Black Friday for Geeks

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So what’s a geek to do but drool over the Black Friday discounts and beyond. But as with all things technical, it pays a little to wonder if it is time to buy or whether you should wait for the next product cycle. Here’s a quick low down on popular (for nerds) holiday items:

  1. A new PC? Yellow Light. Well, that’s a good question and the answer is that if you can wait, you will probably like the upcoming Broadwell chips better. That being said, Intel is adding about 5-10% to desktop performance, so it isn’t a bad time. Haswell is pretty decent and they have just refreshed the line in the summer. The main complexity is that Intel has so many gradations, you need a slide rule to figure out a good deal (which I haven’t done). Still if you want save 10% off a processor, it’s not a bad time to buy.

  2. A new monitor? Red light. This is a time of major transition. The 4K displays are just out (8MP of glory), but the next round is even more amazing. Dell and Apple have just shipped 5K displays (15 megapixels if you can imagine that) and these are going to ship next year. So wait if you want. A related issues is that DisplayPort 1.3 is just coming out in early 2015 and you need it to drive these 4K monitors at more than 30 hertz. If you are a gamers of course, I can’t imagine how much power a 15 megapixel monitor is going to take. Remember still amazing Hd monitors (1920×1080) are just 2 megapixels! That being said if you need a monitor now, the ASUS PB27Q isn’t a bad office monitor (2550 for $480) and the Benq PT3000 ($600 on sale now at Newegg) is astonishingly beautiful as a 32” monitor.

  3. A new phone? Green light. Well as usual Apple is managing the cycles well so the new iPhone 6 Plus (drool, drool) is not a bad buy right now and you are at the top of the cycle. The main reason to wait would be the rumored dual camera setup in the upcoming iPhone models, but the camera (and the battery) in the iPhone 6 are pretty amazing.

  4. A new camera? Red light. Well, the new announcements are coming so fast and the improvements are just incredible. The main thing to wait for is 4K video recording which is becoming standard and Sony is rumored to be announcing a 50Mp full frame pro camera very shortly. That could be the turning point for prosumers ;-0 Also, GoPro is just switching to 4k, so you probably want to wait to see all the 4k offerings as video is a new battleground for cameras.

  5. More storage? Yellow light. You can never have enough disk and SSDs are really amazing right now. While it isn’t a bad time, if you can you should wait. The new Intel DC P3500 is not quite shipping, but promises incredible performance in the new NVMe format. Five time less latency for you geeks and pricing is decent $600 for 512GB. If you can’t wait, the new Samsung 850 Pro uses a vertical NAND technology and isn’t bad. It’s a premium part at $320 for 512GB (wait did I just say that, I can’t believe how prices have come down).

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