Prime Day is upon us. While I wouldn’t fault you if you’re all shopped out and want to check out for the next day or so, there are plenty of great deals to be had from everyone’s favorite retail overlord. And that’s especially true if you’re looking to do some PC upgrading. I recently rebuilt my system, but I’m still scouting deals just in case.
If you would love to give your desktop or laptop a little TLC, here’s a list of some of the most noteworthy upgrades I’d consider:
- Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
- Cooler Master Hyper 212 CPU cooler
- Logitech G502 SE Hero
- Samsung 860 Pro SSD
- TP-Link Archer A7
Read on to see everything we’ve selected—and we’ll be back later to add a few more items to the list!
(A note before we begin: These are products I find compelling based on my 15-year history of building desktops and my zeal for researching upgrades that will enhance my geeky life. What you chose to purchase, if anything, is your business.)
I’ll say it: I fucking love my Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones. They’re wired; these are not. However, their noise-cancelling capabilities are among the best over-the-ear headphones I’ve ever used. They’re my go-to headphones for travel of any kind (not to mention tolerating loud roommates), and they’re just a hair away from the noise-cancellation abilities of Wirecutter’s top pick—also a Bose headphone. With Amazon’s deal, you’re saving $100 off the regular retail price ($300).
I know, I know. It’s not a “PC upgrade” per se. And I’m not even a huge Chromebook guy. But I’ve definitely keep my eye on reviews in case I ever need to buy a low-powered laptop that’s more portable than high-performing.
The Verge calls Asus’ Chromebook Flip C434 the best 14-inch Chromebook you can buy. It’s a highly portable laptop that feels more like a 13-incher with a little extra screen space. The problem? This specific Chromebook only comes with 4GB of memory. That’s not a lot for power users, but should be more than enough for everyday tasks (especially since you’re also getting a simpler Intel Core M3 processor). I’d blow my savings on a microSD card for some extra storage, as this model—$100 off the regular $500 price—only comes with 32GB of storage.
Ah, this gentle beast. Cooler Master’s Hyper 212 CPU cooler has been around forever—or at least, it feels like it. This latest version does a decent job keeping your Intel or AMD chip chillier (at least, compared to your stock cooler), and it’s a great aftermarket addition to your PC for only $20, or half the list price. It’s not going to work wonders, but it’s a great value buy if you want something a little cooler (and potentially quieter) than your system’s stock cooler. Hope you don’t mind the red color, though.
You can never have too much Ethernet cable, right? Assuming this comes back in stock, you’ll be able to get your hands on 25 feet of mighty Cat6 Ethernet cable in a flat-cord design. I actually prefer this design to the cylindrical cables, as I find it easier to deal with. Deego’s cables are highly rated and, at only $9, or just half the regular price, this one is cheap! If you’re an Amazon Prime member, this one’s a no-brainer. (Monoprice has cheaper flat cables, but you’ll pay for shipping.)
And if you need more cable length than that…
Though I’d probably hold out for the much-improved HyperX Cloud Flight S, the HyperX Cloud Flight is still a pretty-good gaming headset if budget is a concern. It was Wirecutter’s previous pick for best gaming headset, until one of HyperX’s own—the Cloud Alpha—bested it. Still, for $100 (or $40 off the list price), the Cloud Flight is no slouch.
Oh hell yeah. This gaming mouse slays. You get some lovely RGBs to play with, a comfortable design, weights to customize the feel of the mouse’s movements, and 12 total buttons (11 customizable). It’s a heavier mouse, but feels a lot better in the hand versus the “cheap” feel of lighter, hollower mice. Were I not such a Razer fanboy—blame my customized lighting setup across my keyboard and mouse—I’d go with the G502 for sure, especially now that it’s $28, a huge savings from the $80 list price.
What else is there to say? When you need to split a network connection to a bunch of different wired devices—like, say, everything sitting in your home entertainment center—a simple gigabit switch is the perfect way to do it. For $13, or a wee savings from its $19 list price, Netgear’s 5-port GS205 is an inexpensive way to get more of your devices off wifi and onto a speedier Ethernet connection.
If you haven’t moved on from SATA-based SSDs yet, Samsung’s 860-series offer great performance for a reasonable price. It’s an older drive (launched in January of 2018), but it’ll be fast enough for everything you do on your non-enthusiast desktop. You’ll save money buying a similarly sized NVMe SSD—especially if you’re looking for 1TB+ capacities—but if you have no idea what that means, and simply want something speedy to replace slower HDDs in your PCs or gaming consoles, Samsung’s 860 Pro line is a good compromise of price and performance. If you only care about price and need that upgrade for an older system, look elsewhere; Amazon’s deals for the Samsung, roughly 33-percent off, are pretty good, but you can still do a lot better if you care more about getting “any ol’ SSD” than “one of the faster SSDs.”
Now’s as good a time as any to start migrating your critical files to your own storage solution. Why? Well, why pay someone else to hold onto them for you? As long as you’re diligent about backing up your system, you don’t need to shovel money to other backup providers to take care of the business for you. A NAS box will save you cash in the long run, and it’s incredibly useful to have if you need a dedicated storage center for all the music, movies, and other video content you’d like to access from any streaming-friendly device in your home. I’ve had a NAS box for many years, and it’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. With Amazon’s sale, Synology’s DS220j—one of the best of the budget NAS boxes—gets even cheaper at $136, or $34 or so off the list price.
Lots of people have no idea how to create a great wireless network at home. TP-Link’s Archer A7 is a cheap, somewhat-easy-to-set-up wireless router that will get you great wireless-ac speeds across a pretty long distance. Having tested plenty of TP-Link routers in my day, I’d absolutely recommend the $52 Archer A7 (now nearly $30 cheaper than usual) to anyone who needs a no-bullshit upgrade to their home network. It’s also easy to set up as an access point, in case you already have Ethernet ports around your house and you simply want to add some extra connectivity to a location that’s underserved by your existing setup.