Black Friday and Cyber Monday are upon us again. ‘Tis the season, as they say, for unrepentant, gluttonous consumerism. The official dates are Friday, November 23rd and Monday, November 26th; however, that doesn’t stop retailers from enticing would be buyers early – we’ve already seen Newegg doing their “Black November” discounts.
Amazon has announced they’ll be dedicating an entire week to the event, and Newegg has deals going live as early as November the 19th (that’s today). Many deals will go live on Thanksgiving Day, with all deals going live on the day after, presumably at midnight.
We’ll be rounding-up the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales for computer hardware, heading into the holidays. This should help those looking for advice on where and how to shop. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, as well, or hit YouTube for our larger audience.
Amazon and Newegg remain the premier options for PC enthusiasts this time of the year, but Dell, Best Buy, Walmart, Fry’s, and Micro Center will all have deals going. We’ll try to aggregate all relevant deals on the homepage, but if some of you spot something, keep us apprised.
PC builds are always challenged by commenters with alternative component options and whatifs and whatabouts. We took this to mean that PC build lists need more comparative tests, so we tested two different variants of this build: One with a single stick of RAM versus two sticks of RAM, because you can sometimes save money by going 1 stick, and then one with a GTX 1050 versus an RX 560. This should give a somewhat wide spread of understanding for what a base platform G4560 and HD3 motherboard can achieve.
This gaming PC build targets a sub-$500 price, using budget parts, like the Intel G4560 and RX 560/GTX 1050, in order to achieve a machine capable of playing games at 1080p/High or Medium.
Prices are crazy volatile right now. When we started this project, there were discounts on memory and power supplies that dropped an additional $40 off the price at the time of filming. In all likelihood, once this goes live on Cyber Monday, those sales will probably be re-applied either directly or to directly competing products. Nonetheless, we can say that this build is under $500 – it’s been as low as $430, at times, depending on the sales, but always under $500.
Now that it’s officially Cyber Monday, we’ve still been combing through sales online, and we’ll continue to do so throughout the holiday season. As such, we thought it might be a good idea to throw together a quick and dirty PC build based on some of the better deals we’ve seen, in the event anyone is currently or looking to piece together an entire system. Our target was $1000 or less, and we’ve managed to assemble a pretty potent gaming machine for right under that.
Admittedly, $1,000 is a bit steep for a mid-range build—an upper-scale mid-range, no doubt—but still mid-range. This is the part where we insert the disclaimer about the voracious prices on RAM, SSDs, and GPUs. Alas, such are the times.
This gaming PC build for under $1000 uses an AMD Ryzen R5 CPU, a GTX 1060 3GB card, and 16GB of memory to provide a foundation for hobbyist or semi-professional workstation uses.
Unlike our recent Threadripper Workstation build, this one is squarely aimed at gaming and a mix of “content creator” type tasks; the R5 and additional memory will abet in light productivity workloads. Should anyone be considering serious overclocking, certainly pick up the optional cooler listed below, and maybe consider a move to X370 with a better VRM and heatsink.
After a year of non-stop GPU and CPU launches, a GPU round-up is much needed to recap all the data for each price-point. We’ll be looking at strict head-to-head comparisons for each price category, including cards priced at $100-$140, $180-$250, $400-$500, and then the Ti in its own category, of course. As noted in the video, a graphics card round-up is particularly difficult this year: Chaos in the market has thrown-off easy price comparisons, making it difficult to determine the best choice between cards. Historically, we’ve been able to rely on MSRP to get a price (+/-$20, generally) for comparison between both AMD and nVidia; the partners hadn’t strayed too far from that recommendation, nor the retailers, until the joint mining & gaming booms of this year. Fortunately, much of that pandemonium has slowed down, and cards are slowly returning to prices where they sat about 6-8 months ago.
Another point of difficulty, as always, is that price-matched video cards will often outperform one another in different types of workloads. A good example would be Vega vs. Pascal architecture: Generally speaking – and part of this is drivers – Pascal ends up favored in DirectX 11 games, while Vega ends up favored in asynchronous compute workload games (DOOM with Vulkan, Sniper with Dx12). That’s not necessarily always going to be true, but for the heavyweight Vulkan/Dx12 titles, it seems to be. You’ll have to exercise some thought and consider the advantages of each architecture, then look at the types of games you expect to be playing. Another fortunate note is that, even if you choose “wrong” (you anticipated Vulkan adoption, but got Dx11), a lot of the cards are still within a couple percentage points of their direct-price competition. It’s hard to go too wrong, short of buying bad partner cooler designs, but that’s another story.
Our Best Mechanical Keyboards of 2017 guide just went live, showing some of the steepest deals we’ve yet seen on Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Keyboards have been down as much as 50%, in some instances, with thanks to the high margins on peripheral products; at least, high compared to core components. We’re back to look at gaming mice now, recapping some of the bigger sales on gaming mice that we’ve seen for Cyber Monday.
As we continue to slog through sales over the weekend, we’ve compiled some of the most attractive deals on keyboards—which might be some of the best deals yet, given the RAM, GPU, and SSD sales out there. We’ve rounded-up the best mechanical keyboards of 2017 and their subsequent Cyber Monday sales. If anyone is looking for a new plank for the holidays, here our some of our picks.
As the Black Friday, Cyber Monday, & holiday sales continue, we thought it may be helpful to put together some essentials for PC building. We’ve included everything from tool kits to thermal paste and many other various items we’ve found useful. The idea is to compile a list of must-have PC-building tools, including PC technician tool kits, thermal compound, power meters, parts trays, and more.
iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit - iFixit makes some of the best tool kits in the industry, which is why we routinely work with the company to run sponsorships and ads on the channel. We use the products every day and feel confident in recommending them. The iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit has been featured on the channel previously and includes all the tools one would need when building or maintaining a PC, including most the tools required to disassemble video cards, coolers, and laptops. The kit includes a 64-bit driver kit, anti-static wrist strap, a small suction cup, opening tools, opening picks, multiple tweezers, two spudgers, magnetic pad, jimmy, and tool roll. At $60 on Amazon (list price), this should serve as a good tool kit for tech enthusiasts as well as general use around the house.
Liquid is only half of the argument, but it’s an important half. We’ll soon be rounding-up several of the high-end air coolers available on the market, and before jumping into that, we’re going to lay the groundwork with a round-up of our liquid cooler reviews for the year. This guide looks at the best closed-loop liquid coolers (“AIOs”) for 2017, but also includes a few of the worst – the leak-prone and the weak-fanned.
As usual with these round-ups, we’ll be including links to the individual reviews for the applicable coolers, with purchasing links also included for each line item. This is part of our end-of-year round-ups, which can all be found here. For specific items, we rounded-up our top Black Friday sales choices here, our top gaming monitor picks, and the best CPU sales. Plenty more on the Buyer’s Guide page.
Note: You’ll want to pull our most recent cooler review to get an updated table with all performance metrics, though individual reviews are good for non-performance discussion.
This was largely a video-focused content piece, but we’re providing the show notes below.
The biggest sale weekend of the year is coming up, and we’re not very good salesmen. What we’re going to do is highlight a couple of actually good sales, tell you what’s wrong with them, and then let you decide if the good outweighs the bad. We’ll be pulling a couple components from each major category. We’ll put timestamps on the left in the video with the respective categories. We have a GTX 1080 Ti also coming out today.
Before getting started, one of our current advertisers (iFixit) also has a few promos and sales going. They did not sponsor this content (but are an active advertiser), though we figured we’d point you over there for tool purchases for things we actually use daily.
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