If you’re looking for a cheap gaming PC for under $500, don’t go anywhere. We’ve got an excellent Intel LGA 1151 PC build here with a lot of different possible variations.
The PC you see here will deliver performance an $800 PC could barely do just a few years ago.
You’ll be able to run all e-sports at 60 FPS on max settings easily with out build. Games like PUBG, Fortnite, Rocket League, GTA V, and Overwatch as well as most AAA titles should run well on this build as well.
It destroys all the consoles in terms of performance — the ancient Radeon graphics unit on the Xbox 1 and PS4 don’t even come close.
What Do We Look For in a PC?
This is a budget build, so we didn’t have the privilege of being able to pick and choose our favorite parts while disregarding price.
At this price range, optimizing the build for the highest possible in game FPS is our most important task as performance is much more of a problem for budget PCs than mid-range of high-end PCs.
We filtered out dozens of individual components for every category in order to find those with the best price to performance ratios, while at the same time leaving out specific models that have bad reliability records.
A lot of people build a totally new PC every few years, but many others will incrementally upgrade their PC with new parts to keep away obsolesce without burning a massive hole in their wallet. This is why we always make our builds upgradable.
Our Gaming PC for Under $500
|$480 - $520|
No set price as pricing of components changes day to day *
Intel i3 8100
A very basic and affordable two-core CPU running at 3.9 GHz.
ASUS STRIX RX 570 4GB
Problaby the best budget GPU you can fit in a $500 budget.
MSI Pro Series Intel H310 VD
This budget Micro ATX motherboard will provide everything you need for this build for an affordable price.
CORSAIR Vengeance LPX 8GB
We were only able to fit 8 GB of RAM in our budget, but you add another stick in the future to double both speed and capacity.
WD Blue 1TB SATA 7200 RPM 3.5"
One terabyte of reliable hard drive storage from the most popular consumer PC hard drive.
EVGA 500 BQ 80+ Bronze
This 80+ Bronze rated 500W EVGA power supply will provide more than enough power for all your components.
ROSEWILL Micro ATX Mini Tower
An affordable and small Micro ATX case that has an acrylic window on the side!
This product will likely go a little over-budget, but not to the point where it should cause any issues with your budget. However, if you budget is truly capped at $500 with zero wiggle room, scroll down to the bottom of the page to find ways of switching components to reduce the price of this build.
The Intel i5 8100 is a deceivingly good CPU. Despite it’s namesake of just being and “i3”, it has the same amount of cores as the previous 7th gen i5 7500 (4 cores) and is also virtually identical to the i5 7500 in performance.
A lot of PC builders recommend allocating around 40% of your total budget to your graphics card for any given gaming PC build. There is a logic behind this type of thinking, as the graphics card is the most important component in the gaming PC. However, this is something that you can’t really do at the lower end of the budget spectrum without making unjustifiable compromises in other areas of the computer.
The RX 570 costs around 30% of our $500 budget, which I think is the sweet-spot of what you should be spending on a GPU at all budgets.
This ASUS RX 570 is also a pretty good value for it’s price, being over 20% cheaper than the RX 580 while only being ~15% worse in performance.
Designed for high performance overclocking, the Vengeance LPX is a good piece of RAM. It’s the exact same RAM that we use in our high end PC builds (Though the $1,500 and $2,000 builds use the quicker 3000MHz version). We decided to include one stick of 8GB ram instead of two 4GB sticks because:
- It costs less
- It allows you to add in another RAM stick in the future
However, using only one RAM stick means that your memory will be slower due to you only utilizing only one channel.
8 GB is definitely enough memory for a $500 build today, but the ability to easily double your RAM capacity in the future is a great way to futureproof your computer.
This is basically the same motherboard we use on our $1000 build guide. It’s ugly looking and doesn’t have the wide array of ports and connects a full sized ATX motherboard would have, but it does everything it needs to do for this build well.
The motherboard does not affect the performance of your other components at all — whether it’s the CPU, GPU, RAM, storage, or anything else — so it’s the last thing you should spend a lot of money on unless you have a very large budget.
This component is not officially in this build guide!
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to officially include an SSD in this build guide, as it would make the build almost 50 dollars over-budget. However, we still highly highly recommend spending the extra 25 bucks or so and get yourself a cheap SSD.
The overall experience with you PC will be so much better with Windows OS and your main applications on the SSD as solid state drive load times at around ten times faster than that of hard drives.
Because of budget constraints, we were only able to include a single 1TB WD Blue drive in this under $500 PC build.
It’s a fairly reliable hard drive for it’s price, and it’s our favorite budget hard drive.
500W of power should be much more than enough for your system as this build will only pull 300W at it’s peak power consumption.
If you’ve been on other webpages that showed $500 gaming PC builds, they might’ve also recommend the ROSEWILL FBM-X1 case. It’s no coincidence — it’s a really good case for it’s price. It has a stylish design and an acrylic panel that covers it’s entire left side.
Note that the FBM-X1 is a Micro ATX form factor case. If you aren’t using the Micro ATX motherboard in this guide, instead opting for a full sized ATX motherboard, you’ll to get a larger full-sized ATX case.
Upgrade Options for this Build
Options to Reduce the Cost of Build
We did a little false-advertising here for this guide, as we usually do.
So it's only far that we give you some different component options so you can keep the cost below $1000 or possibly even $900.
Though the components inside your PC are by far the most important for your gaming experience, you still have to put some though into what your peripherals are, even for an ultra low-budget PC like this one.
Here are some recommended peripheral options that we tailored just for this $500 build.
1080P - Acer SB220Q
1080 x 1920 | 75 Hz | 21.5" | 4ms | HDMI | VGA
The SB220Q is the best budget 1080P gaming monitor for sale right now. Being released recently in Q2 2018 and built by a reputable manufacturer, the SB220Q is not some old model that sellers are trying to liquidates
It has a refresh rate of 75 Hz with HDMI and the AMD FreeSync, with will work with the RX 570 in this build or all other Raadeon cards to reduce screen tearing in games.
It does not have built in speakers.
1080P - Sceptre E248W
1920 x 1080 | 75 Hz | 23.8" | 4ms | HDMI | Display Port
If you like the idea of having a slightly larger 1080P monitor that still is very affordable, this monitor is a good choice. The Sceptre E248W doesn't have Free-Sync, but it still has a 75 Hz refresh rate with HDMI and has the same thin-bezel design the previous monitor has.
It also has built in speakers, so you don't need to buy dedicated speakers if you are fine with the weak built-in speakers.
Fans - ARCTIC F12 Standard
120mm | 1350 RPM |Max. Airflow 74 CFM | 5-12 V
The ARCTIC F12 Standard is a good quality budget airflow fan. You could get working PC fans for even cheaper, but they would likely be loud and have poor quality.
Keyboard - Redragon K552 Mechanical
Mechanical | RED LED | Cherry Blue Equivalent Switches| 87 Keys | Compact
You probably aren't expecting to get a mechanical keyboard if your budget for a PC is this low. This Redragon keyboard doesn't look fancy or have a bunch of keys, but it's a legit mechanical keyboard that costs about as much as a cheap membrane keyboard.
Mouse - Logitech G203 Prodigy RGB
6000 DPI | RGB | Wired | 2 Custom Buttons
The Logitech G203 is a solid performing budget gaming mouse. It's one of the best cheap gaming mice, as it performs pretty close to most $40-$50 mice from companies like Logitech and Razer.
Compared to more expensive mice, it just lacks extra features like 10k+ DPI and a bunch of extra buttons -- not any core functionality.
Headset - Logitech G430
A great Logitech budget headset with good sound quality and comfort.
Speakers - Logitech S120 2.0 Stereo Speakers
Here is a very cheap set of PC stereo speakers that should work as you PC speakers if your monitor doesn't have any built-in speakers. Obviously not a good speaker, but very good value.
Operating System - Windows 10
Buying a Windows 10 key the proper way is pretty expensive, but there's ways you can save a lot of money and achieve the same result.
You can go on reseller sites, the most well known of which is Kinguin, and snatch a key for around $30, 1/3 of what an official key would cost.
Or you can just literally just not use a key, since Microsoft actually allows you to install Windows 10 without a key. You will just have a permanent watermark on the bottom right of your screen and limited ability to customize colors and backgrounds in Windows.
Building Your PC - Putting it All Together
Building your first PC probably seems like a daunting task -- it certainly did for me when I built my first one -- but it's fairly easy these days because there's just so many resources on the internet on how to build gaming PCs.
We I recommend is that you watch a ton of PC building guides on Youtube while your're waiting for your parts to arrive. This you'll be more ready to put your components together when they do arrive and you'll lower your risk of failing or damaging your fragile components.
This video is fairly short for a PC building guide, but it's a great way to start to get familiar with the PC building process.