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 2015 rolls around and the shopping season officially begins on November 27, 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. And, of course, we'll be highlighting the best deals we find when the time comes. You'll also be able to find Black Friday tech deals at one of our sister sites.
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.