Afternoon update: we’ve added quite a few new picks.
If Cyber Monday is Black Friday’s online brother, then Prime Day is the family’s cousin: a day of deals exclusive to Amazon Prime members. If you are a Prime member, then you might be wondering whether any of the deals might satisfy your itch for a new bit of PC hardware. We’ve trawled through what’s currently on offer to pick out the SSDs, monitors and more that might be worth your time – and a few games too.
N.B., as you can see in the disclaimer below, RPS can in some circumstances end up getting a few pennies from Amazon referrals. If you’re uncomfortable with that, you can always open the links in incognito tabs or something.
Let’s start with UK deals, though there are a few US deals below. We’ll update the post with more deals throughout the day. Please note that some of these deals might have expired by the time you get around to clicking on them. SADFACE.
Best UK Amazon Prime Day Deals
MSI NVIDIA GTX 970, £209.99
Massively out-done by the new GTX 1070, but that’ll cost you twice the price of this. If you’re not planning to do more than 1080p at 60 frames per second, you really don’t need more than this. £209’s a good price if your preference is the green team – but keep in mind you can pick up a slightly inferior Radeon 380 for similar or, depending on who you ask, slightly superior 480 for £50 more. Worth keeping in mind if you’re after a Freesync monitor.
Now, I don’t dispute that soundcards have by and large had their day, but if you are using speakers or headphones connected to onboard sound via a standard 3.5mm jack, then you almost certaintly are experiencing worse sound quality than if you were using a discrete model. Not massive, but enough that once you hear it you can’t go back. For £55, this’ll give you a bit of a boost, though expect your PC to be flooded with bobbins Creative software as part of the deal. N.b. if your PC is connected to speakers via an optical out, then a seperate soundcard will give you no benefit whatsoever. It’s all about the point at which digital is converted to analgous, see.
480gb Sandisk Ultra II SSD, £76.99
An SSD is the single greatest upgrade you can give your PC, if you don’t already have one. However, I’m not particularly concerned with upgrading an older SSD to a newer model just yet – the speed boosts are diminishing returns compared to the jump from a mechanical one. Space is another matter. I consider a 500GB SSD (or the equivalent thereof achieved with multiple drives) to be a necessity now, in order to carry the burden of both system and games. This 480GB Sandisk is far from the top of the pack, but £77 is a damn good price for that kind of space. If you want a little more room still, there’s also this 750GB Crucial model for £109.
16GB Ballistix Sport DDR3 1600, £37.99
There are very few scenarios in which the vast majority of us would gain any benefit from more than 16GB of RAM, but 16GB is very much the place to aim for if you’re not there already. If you’re upgrading from 8GB, you can save yourself a bit more by searching for another 8GB, but if you want to avoid the minefield of matched pairs, speed and latency, £37 is a fair price for a mid-speed 16GB kit. (Note that you probably won’t actually achieve its max speed unless you manually specify it in your BIOS). N.B. if you’re using a very recent Intel chip, you’ll probably need DDR4 rather than DDR3 here.
External DVD drive £15.99
Yesterday’s technology, today. Neither my desktop or laptop has a DVD drive, because in the age of broadband and steam that would be an anachronism, but once or twice a year I find myself needing one and then in a nightmare of borrowing other people’s computers to get hold of some ancient file or perform some Windows repair. Used to be that external, USB DVD/CD drives like this carried a high premium, but for £16 it’s very much worth keeping one of these in a drawer just in case you need it.
AOC 22″ 1080p IPS monitor, £86.99
Everyone deserves a 1080p screen. This isn’t exactly a top-end all bells and whistles gaming monitor, but it’s full HD, IPS and a decent size for sub-£100. I haven’t used it myself, but on paper at least it should be a very pleasing upgrade from a 1680×1050 or lower res screen, and indeed from the awful viewing angles and sometimes washed-out appearance of traditionally cheaper TN-based panels.
N300 wifi dongle £5.49
Another one of those ‘grab it and keep it a drawer for a rainy deal’ recommendations. Desktop PCs rarely have wifi, so this gives you some freedom if you ever want to take it round someone’s house or just use it in a different room, plus if your laptop’s a few years old, this should give your wifi a bit of a speed boost.
AC1200 WIFI dongle , £19.99
At the other end of the Wifi scale is this fast dual-band stick. ISPs such as Virgin are increasingly providing wireless AC spec routers, but many laptops with older or cheaper WIFI chips can’t actually reach that max speed, or use the less cluttered 5GHz frequency. Stuff one of these in there and you’ll get a big networking boost – though do check the speed and support of your router first!
Netgear AC1200 Router, £64.99
Speaking of which, here’s a pretty high-speed and solid AC router. If you have a pretty recent laptop, or indeed phone, you might well notice an immediate boost to networking and download speeds.
Mini DP adaptor, £10
Also on the expanding laptop capabilities front is this. If you’ve a relatively recent laptop or – hiss-spit – an Apple offering, you might find your options to hook it up to a monitor, TV or projector limited by its Mini Display Port. Even if you do have a cheap HDMI adaptor, some higher-res screens just won’t support it. Even this handy all-in-one adaptor, though it will cover you for most eventualities, only supports DVI up to 1080p and doesn’t have HDMI 2.0, but for a tenner it’s worth having it in your bag so you can confidently hook your laptop up to hotel or relative’s screens.
Corsair 500W PSU, £34.99
No good for crazy SLI systems, but a bit of a boost for many shop-bought systems, good enough for even high-end single cards if you’re about to build your own PC, and should be a fair bit quieter than a boggo option too.
Wifi’s unreliable. A strange bit of wall or an oddly-shaped room can wreck it. Powerline networking can be slower, but it’s a whole lot more guaranteed and stable. Consider this entry level kit if you’ve got a PC, console or smart telly quite some distance from your router.
I’ve had a Surface Pro 3 for about 18 months now, and I remain a huge fan of it – a malfunctioning wifi chip which has meant I have to use a USB adaptor instead aside. It is a true laptop/tablet hybrid, and an extremely capable portable Windows machine in a very sleek form factor. The improvements to the 4 are far more minor in practice than they are on paper, but at £750 with the usually sold-separately keyboard included, this is a very good price. It’s not a gaming machine by any stretch of the imagine, but if you’re staying 2D or old-school it’s great. I also use mine for Steam Home Streaming from my main PC. Clearly, you’re paying a massive premium for the slimness and flexibility, but you do get a gorgeous, very high res screen too, plus fancy stylus support if you’re into drawing. My only reservation is that both the 128GB SSD and 4GB RAM will create some limitations – sadly the 256GB/8GB model is dramatically more expensive.
Fallout 4, £19.99
I am totally burned out on Fallout 4’s ‘violence solves everything’ ethos, but if you’ve yet to dabble and are fairly sure you can handle its mindlessness, this is half the Steam price. You get an artbook and soundtrack in there as well.
GTV V, £17.99
No comment. Cheaper than Steam, though.
BenQ 144Hz 1080p 24″ monitor, £229.99
I’m not personally much motivated by super-high refresh rates, primarily because I’m not much of a competitive shooter player, but this is a decently deep discount if faster-feeling games are your priority. It is a TN rather than IPS panel though, so don’t expect the most vibrant of pictures.
I picked up a second-hand wheel for American Truck Simulator and have never looked back. Frankly I do balk at the price of this still – if you’re going fairly entry-level eBay is a better better – but it’s a good brand and a well-received model with all the key features for a third off.
Best US Amazon Prime Day Deals
Dell 15″ Gaming laptop, $799.99
Not the highest-end gaming laptop, but with a GTX 960M it’s got just enough poke to run almost anything at medium settings, which puts it far ahead of the general laptop pack. Not a bad looker as these things go, either.
Corsair Obsidian Series 750D, $99.99
A pretty sleek and subtle PC case if you’re in the market for one. Not super-cheap, but at least some of the traditional Corsair premium has been cut.
An SSD is essential for your system drive, but not quite so much for games, presuming you can exercise a little bit of loading screen patience. In this age of 30GB+ games, a ton of storage is very handy- and this has hybrid hard drive/SSD has a meaty 4 terabytes as well as being mooted to be much faster than a trad. mechanical hard drive.
Corsair 750W PSU, $54.99
Far more than most standard human beings (i.e. those of us who only use one graphics card) will need, at a decent price.
Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 11E, $349.99
You won’t be doing much in the way of 3D gaming, and the sub-1080p screen is very nearly a deal-breaker, for $349 for a 2015 ultrabook is a very fair price if you want a lightweight work’n’browsing machine. Also does that fold-up touchscreen thing, so can act as a pseudo-tablet.
Expensive still, but a good, fast router can make a ton of difference if you’re primarily a wifi user – both for sharing files over a network and, in some cases, even for achieving your max download speed. Check whether your wifi adaptor supports AC1900 (or, at the very least, AC1200) if you want to feel the benefit, though. This high-end Asus model also has the benefit of looking like a cyberpunk vase, as opposed to the usual ugly box.
Mini DP adaptor, $12.79
(N.b. also listed in the UK picks). If you’ve a relatively recent laptop or – hiss-spit – an Apple offering, you might find your options to hook it up to a monitor, TV or projector limited by its Mini Display Port. Even if you do have a cheap HDMI adaptor, some higher-res screens just won’t support it. Even this handy all-in-one adaptor, though it will cover you for most eventualities, only supports DVI up to 1080p and doesn’t have HDMI 2.0, but for a tenner it’s worth having it in your bag so you can confidently hook your laptop up to hotel or relative’s screens.
And here’s a $100 1080p, IPS monitor for US folk – this one 23 inch, and fairly attractive too.
Not wireless, and the D-pad suuuuuuuuuuucks, but it’s the single most compatible gamepad there is. I actually prefer wired, trailing cable notwithstanding, because wireless ones have given me no end of battery faff, and my play and charge kit died a death. This old man’s reliable as they come.
HAVIT HV-KB378L RGB Backlit Wired Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (blue switches), $62.24
I don’t have first-hand experience of this one, and the nightmare-rainbow in the pictures is a bit galling, but I’m a big fan of mechanical keyboards, and the price is a whole lot cheaper than these things usually go. I’m sure someone will be along in comments to shout about cherry colours.
Seen anything good yourself? Please do share tips below!