Why Black Friday is a great time to buy a budget gaming PC

streaming PC
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As Black Friday approaches, plenty of retailers are posting their deals for the holiday season ahead of time. This includes tons of tech deals, making this the best time of year for them. And the cream of the crop of those deals are budget gaming PCs.

Because of their already low prices compared to other computers like the best gaming PC or one of the best gaming laptops, the best budget gaming PCs start off at a lower price. This means that any discounts will sweeten the deal even more, turning them into the ultimate budget machines.

Another benefit is that many gaming PCs are completely upgradeable, unlike many modern laptops with soldered components that can’t be upgraded. So if you need a really cheap gaming rig due to a tight budget, you can easily find something $1000 or below that’s more than capable of running most games on decent settings, then slowly upgrade the parts as needed.

What is a budget gaming PC? 

Budget gaming PCs tend to skewer toward prebuilt computers, since purchasing separate parts can be pricier in their own right, since they can be subject to the whims of the market. For instance, when the prices of the Nvidia RTX 3000-series graphics cards shot up in price due to the sudden surge of crypto mining, it was difficult to build a new PC for a reasonable price for years. 

Instead, budget gaming PCs often sacrifice some performance by using older or cheaper components that are much more affordable. This keeps the costs low while ensuring that you have a PC that can still handle most games, as well as productivity work and other things like streaming services.

Though this won't be the best computer you can find on the market as far as performance goes, it should still perform quite well and can play most games at full HD. Some are even capable of powering an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headsets. Plus, since you can keep upgrading the parts, you’re able to keep them updated without breaking the bank, instead of having to buy a new gaming laptop every several years.

Young gamer playing online platform with neon lights in background

(Image credit: DisobeyArt / Shutterstock)

How and why does Black Friday affect the price? 

If budget PCs are already great values, then Black Friday transforms most of these rigs into some of the best holiday deals on the market. Most retailers are looking to unload their older stock of tech before early next year since that’s when brand new products will be announced. As such, there are a variety of Black Friday sales for PCs like the best Chromebook, the best laptop, and the best gaming PC

Budget PCs especially are discounted because their hardware is often already considered outdated, which is what makes them budget in the first place, so retailers are often willing to drop their prices down significantly compared to other machines. As such, waiting until the juicy Black Friday deals from major retailers show themselves is a smart move if you want a fully built rig that’s ready to play the best PC games.

And luckily, unlike last year in which custom builds simply weren’t viable, this year a wide assortment of older components are available for cheap as crypto mining dies down and the next-gen parts have been making their debut. So this year’s Black Friday season you can get deeply discounted graphics cards and processors, as well as RAM or storage, and use that to either build a new budget machine or upgrade your current rig on the cheap.

What to look out for in a Black Friday deal 

Your budget range is the most important factor to consider when looking for Black Friday deals. This will determine what specs you should be looking for, especially if you’re planning on building a cheap gaming PC yourself. But this is useful for those on the lookout for a prebuilt machine since whether you have the best graphics card, the best processors, RAM, and storage space included in the PC or not will affect the overall price.

For those who can afford PCs that cost around the $1,000 to $800 range, Intel processors are some of the best out there, and getting a PC with at least a Core i5-12400F means you’ll have some solid processing power no matter what. If you’re looking for something cheaper, like below $800, PCs outfitted with AMD Ryzen 5 5600G and lower processors are an excellent way to shave off a nice chunk of cost without sacrificing too much performance.

When it comes to RAM and storage space, those willing to pay $800 or more will have the choice of 16GB RAM and at least 500GB of storage space. But if you need a cheap rig right now, look for Black Friday deals that drop the price to $600 or less, which will usually come with an Intel Core i3 or a Ryzen 3 processor, and one of the best cheap graphics cards like the AMD Radeon RX 6600, Nvidia RTX 3050, or even the Intel A320. And if you expect to go that low in price, you’ll be looking at 8GB RAM and 512GB or less of storage space.

Make sure to pay attention to specs when shopping for deals. Even if there’s a substantial discount, anything above $1,000 should be rocking at least an Intel Core i5 processor and an RTX 3060 graphics card, or you’re being ripped off.

Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.