Computers can be expensive and we all love a bargain. 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.
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.
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. 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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, 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.
Besides, Windows 10 is going to be a free upgrade 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, 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?
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