In the calm before the storm of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, next week we’ll be treated to Amazon’s Prime Early Access sale, a sort of miniature Prime Day event that kicks off on October 11. As the name implies, this sale features deals exclusive to Amazon Prime subscribers and will serve as the first wave of discounts before the chaos of Black Friday.
We don’t know if the Early Access sale will include any particularly juicy deals on computer components, but discounts are going to start stacking up from next week, likely escalating gradually until the floodgates open closer to Thanksgiving. With that in mind, we’re conscious that many PC gamers will likely be keeping an eye out for deals on computer components to upgrade their gaming rigs.
There’s an important factor to consider here: this slew of sales is arriving alongside a slew of new hardware, from Nvidia’s uber-powerful GeForce RTX 4090 to Intel’s new Arc graphics cards and AMD’s next-generation Ryzen CPUs. This is a double-edged sword for anyone looking to upgrade their PC right now, and it’s all too easy to get cut.
See, all these new products are shaping up to be seriously effective components, and their timely release confers one big benefit and one big drawback. The former is straightforward; new computer parts almost always mean price cuts for the products they replace, so the upcoming sales events could mean great deals on current-gen CPUs and GPUs.
The main drawback here is that buying those parts could create compatibility issues for you further down the line, potentially doing the opposite of future-proofing your PC. Past-proofing? Future-breaking? It might just be safer to buy a whole new gaming PC.
Analysis: Why you shouldn’t buy a new CPU just yet
The thing is, most current-gen components are still really, really good. If you see a good deal on one of the best graphics cards, don’t be afraid to snap it up. The RTX 3000 series are excellent GPUs, and will comfortably carry your gaming system for years to come – provided you’re not obsessed with playing all the latest games at 4K with maximum graphical settings.
When it comes to CPUs, we’re in decidedly murkier waters. AMD’s Ryzen 7000 chips have just arrived, bringing a whole new chipset with them, so if you’re repping Team Red you’ll want to tread carefully since these processors will require a new AM5 motherboard. Sure, we’ll probably get some great sales on Ryzen 5000 CPUs, but then you’re locking yourself into the suddenly-outdated AM4 motherboard socket.
Currently, you can only buy pricey new X670 motherboards if you want an AM5 processor. Thanks to leaks reported by VideoCardz, we have some idea of pricing for the more budget-friendly B650 boards – they’ll mostly sit between $200 and $300, depending on the feature set. Like the X670 motherboards, though, they only take DDR5 memory – so you might want to skip that DDR4 RAM upgrade if you’re planning to change the motherboard anytime soon.
That could mean that if you’re upgrading to the $299 Ryzen 5 7600X, you could end up paying almost as much (or more) for your motherboard. Upgrading to a 12th-gen Intel chip isn’t a much more welcome prospect either, since it also requires a new LGA-1700 socket motherboard, and the 13th generation of Intel Core chips likely isn’t that far off either.
In short, if you want a new GPU and aren’t obsessed with being on the absolute cutting edge of gaming graphics, go right ahead. But if you want one of the best processors, we’re going to be controversial and advise against buying just yet. There’s too much yet to see; 3D V-cache models of the Ryzen 7000 CPUs will arrive at some point too, and you don’t want to be kicking yourself in six months’ time because a better option arrived after you committed to a purchase.