Every holiday season I sit in amazement at the many bad combo deals that come out. These deals claim to offer the PC builder a variety of savings. So, I thought I’d write a post about why I typically avoid these deals as well as many doorbuster, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday deals. No, this isn’t an all or nothing post. There are real PC hardware deals you can find out there that are legitimately good. That being said, it’s important to know the jewels from the trash.
First, let’s talk about the expectation that you as a consumer are hoping for. We’re all looking to build an awesome gaming PC for the budget we have. We want to save money where we can and make sure everything is compatible.
- New Hardware and Faster PC
What Consumers Often Receive
Last Year’s Components
Not all combo deals and other deals use last year’s components. Many do.
And it makes sense, right? The retailer is trying to get rid of the previous year’s components so they get bundled together in a combo deal to sell to unsuspecting consumers. For PC hardware, this is especially true with processors and motherboards. And while getting a deal at your local car dealership to get last year’s model still nets you a similarly new car whether it says 2017 or 2018, for your PC this often means substantially less performance for the same amount of money.
Very Little Real Savings
Wait a minute. You already knew it was last year’s hardware but went out and got that combo deal because of all the savings you’d get right? Wrong. Often times online retailers bundle motherboards that are already on rebate with processors already on sale to give their “savings” price.For example, I recently saw a combo from a popular online retailer listed like this:
Normal Price: $350
Price After Rebate: $270
However, the “savings” wasn’t really any “savings” at all. The processor, listed on several online retailer websites, cost between $190 and $200 and the motherboard was on rebate for $69. So, purchased together or separately they still would cost the same amount of money.
Instead of getting the exact motherboard and CPU that you wanted, you went with this combo deal thinking you were saving money.
I’ve even seen many options where the consumer lost money by not simply piecing together the parts.
Poorly Rated Hardware
Again, this isn’t always the case, but I do notice this especially in combo deals with retailers trying to sell an entire PC building “kit”. They get a motherboard, hard drive, and graphics card that no one wanted (for right around the same price as everything put together.)
So, what deals should you look for?
A few years ago sites like Amazon and others sold a select amount of hardware at a discount price. I remember getting the i7-4770k for $299 rather than the traditional $330 to $340. If you can find deals like these involving the hardware you actually want, then there are some actual savings there.
So, check the regular everyday prices of hardware before believing a sales price. If you’re saving a few bucks, go for it.
Rebates are generally another great way to save money. Rebates are especially regular for power supplies, motherboards, and cases.
Daily deals can also have a lot of value. Again, it’s up to the consumer to understand what the typical price of a product is and to know when something is a good deal or is not. If you take your time, you should be able to figure it out in no time. If you have any questions about this, you can always ask us below. You can also take a look at our current gaming PCs for our recommendations on PCs for all price ranges.