Are Computer Prices Dropping?

7/4/2012 5:44:34 PM

Although there does seem to be a trend of prices increasing or remaining static, some areas of the computer component industry are actively becoming better value. Here’s what to keep an eye on if you’re looking for a real bargain in 2012:


Description: SSDs

As recent production problems continue to affect hard drive prices, soild-state drives are starting to become better value. They’re still some way off becoming as cheap as traditional drives, but in 2011 the price of 64GB SSD drives dropped by 30%, while the price of 128GB SSD drives dropped by 20%. We’ve already seen similar pricing trends affect pen drives, so it won’t be long until SSD drives are looking like fantastic bargains. The only hard part will be deciding exactly when to strike, because there’s no indication that prices are going to rise anytime soon.

Graphic Cards

Description: Graphic Cards

In the last few weeks, NVidia’s Kepler architecture has finally been launched – a little late but still no impressive reviews. The first Kepler card is the GeForce GTX 680, which offers substantial improvements in both power consumption and performance, and it’s instantly become more desirable than any Radeon competition – a fact which has led to intermittent shortages that might actually lead retailers to nudge prices up.

But the strong performance of Kepler has caused the prices of any non-Kepler NVidia card above $300 to instantly drop. The price of a GTX 580 has dropped over 20% in the last few weeks: in January the cheapest units were $570, but at present you can pick one up for $450 if you shop around. Until Kepler stock shortages are resolved, it’s unlikely that the price drops will affect AMD’s graphic cards, but it shouldn’t be long until you see a downward correction there too – all of which spells good news for anyone looking for a bargain graphics purchase.

Super notebooks

Description: Super notebooks

Although the price of laptop PCs is staying fairly static, top-tier notebooks are starting to come down in price as manufacturers try to tempt desktop owners away from their familiar setups and towards something more portable by making the power and pricing as close to equivalent as possible. It certainly helps that AMD’s Fusion APUs are shedding pounds fast – the A Series APU offers better battery life and media performance than Intel’s equivalent chips.

As with regular notebooks, the best time to buy will be just prior to Windows 8’s launch, because that’s when retailers will cut prices to clear out Windows 7 machines as fast as possible. If you can stand to have something that isn’t bleeding edge (and let’s face it, Windows 8 will probably be riddled with problems at launch anyway), then that’ll be the best time to buy.

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