How to spot the best deals on gaming PCs and laptops this Amazon Prime Day

Gaming laptop and gaming PC on a Amazon Prime Day background
(Image credit: Future)

We're entering the summer deals season once again. It kicked off with a smattering of 4th of July sales from the likes of HP, Dell, et al. releasing some tasty morsels, but we'll soon be hitting the main course, with Amazon Prime Day due to last from 12th–13th of July. That's more than a day, but anyway. That will segue into the back-to-school season, and before you know it we'll be getting ready for, gulp, Black Friday.

One thing we've seen from that initial sales salvo is that there's a big delta between the cheapest and most expensive deals for ostensibly the same kit. By way of example, gaming PCs packing an RTX 3060 start from as low as $848 for the likes of the HP Pavilion TG01 and go all the way up to $1,549 for the Omen 45L, also from the HP stable. That's almost double.

There are significant differences between those two systems for sure, with wildly different CPUs and upgrade potential. You're going to have to weigh up what is most important to you, and it may be you don't go with the absolute cheapest. For instance, we expect quite a range of CPUs to factor in this time around, and going with a 10th Gen Intel CPU when its 12th Gen is doing the rounds may be a step too far for you.

Ultimately though, if you're looking for a gaming PC or laptop, then the most important consideration is the graphics card. That's the component you want to focus on. That's the one thing that is going to define how well the system can game. 

But what can you expect to pay for such systems? Allow me to slip this crib sheet into your life just in time for Prime Day. Complete with example systems.

Gaming PC deals crib sheet

RTX 3060 ~$900 - HP Pavilion | $1,099.99 $848 at Walmart
RTX 3060 Ti
~$1,200 - ABS Master | $1,499.99 $1,119.99 at Newegg
RTX 3070
~$1,500 - Corsair Vengeance | $1,999.99 $1,449.99 at Microsoft
RTX 3070 Ti
~$1,600 - Alienware Aurora R12 | $2,699.99 $1,665.99 at Dell
RTX 3080
~$1,800 - Alienware Aurora R10 | $2,519.99 $1,665.99 at Dell
RTX 3080 Ti
~$2,500 - ABS Legend | $2,999.99 $2,599.99 at Newegg

Since I did something similar to this last Black Friday, prices have dropped by $200-$300, which is mostly going to be down to graphics cards becoming available again, but also because we've got next-gen cards on the way from Nvidia and AMD, as well as new CPUs incoming too. 

If you want your gaming to be a bit more mobile, then the good news is there are plenty of decent Prime Day laptop deals out there, and they start at reasonable prices, too. They do ramp up significantly as you climb Nvidia's GPU stack though. We're not expecting mobile refreshes of Nvidia's GPUs until the new year, so these are unlikely to see the kind of discounts that we expect on the desktops. Still, there are definitely good deals out there.

Gaming laptop deals crib sheet

RTX 3050 ~$700 - Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i | $1,149.99 $799.99 at Lenovo
RTX 3060 ~$1,000 - Gigabyte A5 K1 | $1,399 $1,049 at Amazon
RTX 3070
~$1,500 - Alienware m15 | $2,429.99 $1,469.99 at Dell
RTX 3080
~$1,600 - Gigabyte Aorus 15P YD | $1,699.99 $1,599 at Newegg

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Once again, these figures are just a guide. With laptops, in particular, you're looking at a much tighter relationship between the various subsystems, and you don't have the option to upgrade in the same way you do with desktops. The combination is going to have to last you. 

Still, the key takeaway is the same as it is with a desktop deal: You don't want to drop $1,500 on a gaming laptop that has an RTX 3060 at its heart when you know that sort of money can net you a much more powerful RTX 3070. Spend wisely, and hold off that buyer's remorse.

Amazon Prime Day

The deals on this page are for illustration purposes and may have changed by the time you read this. For the latest deals, check out Amazon Prime Day gaming PC deals and Amazon Prime Day gaming laptop deals pages.

When you are buying a deal, it pays to consider the whole machine, of course. After the graphics card itself, you should make sure you're getting a vaguely up-to-date CPU—we wouldn't go any older than a 10th-Gen Intel CPU (and ideally you want an 11th- or 12th-Gen model), and for AMD you want a Ryzen 5000-series chip on desktop, and 4000-series or later on a laptop. 

Next up you need to look at the amount of memory present and the storage on offer. Ideally, you want 16GB of RAM, and to make the most of the memory subsystem, you want a pair of 8GB sticks, not just a single 16GB unit. On the cheaper systems, you'll often see 8GB as standard, but you can at least upgrade later down the line if you need. As for storage, you want a 500GB NVMe SSD or larger. If we're writing our dream specs, then a 1TB drive, or even a 2TB unit, would be preferable, but again you can upgrade later on.

Whatever you're looking for, there are definitely some good deals out there. And as we get nearer to Prime Day, we expect some choice deals to appear. Just have a mind about how much you should pay for what's on offer, and you won't make a costly misstep.

Alan Dexter

Alan has been writing about PC tech since before 3D graphics cards existed, and still vividly recalls having to fight with MS-DOS just to get games to load. He fondly remembers the killer combo of a Matrox Millenium and 3dfx Voodoo, and seeing Lara Croft in 3D for the first time. He's very glad hardware has advanced as much as it has though, and is particularly happy when putting the latest M.2 NVMe SSDs, AMD processors, and laptops through their paces. He has a long-lasting Magic: The Gathering obsession but limits this to MTG Arena these days.