.
Unfortunately, gaming chairs aren't equipment that typically get that many decent sales around the holidays, due to their higher prices and quality. However, discounts that most retailers offer around this time will likely work on inventory they carry that's eligible for percentages off, even if there's not a sale on a gaming chair per se.
Amazon offered a few gaming chairs for Prime Day recently as well, such as the Respawn 110 Racing Style Leather Gaming Chair for $139.99, down from its original price of $497, among a few other deals, so we could see similar set of deals take place for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. With gaming chairs more in demand than ever thanks to the growing number of streamers out there, it’s likely we’ll see a swath of additional sales this year.
What to expect from power supply deals on Black Friday/Cyber Monday
Last year, there was a veritable cornucopia of different deals on power supplies, centralized mainly at Newegg and Amazon. Both retailers offered a series of decent deals on brands ranging from Corsair to EVGA, with Thermaltake and Seasonic sprinkled in for good measure. Newegg's deals heavily relied on rebates, while Amazon's deals were simply percentages off the normal price.
It's safe to say we'll likely see the same varied deals for 2018, as both retailers continue to offer similar prices year after year during their Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions, as you can see from 2016 as well as 2017. There should be a decent selection of PSUs with varying wattage and modular and non-modular options that you can choose from depending on your prowess with putting together your own computer builds. No matter your preference, this year should be chock-full of similarly attractive offers as well.
What to expect from case fan and CPU cooler deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
There haven't been any radical advancements in fan technology or CPU coolers over the past year, so there aren't any specific products you should keep an eye out for. Case fans still pull air in and out of your computer, and CPU coolers still pull heat away from your processor.
This year, you can expect to see the same sorts of sales that occurred during last year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Corsair and Coolermaster had several of their popular fans and coolers on sale, typically around 20-50 percent off. You might also see a few discounted models from companies like EVGA, NZXT, Deepcool, and BeQuiet.
Stick with PC Gamer
Our team will be working around the clock through the holiday season scouring the digital store shelves for the best PC gaming deals to be found. Check back often as we track down the best pre-Black Friday deals, and of course visit us on Black Friday and Cyber Monday to see all the best PC gaming deals to be had.
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