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Computers can be expensive and we all love a bargain Save Time And Money: PriceZombie Brings The Deals To You Save Time And Money: PriceZombie Brings The Deals To You With the vast number of places to shop online, it can be hard to find the best deals. Let PriceZombie do the work for you and save you lots of cash. Read More . It makes sense that you’d want to buy a new machine when you can get it for the cheapest price. But is there a best time to buy a new computer?

There are times when it’ll be more likely you can get a new computer for cheaper than the rest of the year, but there’s never a guarantee. And it might be that you’ll end up waiting for a price drop that never comes. We’ll assess if there’s a prime buying time and whether you should wait until Windows 10 to hand over your cash.

Be sure to head to the comments afterwards to let us know what you think, especially if you have any local tips that might not apply globally.

The Best Time to Buy

Right off the bat, something needs to be said: there’s never going to be a perfect date for buying a new computer. Prices are subject to change all the time – they could go up and down without warning. These are recommendations based on the past, not guarantees.

Remember that you could always be waiting for a price drop that never comes. You’ll need to weigh up the opportunity cost; if you need the computer sooner rather than later, it’s better to buy it while you can, if you can afford to do so. Otherwise you could be stuck waiting and buying older hardware when you could have been utilising it months earlier.

Seasonal Sales

The build up to Christmas is an obvious sales season for every retailer and the same applies to those selling computers. While computers are usually too expensive to be a common holiday gift, retailers will be looking to take advantage of the general flowing holiday money and will apply discounts to systems in order to attract and sell off stock before the year end.

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These discounts can also come in the form of discount codes. For example, Dell Outlet were dishing out vouchers for 30% off their desktops last year and often some juicy deals can be achieved through code stacking 7 Smartest Ways to Save Money Using the Internet 7 Smartest Ways to Save Money Using the Internet Read More . Retailers will often engage in one day only deals round the holiday season, so be sure to constantly check their websites around the time and keep your eyes peeled for any sudden discounting.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are sales days that originated in America, but in recent years they’ve become a more worldwide phenomenon. With prices often slashed across the board, usually only for a limited amount of time or on a set quantity of stock, real bargains can be snapped up on these two days providing you’re quick off the mark.

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A word of caution, however: retailers will often use the fever around these days to flog outdated systems at not-so-great prices. Make sure you always do your research before buying and don’t get drawn in by a seemingly appealing price tag – you might end up overpaying Five Ways To Protect Yourself And Not Get Scammed On Black Friday Five Ways To Protect Yourself And Not Get Scammed On Black Friday Read More for something you would have got cheaper outside of the sale.

Back to School

Typically run during the summer period of August to September (although it can begin earlier), the Back to School How To Make Sure You Get The Best Deals On Back To School Tech How To Make Sure You Get The Best Deals On Back To School Tech Going back to school can be stressful, not only because it's school but also because students often find themselves having to spend money they don't really have. After tuition and books, there's often very little... Read More period is a perfect time for retailers to target parents and students who are in the market for a new system to deal with their educational needs. Deals on laptops are especially prevalent during this period as they make for great college and university purchases.

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Many retailers, like Microsoft, Apple, and Sony, to name a few, will also give exclusive discounts to actual students. These deals are usually available on presentation of a student ID or a valid academic email address. For example, in the past HP have given students $200 off desktops and laptops. Apple are even generous enough to extend their educational pricing to teachers and parents buying for their students.

New Hardware Releases

If retailers are expecting to get new hardware in then you’ll usually find that they’ll begin discounting their current stock in order to make way for the new. There’s no set date for when this will be since different manufacturers will operate on different cycles, but keep your eye on the upcoming big hardware releases and you’ll likely find retailers discounting accordingly.

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If you’re not after the latest flashy piece of kit then this will be a perfect time for you to jump in. While the system may be classed as old, simply because technology moves so quickly and there’s always new things being pushed to market, if you’re just needing a computer for general tasks rather than high fidelity gaming What Is NVIDIA G-SYNC Technology And Will It Revolutionize Gaming? What Is NVIDIA G-SYNC Technology And Will It Revolutionize Gaming? When a company like NVIDIA announced that it was working on a technology called G-SYNC that would reside in computer monitors, we had to take notice. Read More , then this is a great time for you to buy.

Waiting for Windows 10

The latest version of Microsoft’s operating system, Windows 10, is due for release later this year. Some may be tempted to hold off buying a new computer until then, but that’s probably not advisable. While it might be that retailers discount Windows 8 machines nearer the time, it’s equally possible that they could charge big bucks for those running the new and shinier 10.

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Besides, Windows 10 is going to be a free upgrade Windows 10: The Dream Of A Cross-Device Operating System Is Becoming Reality & It's Free Windows 10: The Dream Of A Cross-Device Operating System Is Becoming Reality & It's Free Microsoft is boldly stepping into the future with innovative software and hardware. Windows as a service and mobility of experience were the major keywords from the recent Windows 10 briefing. Most importantly, Windows 10 will... Read More during its first year of existence for everyone running 7 and above, so you’re not going to be missing out, if you buy a system with an existing operating system. On the flip side, you will ensure that you can get your hands on those operating systems while you can if you don’t intend to upgrade.

If you want to take full advantage of Windows 10, then be sure to buy a computer with up-to-date hardware that is going to be capable of supporting DirectX 12 Here's How Gaming Will Work With Windows 10 Here's How Gaming Will Work With Windows 10 With Windows 10, Microsoft is bringing PC gaming and the Xbox One together in a big way. Find out what to expect once Windows 10 arrives. Read More , since the latest version will ship with the new operating system. Broadly speaking for GPUs, Nvidia cards running Fermi and later, Intel cards running Haswell and later, and AMD cards using GCN chips should all support DirectX 12.

To Buy or Not to Buy?

Hopefully these tips have provided useful in offering periods that might be the best time for you to buy your new computer. If you’re in the market for a purchase, the best thing you can do is always keep your eye out for new deals because you never know when a retailer might begin discounting.

Just remember not to wait too long. If you see a good deal and wait in hope of a better one turning up, then you may end up disappointed and losing out on the original offer.

When do you think the best time to buy a new computer is? Are there some specific local tips you want to share?

Image Credits: desk calendar Via Shutterstock

  1. Anon
    March 27, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    re: prices - holiday season always tends to have the best deals, but you'll find discounts on systems with older OS's on newegg and tigerdirect after systems with 10 are shipped to retailers.

    re: Linux, specificly to ryan and cg: This site has gone out of its way to demystify finding the right flavors, desktop environments, etc. the best primer I've ever been able to find on this subject was published on March 12th, called "9 questions new linux users always ask" and can be found here:
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/9-questions-new-linux-users-always-ask/

    it also briefly goes into the fact that for windows 10, Micro$oft has decided that a linux-style package manager is a good idea. Well worth the read, and full of links that can greatly expand one's knowledge base.

  2. Bill H.
    March 27, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    I find the prices in this area are influenced by the two local universities and community (tech) college. This applies more so to used / refurbished gear.
    As the academic year wraps up a lot of good used stuff shows up at pretty good prices - but the new stuff doesn't sell well so prices tend to drop.
    When it's back to school time - there are some deals but prices do tend to rise a bit.

  3. Paul
    March 27, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    @ryan
    Exactly! What do we use our computers for, if not fun, eh?
    Otherwise, why even waste time with a site like makeuseof ... Hmmmm
    Just march dutifully along like all the other Microsheep...

  4. danny6114
    March 27, 2015 at 2:57 am

    Some states have tax free days during back to school time so not only might you find a deal, you won't pay taxes on it either!

    • Joe
      March 28, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      Awesome! I didn't know that. Thanks for that handy tip, Danny.

  5. Millar
    March 27, 2015 at 2:33 am

    I remember last summer that Intel had a promo for $100.00 off any Intel based computers

  6. Paul
    March 26, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    @cg
    Wrong!
    Windows could take lessons from Linux for the desktop. I've been running Linux for many years (desktop, laptop, and netbook) and would not dream of going back to Microsoft products.
    The special beauty of Linux is all the flavors and desktop environments -- there is bound to be at least one distribution that could make even you happy.

    • ryan
      March 27, 2015 at 11:56 am

      Yeah, and i'm sure finding that ONE distribution that's going to make me happy is going to be fun..

  7. Zhong
    March 25, 2015 at 2:35 am

    Isn't it a good idea to buy a laptop that caters to the casual user and pick specs that doesn't produce as much heat? Because all these powerful laptops running high end processor made for either gaming or huge projects will die much early than its counterparts.

    • Joe
      March 26, 2015 at 10:25 pm

      I think it just depends on what you want out the system, Zhong. But yes, if intense gaming is the aim then then I would recommend getting a desktop instead of a laptop, if possible.

  8. Saikat
    March 24, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Nice one Joe. With the faster release cycles (even from Microsoft), this question needs consideration. Microsoft has moved to a rapid release cycle which also changes their support policy.

    Also, the other question -- how quickly do you upgrade? Some do it every year. I do it once every three years.

    • Joe
      March 26, 2015 at 10:23 pm

      Thanks, Saikat! I tend to upgrade as and when my computer needs it. For example, I recently found that some of my RAM had failed and I was running low on drive space, so I've now kitted my system out with some more memory and a bigger hard drive. It was a long time ago when I got the computer originally, but the insides have changed a lot since then.

  9. David Whitmyre
    March 23, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Gavin, what is your experience with Windows 10, vs. Win 7 and Win 8? I hated 8. but I heard that 10 will incorporate more features that emulate 7 and even XP in functionality. Not sure exactly what, but I would be interested in your opinion.

    Thanks,
    David

    • Gavin
      March 24, 2015 at 6:46 am

      David, I was relaxed with Win 8 (the first 8.0) where as most people found it frustrating and confusing to use, like yourself. I adjust quickly to the new OSes. I am running Win 10 on a 8 year old Core 2 Duo PC, so performance-wise can't give much feedback. The new added Cortana feature is useless on a Desktop PCs and the Start Menu can be switched between the Win 8 style (full screen) or Windows 7 style, I use the full screen start menu. Much of the rest is from Windows 8.1

    • likefunbutnot
      March 24, 2015 at 4:20 pm

      Just to start off, I too like Windows 8.x and prefer it to Windows 7.

      Based on the current build, running Windows 10 on top-end hardware (i7 machines with SSDs), the experience is very similar to both Windows 8 in most respects other than the current build of Start and Modern applications.

      Search is glacially slow and mis-prioritized (based on how results are displayed: Windows searches the internet with Bing first, THEN your files, THEN programs and settings, even if you're searching an exact command name like winword.exe). Modern Apps, if you use them, take forever to load and are still missing basic customizations and interaction with desktop style programs, such as the ability to properly respect the directory structure of your Pictures and Music libraries.

      Based on the pause for display and the start of search, I think the current Start interface is basically a Modern-Style Windows application. On machines where I should not have to wait for anything, I have a pause that's long enough for me to miss three or four characters as I try to use the search box.

      There's also a continued disjoint state between Control Panel and the Settings app; there are still things that have to be configured in Control Panel and some things that have moved entirely to Settings.

      Absent the change in the Start application (whether it's fullscreen or a menu), Windows 10 is indistinct from Windows 8. cmd.exe is a little nicer to use and built-in virtual desktops are handy, but I've gotten less excited since it's clear that many of the issues that bother me aren't going to be fixed before it is released.

  10. Edward
    March 23, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    My old computer is 7 years old and he's running Linux Ubuntu with no problem at all, why spend money to run Windows 10

    • cg
      March 23, 2015 at 9:36 pm

      Linux is bad as a desktop OS. Windows is widely supported and better for desktop.

    • timo
      March 26, 2015 at 9:53 pm

      Sorry, cg, but you're dead wrong--and you obviously haven't used a Linux in a while.

    • Ninja250
      March 27, 2015 at 12:35 am

      I agree with Timo. Linux works great on my 8 year old laptop and blindingly fast (15 second cold boots) on my HP desktop with Samsung SSD. I still keep a Windows 7 desktop to run DxO Optics Pro 8. If that one program was ported to Linux (there's a Mac version) I wouldn't have a Windows box at all. Maintaining Linux to it's most current release and security updates takes only a few minutes per month versus hours for Windows (providing their updates don't crash and burn requiring a full Windows re-install). If anything, buy a nice SSD and install any flavor of Linux - you'll never go back to Windows.

  11. Gavin
    March 23, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    I am still running the preview of Windows 10. When that expires, I will look into buying a new laptop with it pre-installed.

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