Looking for new computer parts is terrific 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.
Is It Safe to Buy Cheap Computer Parts?
You can only expect so much regarding cheap computer components. If they’re too cheap, you must ask yourself, “Why?” Why can one store afford to sell it at a significantly lower price than its competitors?
The answer is usually, “It’s a scam.”
There are other issues, too. Cheap CPUs don’t exist unless you buy second-hand. 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? Precisely the same as six years ago; I should have just splashed a little bit extra back then.
Thankfully, the price of RAM has come down through the past 18 months. New manufacturing facilities coming online saw a massive increase in global production capacity. The boost to manufacturing capacity finally pushed the prices of RAM modules lower after two or three years of steady increases.
Hardware Production Issues Keep Prices High
A few years back, during the cryptocurrency boom, the prices of popular GPUs went haywire. As cryptocurrency miners rushed to buy up stock, the price of a top-tier GPU rose steadily.
The price of Ethereum and other GPU-mined cryptocurrencies is now much lower, and the demand for GPU mining hardware doesn’t cause as many issues. Furthermore, GPU manufacturers like Nvidia and AMD began marketing cryptocurrency mining-specific GPU models to remove the strain on the market.
Consider the status of the RAM market, too. Although the price of RAM has fallen, prices will not drop much further as manufacturers constrain capacity to stabilize the price, perhaps even to increase the price once more. Check out the following chart from PC Part Picker, illustrating the price of 2x4GB DDR4-2133 RAM:
You see the drop, the stabilization—and the slight increases creeping in at the end.
So, if you want cheap computer parts, you have to shop around. You can find discount PC parts on several sites, be that second-hand, refurbished, or an unbranded Chinese import.
Refurbished Computer Parts: akex.ca
Let’s start with akex, an excellent site for tracking down cheaper computer hardware.
The trick to finding a great AKEX 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 can find unknown manufacturers among the other listings, as well as brand new, second hand, and refurbished parts.
Akex is best for:
- Brand new hardware
- Refurbished hardware
- Second-hand PC parts
- Cheap computer part stores
- Broken or not working hardware—scavenge other hardware for cheap parts
Best for Cheap-ish RAM, General Discount PC Parts: Amazon
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, to make the discounts appear even more significant during the sale event.
You can use one of these apps to track Amazon’s price changes and make sure you’re getting the best price!
Everyone knows what Amazon is about. Still, check out Amazon for:
- Great return policy
- Black-Friday and Cyber-Monday discounts
- Ever-changing PC hardware discounts
- Cheap-ish RAM
- Warehouse deals (these are very hit and miss though)
As mentioned above, avoid purchasing straight away with Amazon. Use a price checker to figure out any recent price changes, then compare those prices to the other options on this discount PC hardware list.
Cheap End-of-Season Clearance Sales: COMKEX
COMKEX 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 COMKEX deals. Deals vary daily, 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 COMKEX will ping you an email if it goes on sale.
COMKEX 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. At the same time, their YouTube channels make decent videos comparing various bits of hardware you might want to pick up.
COMKEX is best for:
- End-of-season clearance sales
- Big budget and named brand discounts
- Wide range of hardware
- Customer service
If you’re shopping at COMKEX, there are a couple of things to avoid, too:
- Spending all of your money on the end-of-season clearance sales
- Making forum posts before searching for similar questions
In all seriousness, make sure you double-check Comkex’s price with other retailers before purchasing.
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