SLIDESHOW

Black Friday deals: PC and PC component steals

Laptops, processors, and video cards are on sale almost everywhere, but these particular deals will actually save you some real cash.

SLIDEFEATURED PRODUCTS
  • Intel Core i7-6700K 6th generation Skylake CPU

    $260.00 MSRP $330.00
    View
    on Micro Center
  • RED DRAGON Radeon RX 480

    $170.00 MSRP $200.00
    View
    on Newegg
  • MSI 15.6" GS63VR Stealth Pro

    MSRP $1,699.00
    View
    on Amazon
  • Steam Controller

    $49.99 MSRP $49.99
    View
    on Amazon
  • Surface Pro 4 Core m3 bundle with Type Cover

    $600.00 MSRP $1,000.00
    View
    on Best Buy
  • Xbox One controller

    $40.00 MSRP $60.00
    View
    on Microsoft
  • Steam Machine, Core i3 model

    $225.00 MSRP $450.00
    View
    on GameStop
  • Omen 32" QHD 2560x1440 FreeSync monitor

    $300.00 MSRP $430.00
    View
    on Costco
  • Kingston 2.5" 120GB SATA III Solid State Drive

    $35.00 MSRP $49.00
    View
    on Newegg
  • 14” 1080p IPS Chromebook

    $230.00 MSRP $295.00
    View
    on Costco
Sale image (Thinkstock)
Thinkstock

Diamonds in the rough

While this year’s PC and PC component deals aren’t quite as confusing as the Black Friday TV deals, many of them should still be skipped. A cheap laptop might sound good, but keep an eye on those specs: One retailer might offer a $450 notebook with a 5th-generation Intel processor, while a different retailer will have a similarly priced model but with a newer 6th-generation Intel processor.

If you’re in the market for PC components, this year is surprisingly slim on deals that don’t require a mail-in rebate. As such, we’ve skipped any deals that require you to do that extra work, since many people forget to (and then you’re not really saving that money). For this reason alone, we’re making fewer component-related deal suggestions than we expected to.

Intel Core i7-6700K on a motherboard
Gordon Mah Ung
  • Intel Core i7-6700K 6th generation Skylake CPU

    $260.00 MSRP $330.00
    View
    on Micro Center

MICRO CENTER: Intel Core i7-6700K processor, $260

Sale started: November 18

Micro Center started its “Black Friday” deals early, but this one’s still available in select areas and worth mentioning. Note the caveats: This deal is limited to one per household and in-store pickup only.

Some areas are already sold out at the time of this posting, so if you’re flexible or feel that this CPU is still too rich for your blood, Micro Center is offering other fantastic processor deals: an Intel Core i5-6600K for $180, a 6-core Intel Core i7-6800K for $330, and an AMD FX-8350 for $130. The same caveats apply as for the 6700K.

These processors also qualify for an additional discount if you buy a compatible motherboard ($30 off for the Intel processors, and $40 off for the FX-8350), so if you’re building a new system, you can save a nice chunk of change.

powercolor rx480
Newegg
  • RED DRAGON Radeon RX 480

    $170.00 MSRP $200.00
    View
    on Newegg

NEWEGG: PowerColor Red Dragon Radeon RX 480, $170

Sale started: November 21

Our pick for the best 1080p graphics card is at the lowest price we’ve seen at Newegg—$30 under MSRP, and about $50 less than the market rate (demand’s been that high relative to supply). It’s even $10 under the RX 470’s MSRP of $180!

If you’re building a budget gaming system this season, this is one of the best additions you could make to your parts list. It delivers uncompromising 1080p gameplay at 60fps with all the bells and whistles cranked to 11, damned-fine 2560x1440-resolution play at High settings (especially with a FreeSync monitor), and even the ability to play VR games on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

msi gs63vr beauty 3
  • MSI 15.6" GS63VR Stealth Pro

    MSRP $1,699.00
    View
    on Amazon

AMAZON: MSI 15.6-inch GS63VR Stealth Pro, $1,600

Sale started: November 21

Best Buy has an alternate configuration of this truly portable gaming laptop for $100 cheaper, but that one has a 128GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive. We prefer this Amazon version with a 512GB SSD, even if it’s not a certainty that you can add your own hard-disk drive later on. It’s a nice balance between affordability and getting all the bells and whistles. (We’d take this version over our review unit.) By the way, if you’re thinking you can forego the larger M.2 SSD today and just upgrade later, think again. As we discovered in our review, getting to the SSD on the GS63VR isn’t the five minute project you might assume it is.

steam controller

AMAZON: Steam Controller, $35; Steam Link, $20

Sale started: November 23

The PC gamer who wants to play in the living room could build a dedicated PC and then haul in a keyboard and mouse—or they could ave a bucket of cash by using a Steam Link to stream games from their main desktop to the living room, and then adding in a Steam Controller for ease of use. (You can use a Steam Controller at a desk, too, of course.)

Whatever the use case, Amazon matches the best discount we’ve seen so far for the Steam Controller—then drops the Steam Link to its lowest price ever. You can also grab the Steam Controller for the same $35 price from GameStop starting Thursday.

Surface Pro 4 bundle at Best Buy 2016
Microsoft / Best Buy
  • Surface Pro 4 Core m3 bundle with Type Cover

    $600.00 MSRP $1,000.00
    View
    on Best Buy

BEST BUY: Microsoft Surface Pro 4 with Type Cover, $600

Sale starts: November 24 (Thursday)

One of the few truly standout doorbuster deals, this Best Buy bundle deal is for a Core m3 Surface Pro 4 with a 128GB SSD and 4GB of RAM and a Type Cover. (No Surface Pen, though—you’ll have to pony up another $60 for it.) This version of the Surface Pro 4 goes for $900 on Microsoft’s site, and the Type Cover accessory normally sells for $130 on its own. So even when you subtract $60 for the pen (Microsoft includes it with the SP4 on its site) from that total of $1,030, this $600 combo is still a killer discount.

If a Core m3 CPU isn’t powerful enough or sufficiently future-proof for your needs, an excellent alternative deal is the Surface Pro 4 Core i5 bundle at Costco, which is $750 for the version with a 128GB SSD and 4GB RAM, a Type Cover, and a Surface Pen. The best part? This sale price is already live now.

(Note: You might encounter a surcharge at checkout if you’re not a Costco member.)

Xbox One S wireless controller
  • Xbox One controller

    $40.00 MSRP $60.00
    View
    on Microsoft

MULTIPLE RETAILERS: Xbox One and PlayStation 4 controllers, $40 each

Sale starts: November 24 (Thursday)

Sometimes it’s easier to play games with a controller. Happily, Valve’s working on built-in Steam support for Sony’s DualShock 4, so your options for saving money on a controller are wide open this holiday season. If the Steam Controller isn’t your thing, you can snap up a Xbox One controller or a DualShock 4 for $20 off from a variety of retailers.

Microsoft leads the pack on Xbox One controller offerings, with the largest variety of colors available (including some special edition versions). If you don’t like shopping directly on Microsoft’s site, or you prefer the DualShock 4, Target and Walmart both offer Xbox One and DS4 controllers.

Alienware Alpha
Gordon Mah Ung
  • Steam Machine, Core i3 model

    $225.00 MSRP $450.00
    View
    on GameStop

GAMESTOP: Alienware Steam Machine, $225

Sale starts: November 24 (Thursday)

GameStop actually has two deals on older Alienware Steam Machine models. It’s $225 for the Core i3-4130T model with 4GB DDR3 RAM, a 500GB 7,200RPM hard-disk drive, and an Nvidia GTX 860M. The Core i7-4765T model with 8GB DDR3 RAM, a 1TB 7200RPM HDD, and an Nvidia GTX 860M is $375.

As gaming machines, the cheaper one works well as an inexpensive living-room system. You can bump up to the i7 model if you want better multithreaded performance, but not all games will make the most of the more powerful CPU. We recommend the Core i3 as the better deal if you’re looking for a dirt-cheap gaming machine. Use part of the $150 you’re saving and buy a Windows 10 license, and you’ve got a Minecraft box ready to go.

HP Omen 32
  • Omen 32" QHD 2560x1440 FreeSync monitor

    $300.00 MSRP $430.00
    View
    on Costco

COSTCO: HP Omen 32-inch QHD 2560x1440 FreeSync monitor, $300

Sale starts: November 25 (Friday)

For AMD gamers seeking a huge screen to plop on their desks, this HP monitor is a sweet deal. You’ll get the benefit of FreeSync’s variable refresh rates in a TV-sized display for the lowest price we’ve ever seen on this particular model. (The last hot deal on it was $343.) Note: If you’re not a Costco member, you may have to pay an additional 2 percent non-member surcharge at checkout.

Even if you’re not rocking an AMD video card in your rig, informal reviews of this display praise its colors—just make sure to calibrate the screen to get the most from it.

Kingston 120GB SSD
  • Kingston 2.5" 120GB SATA III Solid State Drive

    $35.00 MSRP $49.00
    View
    on Newegg

NEWEGG: Kingston 2.5-inch 120GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive, $35

Sale starts: November 25 (Friday)

It's not the first time we've seen a 120GB solid-state drive at this price, but the $15 discount is solid. Normally, drives of this size go for about $50. At Newegg's price of $35, this SSD is a no-brainer as a cheap boot disk or an upgrade for a system booting from a hard-disk drive. (If you have the room for it in your system, keep the HDD as a secondary storage drive.)

acer chromebook 14 top
Melissa Riofrio
  • 14” 1080p IPS Chromebook

    $230.00 MSRP $295.00
    View
    on Costco

COSTCO: Acer 14" Chromebook with 1080p IPS display, $230

Sale starts: November 25 (Friday)

While we liked this laptop's premium touches, we do have to mention one caveat: It's possible you might dislike this Chromebook's keyboard as much as we did. That said, you can't typically find a 14" Chromebook with an aluminum shell and a 1080p IPS display for this price. Costco even bundles in a bonus wireless mouse. (However, if you don't have a Costco membership, this price may be higher due to a non-member surcharge at checkout.)

If you don't mind sizing down, the excellent and durable Asus C202S is also on sale at Amazon for $169, but its build and screen are more humble—it comes with smaller 11" 1366x768 screen and a plastic shell with rubber edges.