There’s nothing quite like the feeling of gaming on a PC you built. You know the machine inside and out, how hard you can push performance, and it’s styled just the way you want it.
The downside is that building a PC can have a high upfront cost. But there are some strategies that can have you beating the consoles at the price game.
So, what’s the best time of year to make these upgrades or even buy a whole new set of parts? It all depends on what you are looking to buy.
This is the classic time to power up your PC. Black Friday offers some of the most ambitious sales of the year.
Black Friday has also changed dramatically over the last decade. What used to be an in-store event that lasted for a day or two is now an online super-sale that lasts for nearly two months.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are starting as soon as October and some are even blending into the holiday shopping specials.
All of the usual websites and brick-and-mortar stores will have Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials usually starting around November 29th and lasting for the weekend. Cyber Monday starts up the following Monday and those specials can last for just the day or up to an entire week, often called Cyber Week.
If you’re looking to pick up new parts or even a whole new gaming rig, Black Friday is the time. Keep an eye out for bundles that group sales together and let you buy an entire computer for a fraction of the cost.
New Product Releases
New PC parts come out every year. If you time your shopping to the release cycle of the latest gear, you can save some cash on new parts, but there’s a catch. You have to buy older equipment.
When the latest models of CPUs, graphics cards, and other parts hit the market, their older lines drop sharply in price. The price is even lower if you go two or three models back.
The trade off here is that, obviously, your gaming PC will be less powerful than a brand new machine with the latest tech. Thankfully, parts that are two, even three or more, years old are fully able to run most of the latest games on decent settings.
If you’re gaming on a budget, you can buy last years top-of-the-line gear for a fraction of the price if you watch the new product release cycle.
The height of tax return season starts in late April. Your tax rebates checks will land sometime in that window, and computer part stores know it.
Websites and stores that sell computer parts usually run some specials and promotions as “Spring Sales” to line up with this influx of consumer cash.
Even if the parts you are looking for don’t go on sale, this still might be one of the best times to buy them. It’s age old wisdom in the PC gaming scene that if you are buying a new gaming PC, you should buy it all at once.
Buying components over time runs a few risks including losing parts, compatibility issues, and parts aging out of favor. So if you’re buying an entire PC, tax return season is a great time to buy!
This is the trickiest one, but can bring you the biggest savings. If you’ve been in the PC gaming scene for a while, you can probably remember back when a GPU was one of the cheapest components of your build. Even high-end GPUs were a fraction of their price today.
So what changed?
Cryptocurrency. The rise in popularity of Bitcoin and its alternatives caused a massive spike in GPU costs that we are still experiencing.
Bitcoin mining facilities uses hundreds, if not thousands, of GPUs to mine their cryptocurrencies. Before cryptocurrency mining, high-end GPUs were used sparingly by digital artists, gamers, and scientist. Their rise in popularity came with a rise in price.
If you can keep your ear to the ground, you can stay ahead of price swings for PC parts. For example, if Bitcoin drops in popularity, either due to being regulated or other reasons, the cost of GPUs will drop dramatically.
The same goes for any part of your PC. Keep an eye on any trends that will shift the PC part market and you’ll stand to save tons of cash on your next gaming rig.
So When Should I Buy?
As you might have guessed by now, this depends on what you are looking for.
If you are just looking to add some more RAM or you want to upgrade that old GPU, the sales are the best time for you. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and any email list deals will give you the best bang for your buck.
If your biggest concern is budget, take some time to research when all the major companies are releasing their latest parts. This will give you an idea of when last year’s models will go on sale.
You can also keep an eye on market trends. If a certain trend is going out of style (those red LEDs in everything won’t be cool forever) or if cryptocurrency leaves GPUs behind, you can pick up great deals as the market changes.
This way you can still load up your gaming PC with high-end parts, without overclocking your wallet.
Don’t forget that if you’re buying an entire machine, you’re going to want to buy it all at once. Don’t risk losing parts, getting components that aren’t compatible, or having mismatched gear.
Buying everything in one go not only saves money, but makes sure you’re not sitting around with 32 gigs of RAM and no PC to game with.
Keep these elite upgrade strats in mind and you’ll be fill out that PC upgrade tree in no time.