Though Amazon Prime Day, the retailer’s annual sale event, did not happen this summer as it has in year’s past, it’s likely coming on October 13th, according to many sources, including the Verge. That’s before the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, but late enough for you to buy gifts for yourself or others. Whether you’re shopping for instant pots or Amazon Echo speakers, you’ll find significant discounts on mainstream consumer gadgets that day and likely for a few days thereafter.
But what about PC hardware? Though the hottest selling items overall on Prime Day are usually Amazon’s own gadgets, there will likely be some great Prime Day deals on components such as the best CPUs and best SSDs, along with other tech necessities such as keyboards, mice and monitors. Accessories such as USB hubs, chargers and power banks are always great to buy around this time, too.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you plan your Prime Day shopping.
When is Prime Day in 2020? Plan for October.
Normally Amazon Prime Day takes place in July, which allows the company to create a new shopping holiday in the middle of the summer, months before people are thinking about the holidays. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon had to delay Prime Day in the U.S. While Amazon has yet to announce a new date, an email obtained by the Verge indicates it's October 13th.
This date has not been confirmed, but it makes sense for Amazon to target October, as it’s still somewhat before the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. and the goal of Prime Day has always been to generate shopping excitement outside of the holiday time-frame.
Prime Day Isn’t Just Amazon
As the top online retailer in the world, Amazon has the power to drive its competitors. In order not to be left out, retailers like Newegg, Walmart, Best Buy, Dell and Lenovo are likely to have their own sales that coincide with Prime Day. They obviously can’t call their sales “Prime Day,” but the deals will likely be just as sweet.
Newegg tends to have a better selection of PC components than Amazon, so it’s possible that it will have some of the most appealing deals on CPUs, RAM, SSDs and other internal parts.
Prime Day is for Prime Members
Keep in mind that, if you want to take advantage of Amazon’s Prime Day deals, you need to be a member of the company’s Prime program. You can sign up for a free 30 day Prime membership trial if you need to.
Where to Look for Prime Day Hardware Deals
- Tom’s Hardware coverage: When Prime Day begins, we’ll be rounding up the top Amazon Prime day deals on this page and on our home page.
- Amazon’s Computer’s and Accessories Page: Don’t just go to Amazon’s Prime Day deals page and scroll past all the irrelevant products. Click on the Computers and Accessories category in the left nav .We also recommend choosing lightning deals to focus on the short-term, hottest deals.
- Check Newegg, Dell, Lenovo, Best Buy and Walmart: Each of these sites is likely to have its own set of deals. Newegg is the most likely candidate, and you can see its current discounts on its Shell Shocker page.
How to Tell if a Deal Is Real
Don’t believe the hype. Not every sale price you see on Prime Day is an all-time low price. The price you find could be the same as it was the week before Prime Day or it might be higher than it was just a month before. It may even be the case that another site has a better regular price than Amazon’s (or someone else’s) sale price.
To find out whether you’re really looking at a deal, take a few steps:
1. Use the Camelizer plugin for Amazon deals,
This plugin will show you a complete price history for a product, based on the database at Camelcamelcamel. When you’re on the product’s Amazon page, just click the plugin button and you’ll see a chart.
2. Search PCPartPicker.
That site maintains a price history of nearly every component, across half a dozen retailers, but usually not Amazon.
3. Check competing sites to see if any of them has an even better sale on the same product.
For example, if you see a great deal on a graphics card at Amazon, check Newegg also.
What Kind of Products to Look for on Prime Day
While it’s possible that you’ll find the CPU or GPU deal of your dreams on Prime Day, these types of products are more likely to be on big sales, both on Amazon and its competitors.
There are always a ton of good deals on both external storage and internal drives. And you can always use more storage.
- microSD Cards: Great for Raspberry Pi users (see best Raspberry Pi microSD cards) or people with Android smartphones, microSD cards give you a ton of storage in a tiny space. Look for a name-brand 256GB card that’s under $35, a 128GB model that’s less than $18 or a 64GB card that’s under $10. 32GB cards on sale should go for less than $5.
- USB Flash Drives: If you need to move data using a “sneakernet,” a USB flash drive can come in handy. Look for a name-brand 128GB USB 3.0 drive for well under $20. You’ll pay extra for additional features, such as ruggedness or the addition of a Type-C port.
- SSDs: Who doesn’t need bigger, faster internal storage? Look for a name-brand 1TB SATA SSD for less than $100 or an NVMe drive in the same price range.
- USB Hard Drives: If you need bulk storage that’s easy to carry, USB hard drives are always a good deal during peak sale times. Look for a 2TB drive that’s well under $60.
If you’re reading this on the Internet rather than a printout someone handed you (and who would?), you probably have a router already. But does your router have the very latest technologies?
Routers are always going on sale at Amazon and elsewhere. Look for a three-router Mesh kit for less than $150 or a dual / tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router for around less than $220.
Robots, Raspberry Pi and Arduino
Electronics kits are often on huge sales during the Prime Day time frame. Companies such as Elegoo often have significant sales on Arduino starter sets or robots you can build yourself. We also expect to see some Raspberry Pi accessories or kits on sale during this time.
If you see a good sale, Prime Day might be a great time to get a new display. A good deal on a 144 Hz or faster, 1080p display that’s 27 inches or larger is one that’s less than $200 and a name brand. If you’re looking for 4K, 60 Hz, a price under $250 is great.
Gaming Mice and Keyboards
Keep your eyes peeled for good deals on gaming peripherals, such as mice, keyboards and headsets. Look for products from well-known, reputable brands that cost less than usual. There will be plenty of no-name products for sale, but you should only consider those if they have a ton of positive user reviews.
Power Banks, Cables and Chargers
Prime Day is prime time to find deals on power banks and chargers for your mobile devices. If you own a laptop that charges over USB Type-C, look for deals on the best USB-C laptop chargers and external batteries that support USB PD (Power Delivery), preferably of at least 45 watts.
Remember that Prime Day is about more than just Amazon.com, but also keep in mind that if you don’t find a great deal on a product you’ve been waiting for, there will always be holiday sales starting just a few weeks later. Whether it’s Prime Day or Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the best strategy during any sale is not to feel like you have to make a purchase, just because there’s a sale.