Amazon's Prime Day is quickly approaching — this year it runs June 21-22 — and some people are undoubtedly waiting to see whether they can snag an awesome deal on a graphics card (GPU). Unfortunately, I wouldn't expect the current GPU market hellscape to change at all during the sales event. It's not like manufacturers are holding back the best graphics cards just to sell them at a discount when they're already selling often for twice as much (or more) than the list price.
Just a few days ago we were witness to the state of RTX 3080 Ti buying at Best Buy, which involved a whole lot of waiting, some sizable bribes, and many disappointed PC gamers. GPU shortages are the symptom of a global semiconductor shortage, soaring (until very recently, at least) cryptocurrency prices, and people with more time on their hands than ever before to pursue the gaming hobby. With no end to the GPU drought in sight, prices continue to climb out of reach of many who want to upgrade or build a new PC gaming system.
Pre-built PCs are now often less expensive than a single GPU
As we've seen throughout the global GPU shortage, the best desktop gaming PCs are still widely available. Third-party manufacturers have access to stockpiles that regular consumers can't touch, meaning these pre-built systems are a guaranteed way to get your hands on a new GPU and more. Yes, individual GPU prices are so extreme that buying a full PC just for the GPU is a legitimate tactic. And with potential Prime Day savings, that tactic becomes a lot more potent.
There's really nothing wrong with buying a pre-built PC. While many people enjoy the hobby of building their own PC, other people simply don't have the time or interest. And that's OK. Not everyone likes to cook, but everyone likes to eat. However, you must be cautious when buying a pre-built PC. Not all are built the same, and you will generally have to live with some shortcomings like poor cable management or a questionable PSU. If you're simply buying a pre-built to rip out the GPU and resell the rest, those issues matter far less.
Find the right pre-built PC sale on Prime Day
Some pre-built PCs might also ship with inferior third-party GPUs, which is what you want to avoid. You might see a deep door crasher deal first thing on Prime Day, but don't be tempted before doing your due diligence. Stick with manufacturers using legitimate cards from trusted brands, or at least custom GPUs with proper cooling and sturdy build. Check out PC reviews and recommendations to see how well the machine is put together and the quality of its internal hardware.
If you see that a well-reviewed PC with the GPU you want is on sale for Prime Day, it might just be the right way to go if you prefer not to wait for this shortage to end. Black Friday is another major sales event later in the year, but who knows whether stocks will have leveled out even by then (it's looking doubtful). And you can always weigh your options by checking out the best Prime Day PC parts deals to see whether any GPUs are in stock and discounted.
Mainstream 4K gaming
The HP Omen 30L, when appropriately configured, is a serious 4K gaming mainstream rig with pleasant aesthetics that lean more modern than hardcore gamer. With the ability to easily expand or upgrade components later, there's an incentive to buy this on the cheap and upgrade as you go if you're on a budget. Fan noise and some mediocre cabling keep it from brilliance, but these are minor quibbles.
Power on tap
The Maingear Vybe offers a ton of customization with a relatively low starting price. If you want a solidly built custom PC, the Vybe is an excellent choice with tons of hardware options available.
Cale Hunt is 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.
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