Last week I took a short walk through the garden of Black Friday Desktop deals, and frankly there was little there that I would call fantastic. The market for prefab built computers has gotten better over the last few years, but it is still cheaper to buy the parts and fit it yourself. Doing so could not be anymore easy, and I am fond of comparing it to Lego. I stand by that. So today I have taken a look at a wide variety of parts that are available this Black Friday, and I’ve found some very nice pieces of kit. Black Friday is the best day of the year to make a big purchase in the PC market, you can get your hands on some top end equipment at mid range prices. The entry level gear though is sitting only slightly below their base prices, at least the ad leaks I have been able to get my hands on show that. Still, Black Friday 2017 is set to be a good year in the hardware market.
The market has seen a few twists and turns over the last year or so. RAM prices are still unfortunately high, still a shortage, and all the big players have released new hardware, meaning that the cream of the crop has risen to the top of the pricing chart. Add in the fact that coin miners have been gobbling up the best gear, running them ragged, then flooding the second hand market with GPUs that can barely maintain their stock clock frequencies and we have a market situation that requires way more caution than usual. For once I do not recommend looking at the second hand market for GPUs. You’ll get a good deal, but end up with a lemon.
Check out some of the best deals at Amazon Below
What to Look for with Computer Components
So, there are a variety of things to take into account when deciding on what parts t go with. The core parts I will be looking at are GPU, CPU, RAM and Motherboard. I have found a few power supplies on offer, but I do not know the brand, and only one of them is rated well for efficiency, and it’s only bronze, so best to just pay a higher price for a decent one.
In the GPU market there is still only really one name to go with. Nvidia. I love AMD, but their GPUs are not on the same level at the very high end. As you move down the ladder they become competitive, but AMD are doing something weird with their prices right now, hurting themselves as a result. Though it must be noted than even when AMD had the better cards and the better prices nobody was buying them, but I digress. I’ll do my best to breakdown the positives and negatives of the cards below.
The CPU market has seen a major upheaval this year, and it’s all because of AMD’s new Zen architecture, and the Ryzen line of CPUs. Intel is still kicking, what with their near monopoly, but AMD finally have a chipset that is on par with them. Nothing but good news for the consumer, as it forced them to improve their aging i5 series of chips. I’m likely going to recommend Ryzen anyway, as the price to performance ratio is simply better, and their longevity cannot be overstated.
Not much in the way of RAM deals so far, but I have a half dozen nice ones for you to check out. The Ryzen CPUs all scale really well with RAM speeds, with some of them gaining a 10% bump in FPS with some games, so shelling out for the good stuff is well worth it and, at Black Friday 2017 prices, a bit of a no brainer as well.
Motherboards require the most work when it comes to deciding on what to buy. You have to not only match the socket to the chipset, but also cross reference the supported RAM speeds, and consider whether or not you want to overclock. I’ve combed through the deals, and will be breaking down the options in detail.
So let’s get to it, check out the best computer component deals for Black Friday 2017.
Best GPU Deals Black Friday 2017
Bit of an interesting blend here. Not much in the low end, with the deals being dominated by the excellent GTX 1060 from Nvidia, but all of them are the 3GB mini version. A great card for 1080p gaming, but if you want to move up a resolution bracket you are going to be disappointed with the results. One thing you should know is that due to the way they are made all PC chips have an upper limit on their speed, affectionately referred to as the silicon lottery. If you get lucky you can overclock your chips by a pretty large amount, but whether or not you can do so with your purchase is literally random.
- First up I have a couple of GTX 1060s. The first is from eBay, priced at $187.99, and the second from B&H for $189 flat. The 1060 3GB Mini is a lovely card. The small form factor makes it perfect for uATX and mini ITX based machines. I bought one recently for my partner and it runs like a dream. There is a little room for overclocking, but it depends on the silicon, and the airflow. As an entry level card there are few better than it at this price.
- Next is the mid range, and there are three players here worth thinking about. I mentioned that AMD becomes competitive in the mid range, and their effort is the RX Vega 56. Found one on Microcenter for $399, and at that price it’s well worth considering. The card is faster than the similarly priced GTX 1070 and only a shade behind the GTX 1080. The Nvidia option is the brand new GTX 1070ti, an interesting upgrade over the GTX 1070. It was released in response to the Vega 56, and the design choices are a little weird. The memory has been rolled back to the previous gen, and at stock it is only 5% faster than the Vega 56. Amazon.com have one priced at $469.99, which is a littler higher than I would like. But, if you fancy rolling the dice with it you can overclock it yourself, and end up with a card that is on par with the 1080 stock, and if you are really lucky with the silicon lottery you can make it run better than an overclocked 1080. Bit of a gamble, and for and extra $70 I don’t think it is worth the risk
- Finally we are at the high end, and as mentioned, only really one option here. The GTX 1080ti from Nvidia. I found two, one at $689.99 at NewEgg and another slightly faster one in Massdrop fro $729.99. Not much to be said about it. You are better off with the cheaper one and trying your luck with a personal overclock, either way the more expensive one is only 5-10% faster at most. The AMD option sits below the 1080ti by a fair margin in older titles, as much as 20%, but a much smaller margin in more recent titles, narrowing that gap to 8% on average, according to a variety of benchmarking sources. The Vega 64 is sitting on a Black Friday 2017 price of $499.99, well worth considering for the thrifty high end gamer. It is likely to only get better in the future as well.
Best CPU Deals Black Friday 2017
As mentioned, AMD and Ryzen are doing very well right now, with only the high end 8000 series from Intel offering any competition. At least in modern games. More threads doesn’t do very much in older titles, but anything with DX12 or Vulkan implementation is seeing some very nice framerates with the Ryzen chips, and they aren’t even breaking a sweat. There are a number of decent options on the market right now, with that tasty Black Friday 2017 price tag, but all the Intel ones seem to be the 7000 series, meaning that recommending them is a little difficult.
- First up we have the i5 7400 and the i7 7700k from Intel. The 7400 is currently priced at $139 at Frys.com, which is a great price for this one. It’s a bit low end, and it is unlikely to last you any more than 2 years, but for single thread performance it is great. The i7 7700K priced at $248.99 in Microcenter.com is a chip that will last you a little longer. It’s still a quad core, but with 8 threads it is able to push out a lot more performance in modern titles. Combined with Intel’s single thread performance and you have a damn fine chip.
- Next up is the Ryzen 1600, found on Microcenter for $169.99. You’ll have to buy a motherboard with it to get that price, but chances are if you are moving to the Ryzen architecture you’ll need a new mobo anyway. That price is astounding, and the performance on the 1600 is well ahead of the 7600K, and is likely to get better and better. Get the good RAM, 3200Mhz, and give it a small overclock and you will be sorted for a CPU for the nest few years.
- Moving up a bracket and I have been able to find a Ryzen 1700X on NewEgg for $300 flat. Not as great a deal as the 1600 there, but the 1700X is the better chip, and it is on par with the 7700k right now, pulling very respectable frames in both older titles and better ones in newer titles. The same applies here as above, get the good RAM and you’ll be sorted for a fair few years to come.
- Haven’t been able to find a good deal on an 1800X, sad to say, but I was able to find the toppest of end chip, the Ryzen Threadripper, for an amazing $499.99 at NewEgg. the chip is currently overkill, with 16 cores and 32 operating threads you are not going to see much in the way of performance gains over the 1700 and 1800 chips, in games. Outside of gaming this thing is a beast. If you run a workstation this is probably the best single CPU solution on the market.
- Lastly, a bit of a gag option, but less a joke than we have been led to believe. Remember the old Piledriver architecture from AMD? The FX series? They were not great for gaming. Shockingly though they have gotten far more viable for low cost computers. The FX 8350 has aged like a fine wine, assuming the game in question can make use of the threads, either DX 12 or Vulkan games. I have seen a 40% boost to framerate in some titles, which is just insane. It actually beats the old i5 2700K in modern titles, and if you had told me that way back in the day I would have laughed at you. Getting one now from NewEgg for $79 is a steal.
Best RAM Deals Black Friday 2017
Haven’t found much in the way for RAM deals, as I said, and there is really only one option that is worth the money. I’ll take another look at the beginning of next week, but RAM is something I always overlooked until recently, so I am not expecting much.
- At the lowest end is a set of 8GB Geil Potenza DDR4 RAM. Totaling at 16GB, and clocked at 2400Mhz it isn’t a bad deal for $130. Found it over at NewEgg, and if you motherboard cannot handle to the good stuff it is worth considering. Better for Intel chips than Ryzen though.
- The other is a couple of G.Skill variants. Both are being pushed as Ryzen RAM, but only one really is. The lower end Flare X series, 16GB (8×8 dual channel) is clocked at 2400Mhz as well, and is $140. The better option is the Ripjaw V series, again 16GB (8×8 dual channel) but this time clocked at 3200Mhz. I keep going on about this, but the performance gain with faster RAM on Ryzen cannot be overstated, and it’s the same price, $140, if your motherboard can handle it this is the one to get.
Best Motherboard Deals Black Friday 2017
Decided to split the form factor here, with a look at the best Black Friday 2017 motherboard deals. Oddly enough they all come from NewEgg, their Black Friday deals tend to be the best in this field. So, two small form factor mobos, to full ATX and split between Intel and AMD.
- First the little ones. The AM4 Ryzen socket motherboard from BIOSTAR. The X370GTN is a low end, low cost small form factor Mini ITX motherboard priced at $84.99 this season, and it is well worth the money. You don’t have all the bells and whistles of its bigger brothers, but it supports the RAM we need, that magic 3200Mhz, and all the AM4 chips currently out, from the low end 1200 to the mighty Threadripper. The board is compact, and very well designed, and at this price is an excellent entry level option. You may want to upgrade down the road, for general overclocking purposes, though.
- Next is a low cost Asrock board, the B250M. This is an LGA 1151 socket board for 6th and 7th generation Intel chips. I love Asrock, been using their boards since the start, and they offer some of the best products in the low to mid range. You are going to want a high end 7th gen chip for any real longevity though, as the 6th generation is being left behind in newer titles, alongside the dual and quad core architecture. Priced at $73.99 it is certainly worth considering.
- Next we have a couple of full ATX boards, so let’s start with the AMD option. I have found an Asrock Fatal1ty board, again on NewEgg, for $149.99. That price is well worth it, and the form factor comes with much more space. Adding more RAM, a larger cooler or even a second GPU is very easy here. It supports the 3200Mhz RAM that we need for the Ryzen chipset as well.
- Finally the Intel option. An MSI Z370 GAMING PRO CARBON for $189.99. A steal at that price, and it does support the amazing 8000 series chips from Intel. The 8000 series chips are the best on the market, combining multiple cores/threads, with Intel’s excellent single thread performance, and if the price were a little lower I would be able to recommend them. It supports Ram far in excess of the 8000 series’ maximum, but with Intel making this socket not compatible with the previous Gen CPUs, while retaining the socket name I might add, I do not know how useful that will be going forward. Still, for a top of the line gaming rig this is an excellent low cost option.
Best Black Friday Computer Parts Deals 2017
So there we are, all I could find this Black Friday season. There are going to be a lot more come the day, and in the next week or so I will be keeping an eye out for anything better, but this is a nice set of gear. Obviously you are going to need more than what is listed here to get your computer off the ground. A power supply, a case, storage and a display device, but variance with those parts is pretty small.
For Storage I still think the best option is to get a middle of the road capacity SSD for the OS and whatever games you might be playing at the moment, and lump everything else into a couple of HDDs, you save a lot of money and lose very little by doing it this way. If you want the best of the best then you’ll need PCI slots to burn, so the motherboards I recommend are not ideal, and fill said slots with PCI solid state drives.
For Power supplies anything over 550W is overkill in a single GPU set up, make sure it is highly rated, Gold or higher, and you’ll be fine. If you want more overhead then add 150W to it, and if you want to run two GPUs then you’re going to need a heft 750W+ PSU.Do not skimp here.
For cases there are a lot to choose from, but few are exceptional. I like NZXT, a combination of form and function. They might not be the most advanced on the market, but I think they are by far the prettiest designs.
And finally with a display I would advise 120hz+. Everything else is up to you. Sitting on a 1060? Stick to 1080p, if you have a more high end card the 1440p is viable, but always keep your eyes on the refresh rate. If you want to get a little fancier you could get a Freesync or Gsync monitor.
Hope this helps you decide on a new part, happy shopping folks.