Ah, the joy of deals. Hopefully, we've all experienced the exciting frisson of finding something we actually want in the sales. After all, there are plenty of Prime Day PC gaming deals out there right now. And if you haven't yet partaken of some retail therapy, don't worry, there's plenty of time left to secure a decent deal—whether you're looking at a new graphics card, a whole PC, or a new gaming monitor to show off what your machine is really capable of.
You need to be careful though because there are plenty of 'deals' out there that are anything but. In fact, there are some absolute howlers, occupying the same spaces as those actual deals. Graphics cards for instance are a bit of a minefield for anyone looking to get an up-to-date polygon pusher. On the one hand, you have genuine deals like this Zotac RTX 3060 almost approaching the MSRP:
Zotac RTX 3060 Twin Edge OC | 12GB GDDR6 | 3,584 shaders | 1,807MHz |
$549.99 $379.99 at Amazon (save $170)
This is the cheapest RTX 3060 we've found this Prime Day, and rather close to the original MSRP, too. It's a decent version of Nvidia's mainstream GPU, with good cooling and a dual-slot design.
And then you have this. The opposite of a good deal. What you'd be fine calling a bloody awful deal in fact. The RTX 2060, even with 12GB of RAM, is still a last-generation entry-level RTX graphics card at next-gen pricing. Do not fall for this nonsense. Begone foul deal.
EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 | 12GB GDDR6 | 2,176 shaders | 1680MHz Boost |
$419.99 $359.95 at Amazon (save $60.04)
This is not a deal, and definitely not something you should consider buying. It's here to demonstrate that there are some awful deals out there. The RTX 2060 was a super GPU when it was first released, and if you still have one, you're probably very happy with it. But you absolutely shouldn't be looking at buying one for this much cash in 2022. Move on. Nothing to see here.
It's a similar story if you're in the market for a new PC. Look around and there are plenty of great machines out there. Systems that will last you for years, even if they may need a little love somewhere down the line to upgrade the memory and storage. This RTX 3060-powered machine from HP for instance is hard to beat if you're looking to enjoy 1080p gaming, or even some 1440p action without completely destroying your bank account.
HP Pavilion | RTX 3060 | Core i5 10400F |
$899.99 $699 at Walmart (save $200.99)
This is a great price for an RTX 3060 PC. The CPU is a bit old now, but still fine for 1080p gaming, and the 8GB RAM and 256GB storage could do with a boost, but that's easy to do after the fact. A great value PC to build onto in the future.
You can spend more and get a better machine, but just proving that there are some really great deals out there. Deals that don't have to cost you a fortune. And then there are machines like this. A truly ugly machine that is using all its wily RGB lighting ways to try and baffle your eye from actually looking at the parts list.
You're looking at a machine that apparently normally costs $1,500. Sure it does. But not in 2022, or in fact 2021 for that matter. But hey, you get to enjoy a 7% saving right now so this pile of old hardware can be yours for double that of the HP rig that is far more up-to-date. You're looking at an AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, yup a chip that was released in 2018, and an RTX 2070. A great graphics card for its time, but not one you should spend real money on in 2022. Avoid machines like this.
Skytech Chronos | RTX 2070 | AMD Ryzen 7 2700X | 16GB RAM | 1TB SSD |
$1,499.99 $1,399.99 at Amazon (save $100)
The irony of the name of this Skytech machine shouldn't be lost on anyone, as there's nothing timely about this pile of parts. A four-year-old CPU and GPU should not be anywhere near a modern system price. The RAM and storage are decent, but that almost unpicks the fun. This should really have a spinning hard drive to keep with this theme. Maybe a CD drive as well. Absolutely not a deal worth looking at.
It isn't just desktop PCs that are home to some shocking time-bending configurations either. There are plenty of laptops out there that will have you looking at the calendar to see if you've somehow mastered time travel in your sleep.
For reference, you're generally looking at an up-to-date configuration built around an RTX 3060 for just over $1,000. As an example, this Gigabyte A5 K1 is a solid gaming machine for the money.
Gigabyte A5 K1 | Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 | AMD Ryzen 7 5800H | 15.6-inch | 1080p | 240Hz | 16GB RAM | 1TB SSD |
$1,399 $1,049 at Amazon (save $249.84)
This is just over that $1,000 bar we set for a good deal this Prime Day; an RTX 3060 gaming laptop that actually has the other specs to back up its gaming performance. That's not only a great AMD CPU at its core, like genuinely great, but also 16GB of speedy RAM, 1TB of speedy storage, and a speedy screen. You'd think one of those things would have to go at this price.
Which is about as far from the following machine as you can manage while still calling them modern gaming laptops. I'm actually a big fan of the Acer Nitro range of laptops, as they tend to offer decent value for money by focusing on what matters most for gamers, namely performance, and leaving super-svelte chassis to the bigger boys. This machine is just massively out of date though, with a 9th Gen Intel CPU (we're up to 12th Gen CPUs now thanks) and a mobile RTX 2060. No. Just no.
Acer Nitro 5 | GeForce RTX 2060 | Intel Core i7 9750H | 15.6-inch | 1080p | 144Hz | 16GB RAM | 256GB SSD |
$1,099.99 $1,049 at Amazon (save $50)
You see that Gigabyte A5 deal back up the page a bit. Take a look at that. It's a much better offering than this, even though both machines roll in at the same price. Acer clearly has some old stock sat around that it thought it might be able to shift onto the unsuspecting, but this is just a bad laptop for the money in 2022.
Obviously, as a PC Gamer, you can spot the flaws in the so-called deals. You know what you're looking for, and what you should avoid. Plus you know that we're here digging up only the best deals, so you don't make a mistake. But spare a thought for the poor suckers that are dropping serious cash on out-of-date hardware this Prime Day.