Looking for new computer parts is really good fun. Well, at least it used to be until computer hardware became more expensive and prices stopped dropping. Luckily, there are several decent options if you’re looking for cheaper hardware, both brand new and second-hand.
In no particular order, here are some of the best online stores for finding cheap(ish) computer parts when repairing your machine or looking to build a new one from scratch.
Caution When Buying Cheap Computer Parts
You can only expect so much regarding cheap computer components. If they’re too cheap, you have to ask yourself “Why?” Why can one store afford to sell it at a significantly cheaper price than their competitors?
The answer is usually “It’s a scam.”
There are other issues, too. The price of RAM has only increased in the past few years, making any “cheap” parts now look like the regular deals of yesteryear. Similarly, cheap CPUs don’t exist unless you buy second-hand, and even then, some CPUs are surprisingly expensive.
Case in point: I thought about making a minor CPU upgrade for my main system. It has a decent i5 3570K that has never let me down, but I wanted to bump to the i7 3770K for the extra capacity. Intel 3xxx CPUs hit the market in 2012. And the price of a new i7 3770K? Exactly the same as six years ago; I should have just splashed a little bit extra back then.
Adding to the problem is the cryptocurrency mining boom. The price of Ethereum and other GPU-mined cryptocurrencies might have dropped, but the demand for new GPUs for mining rigs remains steady. That said, GPU prices are at least lower than they were at the peak of the crypto-mining market.
Second-hand parts, refurbished parts, and cut-price deals are the way to go if you need cheap hardware—either that or an unbranded Chinese import.
1. For Wholesale Computer Parts: AliExpress
Best for: Cheap unbranded hardware, cheap wholesale components, computer part stores, RAM, HDDs, SSDs, PSUs.
Avoid: CPUs, GPUs.
Let’s start with the last thing mentioned above: Chinese imports. China is one of the largest global manufacturers of computer hardware. AliExpress is an enormous online marketplace where you can find all manner of hardware, branded or otherwise. Branded hardware still costs roughly the same as a U.S. or E.U.-based vendor, but hardware from manufacturers you’ve never heard of can cost significantly less.
RAM, HDDs, and SSDs are worth investigating, depending on your budget and desire for a deal. However, off-brand GPUs don’t exist, and the same goes for CPUs.
Now, does it cost less because the hardware isn’t as good? Or is it simply the weight of the brand that adds to the cost of other hardware? The answer is somewhere in the middle. AliExpress sellers are either companies or individuals, but it is different from Amazon in that it doesn’t directly sell any products itself.
2. For Refurbished Computer Parts: eBay
Best for: Brand new hardware, refurbished hardware, second-hand parts, computer part stores.
Avoid: Any deal that is too good to be true—because it probably is!
Next up, eBay, an excellent site for tracking down cheaper computer hardware. The trick to finding a great eBay deal is patience and persistence. Set yourself a realistic price point for the hardware you want, stick to it, and wait it out. At some point, your product will appear at the price you want, within reason. (You’re not picking up a GTX 1080 Ti for $100 unless there’s something wrong with it or it’s a scam.)
Like AliExpress, you can find unknown manufacturers in among the other listings, as well as brand new, second hand, and refurbished parts.
3. For End-of-Season Clearance Sales: Newegg
Best for: End-of-season clearance sales, big budget discount, wide-range of hardware, customer service.
Avoid: Spending all of your money on end-of-season clearance sales, making forum posts before searching for similar questions.
Newegg is a name synonymous with great computer hardware deals. You can find a range of new and refurbished computer parts, as well as the traditional Newegg deals. Deals vary day to day, so if you have some specific hardware in mind, it is worth checking back periodically. To help you out, you can add those components to your wish list, and Newegg will ping you an email if it goes on sale.
Newegg has a few other good points, too. For instance, their forums are very active. Other users will direct you toward the right hardware for your PC build or otherwise. Also, hardware manufacturers are known to browse and actively respond to users with issues to ensure everything is running smoothly, while their YouTube channels make decent videos comparing various bits of hardware you might want to pick up.
4. For Huge CPU Discounts: Micro Center
Best for: CPU discounts, major hardware discounts, bricks-and-mortar store, real-world assistance.
Avoid: Not much!
Micro Center is a special choice for this list. Why? Because it is the only option with an actual bricks and mortar store you can pick up your hardware from. (Forget Fedex Pickup Locations!) Also, if you’re struggling to figure out what hardware you need, their in-house teams are usually knowledgeable, and not just looking for another sale. Oh, and they’ll usually match prices between the online and real-world stores, too.
But it isn’t just bricks and mortar stores that make the difference. Micro Center has a long and well-regarded history for excellent hardware discounts, especially on CPUs.
5. For Cheap-ish RAM: Amazon
Best for: Return policy, Black-Friday discounts, ever-changing hardware discounts, cheap-ish RAM.
Avoid: Higher prices for certain items, price increases before large sales.
I’m keeping the Amazon section short and sweet. Amazon does have some fantastic deals on hardware; given its size, you wouldn’t expect anything else. Furthermore, you can switch between purchasing directly from Amazon, or using an Amazon verified third-party seller. The latter can often give you extra discounts, along with some of the protections of using Amazon (return policy, customer services, and vendor communication).
However, keep an eye on the prices around the headline sales, such as Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day. Prices for certain hardware components have been known to creep upwards in the days before, so as to make the discounts appear even larger during the sale event. (Use these apps to track price changes and make sure you’re getting the best price!)
6. For Weekly Computer Part Deals: SuperBiiz
Best for: Discount bundles, weekly deals, open-box.
Avoid: Costly shipping practices, somewhat shady return policies.
SuperBiiz is a handy computer hardware site with decent discounts on a wide range of components. The site has regular open-box sale products that you can strike lucky with, and you can sometimes grab a little extra through their mail-in rebate scheme. Furthermore, if you’re looking for some slightly older hardware, SuperBiiz’s Super Steals section has some deep discounting and great deals on offer.
The flipside to the great deals is the somewhat questionable customer support, seemingly random delivery times (depending on where you are, regardless of what delivery method you choose), and a returns policy that appears in reviews for all the wrong reasons.
In that, you should note that any hardware you want to return, other than DOA hardware, should not be removed from its box at all. Once you open the box, SuperBiiz makes it difficult to get your money back. Be aware!
Huge Shoutout: PC Part Picker
Okay, so PC Part Picker isn’t a store. But it is a fantastic tool for tracking down PC components as well as making sure they are compatible. PC Part Picker shows a range of online stores and their current price alongside the hardware you choose. You can make a genuinely informed decision about whether to shop around for individual parts, or simply buy every component at a single outlet.
The Best Cheap Computer Parts Stores
As mentioned in the cheap PC hardware lowdown section, finding genuinely cheap PC hardware is difficult. The amount of discount usually lies in the hardware you want to buy. Looking for a brand new Nvidia GeForce GTX 2080? You will struggle to find a discount on that.
Thinking about picking up a slightly older GTX 980? There’s a strong chance one of the sites above will have it in stock with a nice discount.
Another way to save cash on components is to really dig down into what you want to use your computer for. If you only need a machine for internet browsing, reading and sending email, and word processing, you can build a very cheap system, regardless of extra discounts or cheap hardware deals.