Truski’s Guide to Bargain Hunting

Throughout my years shopping on the web, I have gathered a large amount of experience finding the slickest of deals on everything from sub sandwiches to desktop processors. Today I’ll be sharing 10 of the most important rules you should follow when searching for the best possible deal on anything you wish to purchase on the shimmering expanse known as the Internet.

Rule 1: There will always be deals.

One of the worst feelings is barely missing a deal when you could have snagged it. This happened to me recently when I woke up at 5 AM for a deal on a solid-state drive, and right before I checked out the site ran out of stock.

This stuff happens, and you may initially feel like a disappointment. But there will always be deals on the product in the future. That’s rule 1.

Rule 2: Some deals are once in a lifetime.

There are a few exceptions to rule 1. Some deals are just unbeatable. For instance, pricing errors could drop a product to 20% or lower of the original cost. I picked up three 2TB hard drives for only $20 each (normally $70 each), and that deal will never return because it was a pricing error. Unless some other company makes the same mistake!

Rule 3: Buy now, think later.

Following the price error business, if there’s a deal that you think may be too good to be true, just buy it. If you don’t need it, you can always sell it and make some profit. There’s no time to waste; the deal might not last long as everyone is using this mentality to snag the best deal.

You can take this rule even further: if you think it’s a price mistake, purchase the fastest shipping possible if it’s still a reasonable price. One time there was some computer memory on sale for $20, when this stuff normally goes for $125. I bought the overnight shipping for $30, bringing my total to $50. All of the orders for the product got cancelled, but it was definitely worth a shot.

Just as I am writing this, I received a $10 code from a certain site because they couldn’t fulfill my order due to high demand and a pricing mistake. It’s a win-win. You know how much I love win-wins.

Rule 4: Check price history.

Are you sure what you are looking at is a good deal? Knowing the history of an item’s price is important to making sure you get the best bargain available. The more you scour the web for deals, the more pricing experience you’ll obtain.

If you’re on Amazon, the website camelcamelcamel.com is an amazing resource. Just paste the Amazon link for the product and you’ll see the entire price history on a graph. If it’s at an all-time low, it’s time to purchase, my friend.

Rule 5: Reviews are accurate (mostly).

Always read reviews. I never purchased a product with 3 or less stars unless it is the only one available. Sort by most helpful, as these reviews are rated by fellow shoppers and reading these will be the best use of your time.

Some reviews are fraudulent. Luckily, for Amazon, there’s another nice site that you could use to verify the genuineness of reviews: fakespot.com. Just paste the Amazon link and take a look at review quality and company quality. If both are given an A, you’re all set!

Rule 6: Visit deal websites.

Believe it or not, there are websites dedicated to sharing deals. The most popular one is SlickDeals.com. It has a wide variety of deals that are voted for by fellow members of the site. It has a great app as well. Because of the site’s breadth, you will learn about deals on things you don’t normally buy.

For instance, I got 50% off Jersey Mike’s subs. I love Jersey Mike’s subs, but normally I’m not willing to pay the full price of $8 for a sub, so this deal was a beaut. Slickdeals also allows you to filter your deals by keywords or types.

There are also niche communities for certain types of products. For instance, reddit.com/r/buildapcsales is the best place for computers items, including parts, peripherals, furniture, and pre-built systems. Do a quick google search for [your product] deals and you’ll find a community in no time.

Rule 7: Get notifications.

If you are really dedicated to deal hunting for a certain product, you need to subscribe for notifications for the item. The Slickdeals app automatically sends you notifications. For other sites like Reddit forums, you can use the IFTTT app to send you notifications for new posts. I personally am using that app for buildapcsales posts, as I am currently in search of a great deal on a graphics card and memory.

Rule 8: Sign up for cash back.

Recently, I’ve installed the Ebates chrome app. It allows me to gain small to large percentages of my purchases back in cash. For example, they currently are giving 18% back at Godaddy.com, 6% at JCPenny.com, and much more.

You could sign up for Ebates for free at my referral link here. If you signup with my link, you’ll get $10 for free just to start!

If you have a credit card (which you should have if you’re 18), it probably has some form of cashback. Always buy with your credit card. You’ll improve your credit score if you pay your bills on time while getting a small percentage back in cash (depending on the card).

Rule 9: Be patient.

Is there a product that you really, really want? First, check if there have been deals on it before. If there have been, especially if there have been multiple deals, you should wait for another one. Subscribe to notifications specifically for that item. You’ll save a ton of money and be super satisfied for your efforts.

Rule 10: Don’t go overboard.

Take control of your money. Always have a budget – I personally keep two separate excel spreadsheets: one for listing all of my purchases, and one for budgeting my net income.

If a deal pops up that’s really good, first consider if you REALLY need it. If you don’t need it in the next 6 months, there probably will be another deal on it in the near future, and you should wait.

 

Well, that concludes this guide. I hope you will save the big bucks on your next purchase on the internet. Please leave a comment if you have your own tips and tricks. Sharing is caring!

King of Budget CPUs

Now is the best time to build your own budget gaming computer.

Well, it’s always the best time to build a budget gaming computer. But this is the best best time.

Intel just released the Intel Pentium G4560. It’s the first Pentium with Hyper-Threading since the Pentium 4 back in 2008.

Basically, thanks to HT Technology, although it’s a dual core CPU, the Pentium G4560 simulates a quad core CPU, all while having a solid base frequency of 3.5GHz.

And that’s huge, because these days, there are games that won’t even run if you don’t have four logical cores. It’s on the latest socket, so it also supports the latest RAM, DDR4.

The price? $60. You’re basically getting an i3 for half the price.

I’m sure you may be saying, “The i3 sucks! You need to go with an i5 or an i7! And don’t even say the word AMD!”

Well, for most games, it actually makes no difference.

You will get the exact same frame-rates using the Pentium, i3, i5, or i7 as long as you don’t fall into one of these conditions:

  • You have a top of the line GPU like the GTX 1080, a $500 card.
  • You’re playing CPU-intensive games (which are uncommon these days).

According to this incredibly in-depth benchmarking video, frame-rates are almost all identical for each GPU, regardless of aforementioned processors. Here’s one example:

And here’s a benchmark of a more CPU intensive game, Battlefield 1:

Now, I will admit: if you want to make your system more future-proof, or you are thinking of involving yourself in some CPU intensive activities like video rendering, then by all means, go with an i5 or i7 (or wait for Ryzen).

But in the budget realm, the prices just don’t make sense.

The latest unlocked i5 costs around $240 at the time of this post, and the latest unlocked i7 costs around $350.

For most gamers, you’d be paying 4 to 6 times the cost for the same performance.

Every King Needs a Queen – Budget GPU

While this crazy deal on the Pentium is going on, some hot graphics cards are going on even hotter sales.

Recently, two solid cards have been discounted like crazy: the AMD RX 470 and the RX 480, which have similar performance to Nvidia’s GTX 1050ti and GTX 1060, respectively (but AMD’s cards will age better).

If you browse reddit.com/r/buildapcsales often enough, you’ll find the RX 470 as low as $95 compared to the $150 1050ti. The RX comes in two flavors, 4GB and 8GB, and each of those vary even more in quality depending on the model. The ASUS Strix models are some of the best, and they have gone as low as $137 for the 4GB and  $178 for the 8GB.

I mention these cards because they truly have the best price-to-performance, perfect for a budget build.

Putting it all together – The Full Build

Here’s a sample budget PC (courtesy of /u/velociraptorfarmer)

With sales this week you can now build a 1080p 60fps ultra machine for ~$400, or the same cost as the PS4 Pro:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU Intel Pentium G4560 3.5GHz Dual-Core Processor $59.99
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-B250M-DS3H Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard $73.98 @ Newegg
Memory Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR4-2400 Memory $50.19 @ Amazon
Storage Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $49.33 @ OutletPC
Video Card AMD RX 470 4GB $119.99
Case Cooler Master N200 MicroATX Mini Tower Case $29.99
Power Supply EVGA 430W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply $33.99 @ SuperBiiz

| Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts | | Total | $417.46 | Generated by PCPartPicker 2017-02-03 16:11 EST-0500 |

$417 for a build that will max out FPS on most games at 1080p/Ultra, and that’s accounting for regular prices. If you were to buy each part at the right time, you could get the price even lower and have even better specs.


Thanks for reading, let me know what you think in the comments. Are you planning on building this summer?

I currently have the FX 6350. Personally, I’m waiting to see what’s in store for us with AMD Zen, which could be a real game changer in the CPU market. I am also waiting for AMD VEGA, to see how the GPU market will shift.

Open Season On China

Last night I was lying in bed thinking: how in the world are we going to beat these Chinese gold sellers?

Since the advent of MMO’s, gold buying and selling for cash has been a known frivolous activity. It’s even known in popular culture, as seen on Person of Interest.

In this post, I’ll be talking specifically about WoW gold selling.

You may have the questionably written private messages with links to gold selling sites. You may have seen the full-plaza ads with dead bodies. You may have even purchased gold yourself (shame on you)!

Gold farming and selling is a serious business in China. People make a living off of playing World of Warcraft hours on end. According to Nymh’s song, 10 cents an hour is good money when you are Chinese.

It may seem harmless, but it has a dire consequences on server economy. These gold sellers keep characters logged off at mining and herb nodes and just log in when the timers are up. They basically have the monopoly on many items and become the kingpins of the market.

Prices, in turn, are super-inflated, and many professions become much harder to work with.

Not only do these Chinese farm gold, but on vanilla private servers, they also farm honor rank in battlegrounds. They always run in pre-made groups and eventually end up selling their accounts for real money.

Finally, the worst part about these gold sellers: they don’t interact with you. They’re like robots, but then again they probably only speak Chinese anyway.

So what’s the solution?

First, we must look at how these players connect. Firstly, most of them are in China, because it’s actually legal there. 80% of gold farmers are Chinese, with over 100,000 people there being full-time employees for gold-selling sites (hilarious, right?).

So if most of them are in China, we can just ban any Chinese IP addresses. Done.

Now we’ve got them all using proxies and VPN’s to get around this. Okay, there’s a way to ban those too. Now they’re gone… but now we have a different kind of problem.

Case study: Kronos, a vanilla private server by Twinstar, banned Chinese IP’s as well as all proxies and VPNs. For the next 5 weeks, their servers were DDOS’d nonstop by the Chinese gold farmers, preventing anyone from playing at all.

I just find it insane and hilarious at the same time that this happened.

We got on the China’s bad side.

So to prevent this, we can upgrade our DDOS protection, no?

Well this isn’t always an option, especially for projects done completely voluntarily with no cash shop, such as Nostalrius.

So this brings us to ways that players can mitigate the gold selling plague.

Firstly, the pacifist approach: install an addon that will filter all gold seller private messages and chat invites.

This method will basically remove all chat spam, and you will no longer need to ignore every gold seller that messages you.

The problem: players that buy gold will still buy gold, and as long as there are buyers, there will be sellers.

On the other hand, we can take the aggressive approach: kill the Chinese farmers.

Open Season on China.

If we can slay them before they can ruin the economy as well as camp their bodies, they will realize, using their epic math skills, that playing on the server isn’t worth it. There just won’t be a profit.

Unfortunately for PVE servers, this is not a viable option, as you don’t get auto-flagged in contested zones.

However, this is, in my opinion, the solution (at least for now) for PVP servers.

For already established servers, this technique won’t be as easy. However, for new servers like the Nostalrius fresh realm coming out on January 7th, everyone will start at level 1, meaning if we specifically target the gold farmers early this will impact them the most.

So how can you tell if someone is a gold farmer? Usually, they have Chinese-like names, with sounds like Xing, Mei, etc.

The most obvious indicator, however, is that they won’t interact with you. Nothing you do will stop them from farming, as they’re on the clock working!

So here’s what we got to do: if you see anyone with a Chinese name, or are suspicious of someone being a gold-farmer, just do a simple /wave or /dance. If they reply with a heart hello or something of the nature, they’re clear. It’s the signal.

If, however, they fail to reply, don’t hesitate to send them home in an ambulance.

If you want to learn more about the Open Season on China, or OSOC movement, check out this video and see some of Itsreal’s other videos.