The Black Friday computer deals bring up a point: Right now is the best chance at getting a good deal on a computer. Blame bad news from Thailand. That nation is enduring a historic flood.
The Black Friday computer deals bring up a point: Right now is the best chance at getting a good deal on a computer.
Blame bad news from Thailand. That nation is enduring a historic flood. It is taking months to recover. Populated and industrialized areas are still under water.
The problem for us is a lot of that industry is technology, and a lot of the technology is hard drives. Those factories that produce 50 percent of our hard drives still are inundated, with no hope of improving soon.
The price of hard drives already is romping ahead. Wholesale prices are climbing $5 a day or more, according to PC Advisor. We soon may be in a severe shortage. This will drive up the price of computers at least 30 percent, perhaps as soon as early December.
Hard drives are one of the most expensive components of systems. U.S. tech retailers have learned (the hard way) to keep inventories lean. They don’t want to be caught with a warehouse of obsolete hardware. That magnifies the effect of shortages, making them come sooner than expected.
All this brings up a point: Many of the Black Friday computer retailers are offering astounding deals on laptops, such as fully capable 15.6-inch screens running Windows 7 Professional for $248. That’s about the price of the Win 7 standalone.
These have 2 to 3 gigabytes of RAM and 250- to 350-gig hard drives. Included are wireless, DVD drives, Intel sound and an array of USB ports.
A week earlier, I saw a similar model going for just about the same price, but it was refurbished. The same systems recently were going for more than $400 and represent one of the best deals ever for this category.
While you’re there, check out the printer prices. Wal-Mart Black Friday inkjets are at –– get this –– $19. And they are not junk.
What can you do with an inexpensive laptop? Got a student? There’s your solution. I replaced my old desktop system with one at the then-cheap $498 price. No problems.
Got a game-brainer child? These sub-$300 models will handle most games, but don’t expect much in the super high-end category, where Junior doesn’t belong, anyway.
While you’re shopping, check out the price of inkjet photo paper. You can find 100-sheet boxes for less than $20, about half price. They’re often sold two-for-one. This is quality stuff made by printer manufacturers.
MP3 players are less than half off in big box stores. For the first time, prices of computer projectors used in home-entertainment systems are falling.
Don’t assume everything high tech is on sale, though. Cameras and lenses are more expensive, not less. Tablet systems are still high but beginning to respond to Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire. E-readers are coming down, again in response to Amazon’s $79 Kindle.
It’s the best time of the year to consider an LED-TV. The 3-D models seem in a freefall.
If you cannot get up at midnight after Thanksgiving dinner to camp out in the cold, don’t worry. Some retail analysts expect the low prices may remain to the holiday. Then again, that eternal question on how generous givers will be could end the excitement quickly.
There is a little dark secret here. Most of these folks have no idea what’s going on in Thailand. If you’re in the market, get shopping.