The graphics card (GPU) is an integral part of a gaming PC, but all the fancy tech generally comes at a high price. There's also extreme stock shortages and scalping to contend with, which makes for a generally painful buying experience. Black Friday GPU deals might be a great opportunity to get started on your next build or to upgrade your current machine, if you can find something for sale. We're hoping to see some of the best graphics cards become available, which we will keep tabs on right here.
Why you can't find any graphics cards on sale right now
Sorry to disappoint; there aren't any graphics cards on sale right now. This is where we'd usually have a long list of buying options and deals, but the current GPU market is so skewed that the best deals seem to be between 5% and 10% off of prices way above where they should be. As one example, Newegg, is showing 5% off a Gigabyte Vision OC RTX 3060. Unfortunately, that's 5% off $900, which is way above the list price.
Why is this happening? Roughly 25% of GPUs went to crypto miners in Q1 2021, and that's on top of the global semiconductor shortage that is causing issues throughout the tech world.
People have been resorting to extreme measures to land a new GPU at full price, never mind at a discount. If you're hoping, like us, to land a powerful new GPU on Black Friday, it's best to temper expectations.
What you can do to land a GPU
On sale or not, your best bet is to keep an eye on major retailers as they restock at regular prices. Our guides on where to buy NVIDIA RTX 30-series GPUs and where to buy AMD Radeon RX 6000 GPUs can help you nail down which card is best for you and where it's being sold.
While it did seem like shortages were lessening and high prices were on their way back down, it's still incredibly difficult to buy a standalone GPU. There are, however, plenty of pre-built gaming PCs with the latest GPUs inside. The rub here is that you're paying for an entire PC rather than just a GPU, with pre-builts often shipping with proprietary parts and custom hardware. Our collection of the best gaming desktop PCs have a bunch of options to choose from.
If you're looking for something that closely caters to your needs, something like the Maingear Vybe might be the right choice. You can check out the CLX Ra as well. There's also Newegg's lineup of ABS pre-built gaming PCs which have a good reputation for using genuine parts and high-performance hardware.
Those who don't mind sticking with a gaming laptop will likely have a lot better luck landing a new PC on Black Friday. In fact, we've already seen a bunch of significant deals on gaming laptop with high-end performance as we head into Black Friday proper. If you'd like to see some of the best prices, we've rounded up the best Black Friday gaming laptops deals to make shopping just a bit easier.
How to get the best Black Friday graphics card deal for you
Things may change between now and Black Friday, but don't get your hopes up. If there does happen to be a ton of great GPUs on sale, we will list them here for easier shopping. As for some general shopping suggestions, we can pretend like there's a glut of cards to choose from.
When shopping for a GPU, you want to be sure you're not buying too much or too little. An overpowered card — like something from NVIDIA's RTX 30-series lineup — might cause your processor to bottleneck if it's getting up there in years. On the other hand, an underpowered card, like the NVIDIA GTX 1050, might not cut it for intensive modern games. It's important to understand where the best graphics card options rank before making a final decision.
If you find something that works for your PC, always check on previous prices before making a final decision. A tool like CamelCamelCamel works wonders for products at Amazon. And also be sure to check and compare prices with other retailers. You never know where you might find a better deal.
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Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.