The Prime Day deals are right around the corner, after getting delayed because it's 2020 and, well, literally everything is getting delayed. However, by launching the giant sales event now, there's a wealth of PC components that should be getting some pretty massive discounts.
We've seen Nvidia Ampere launch in September, and we have AMD Zen 3 processors and RDNA 2 graphics cards launching later in October – not to mention 10th-generation Intel processors, which launched way back in May 2020. For the first time in awhile, Prime Day is arriving right when a lot of still-good last-generation hardware is going to be moving.
But before you whip your wallet out to buy the first components that get a shiny new deal on Amazon Prime Day, we thought it would be a good idea to point out what's going to be worth your time, so you don't waste money on hardware that won't live up to the price tag.
You can bet on cheap graphics cards
With both Nvidia and AMD refreshing their graphics card lineups, you can bet that Amazon (along with other retailers) will slash prices on older graphics cards to move through its inventory.
Amazon still has plenty of stock on the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super, for instance, which is a card that will be entirely replaced by the RTX 3070 in just a couple of weeks. That's not to mention all the RTX 2060 and GTX 1660 cards that regularly see big price cuts.
AMD's new graphics cards aren't quite out on the streets yet, but that doesn't mean that Amazon won't launch some attractive deals on AMD GPUs – though we feel far less sure that this will happen.
When you're buying a graphics card, there's no way to make a solid recommendation that's going to apply to everyone reading this article. The right graphics card for you is ultimately going to boil down to what kind of games you're trying to play, which resolution you're going to be playing them at, and how high you like your frame rate.
If you just want to play the latest and greatest games at 1080p and 60 fps, you can just pick up something like the AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT or the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super and be fine. But, if you want to play everything maxed out at 4K at 60 fps, you're going to need a beefy graphics card like an RTX 2080 Ti or the new RTX 3080 – and, uh, good luck getting your hands on one of those right now.
For the vast majority of people, something in the middle of these two extremes is going to make a lot of sense. If Amazon puts out a good deal on the AMD Radeon RX 5700 or the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Super, either would absolutely be a graphics card that's worth picking up.
Either way, graphics cards aren't going to get more expensive during Amazon Prime Day, so you may as well wait and see what the gigantic sales event has to offer.
Prime Day Ryzen deals galore
Last year, on both Amazon Prime Day and on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, CPUs from both Intel and AMD saw massive price cuts, including one notable occasion where we saw the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X get a massive $70 price cut – on top of that processor's already-affordable price tag.
This time around, AMD has a fresh bunch of processors lined up for launch on November 5, so all the third-generation Ryzen processors will be fair game for massive price cuts. And they might be last-generation products by the time Amazon Prime Day rolls around, but they're definitely not slow.
AMD Ryzen 3rd Generation desktop processors are still ahead of equivalent Intel processors when it comes to raw multi-threaded performance, and have features that Team Blue still doesn't have an answer to – and won't until early 2021. We definitely expect processors from across AMD's lineup to go on sale, both due to the impending release of the new hotness, and because of their popularity among system builders.
As far as Intel is concerned, we probably won't see a ton of 10th-generation processors get massive cuts. However, there will likely be plenty of deals available on 9th-generation Coffee Lake Refresh processors, which are still more than good enough for most people.
Team Blue's last-generation processors are still extremely strong when it comes to single-core performance, which means they're an easy choice for anyone looking to build a pure gaming rig. If you can find a Core i5-9600K for like $150/£150/AU$200, that's one sweet deal.
AMD's processors are better in creative workloads like video editing, streaming and multitasking, but if you just want to play the best PC games, an Amazon Prime Day Intel processor deal is going to be mighty appealing.
SSDs, RAM and Cases oh my!
Due in large part to the storage requirements of the PlayStation 5, a lot of attention is being paid to PCIe 4.0 SSDs – and for good reason. However, on Amazon Prime Day, you can expect a ton of deals to surface on the best SSDs.
The biggest discounts are probably going to be had for anyone looking for SATA-based SSDs. They're the oldest technology on the SSD block, and the speeds just can't compete with faster (and more expensive) NVMe drives. However, that lower performance is still way faster than even the fastest hard drive, making them an easy upgrade for anyone that's still rocking a hard drive in their system, or even anyone that just needs some extra space for their PC games.
Not all SATA SSDs are created equal, however. A lot of the cheapest SSDs you'll find out there won't be super reliable, especially if you find something below $20-$30 in the US. When you're buying a cheap SSD, it's critically important that you look at user reviews, along with the TBW (terabytes written) rating of the drive. The higher that number, the longer the drive will last.
We may see some PCIe 3.0 NVMe drives get strong discounts too, though. Especially as manufacturers like Samsung, ADATA and Western Digital start pushing out strong PCIe 4.0 drives, older flagships are going to start seeing price reductions. Don't get us wrong – these drives are still extremely fast, and if you can get a good deal on one, we'd say go for it. The same thing applies as with cheap SATA drives, of course: make sure it doesn't suck.
RAM is also cheaper than it's ever been, and we expect some nice RAM deals to make an appearance on Amazon Prime Day. When it comes to buying RAM, we have two major pieces of advice: make sure you're getting the right type of RAM for your system – don't buy DDR3 if you have a remotely modern system, for instance – and make sure you don't buy a single-DIMM kit. Dual-channel memory is super important these days, so make sure the RAM kit you pick up has at least two sticks of RAM.
So, for example, if you're getting a 16GB kit of RAM – of which we expect to see many deals – make sure it's two 8GB sticks, rather than one 16GB stick or four 4GB sticks. That latter point is because it won't leave much room for future expansion.
- TechRadar is rounding up all the top deals over the Prime Day sales period, and we’ve put all the best Prime Day deals in an easy-to-navigate article to help you find the bargains you’re looking for.
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Bill Thomas (Twitter) is TechRadar's computing editor. They are fat, queer and extremely online. Computers are the devil, but they just happen to be a satanist. If you need to know anything about computing components, PC gaming or the best laptop on the market, don't be afraid to drop them a line on Twitter or through email.