Best Gaming PC Builds Under $500 (2020 Guide)

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When looking for the best cheap gaming PC  build under $500, we researched for hours, coming up with all manner of different cheap builds that would make awesome PCs.

There are so many different builds out there, that it can seriously feel overwhelming at times.

We wanted make awesome builds for you to choose from, so we kept on researching and testing builds.

In the end, due to the popularity of $500 PCs, we decided to make two builds in this post. One will be a compact build that has an awesome form factor and the other one will be a PC that can be upgraded easily in the future.

If you would like to check out other builds we have created at different price points check out our full list of gaming PC builds here.

We also have an even more in-depth article discussing PC builds ranging from $200-600, and included a unique upgrade path that isn’t normally discussed. See our new article about our cheap gaming PCs here.

Each of these builds will be fully functional, produce awesome results, and have amazing value. These builds will blow any pre-built gaming PCs in the price range out of the water. We are very excited to share this information, so without further ado, let’s jump right in.

Comparison of the Best Gaming PC Builds Under $500

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • 3 year warranty
  • Vertical or horizontal motherboard installation
  • Premium grade cable managemnt system
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  • 3 year warranty
  • Built with heavy duty protection
  • 500W compact design
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  • 1250MHz boost clock
  • 2048 stream processors
  • 4GB 256-bit GDDR5
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  • Radeon Vega 8 graphics
  • 2667 MHz memory speed
  • Built-in 4 cores unlocked
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  • Fitted with premium grade audio capacitors
  • Supports multiple RGB LED strips
  • Compatible with AMD 1st/2nd gen Ryzen
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  • Data rate of 2400MHz
  • Dual in-line memory module
  • Lifetime warranty
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  • Acronis True Image cloning software
  • 2 year warranty
  • 2+TB cpacities
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Things You Need To Build A PC

  1. Screwdriver
  2. (Optional) Static Wrist Band
  3. Some Guidance

Building a gaming PC doesn’t require a lot. As long as you follow the advice and ask any questions, everything will go great!

How To Build A PC

Here is an awesome reference video you can use when putting together one of these builds. The video is very easy to follow and to the point. 

Building a PC can seem like a daunting task, but there really is no reason to be hesitant, as building a PC really is all about following instructions and taking your time. No one is going to be rushing you to build this PC, so take your time and do it right.

Cheap Gaming PC BUILD #1: The Under $500 Console Killer Gaming PC Build

This is the cheapest build of the two, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this build is bad because that is the furthest thing from the truth. If you love small compact PCs that you can put on your desk or use in a dorm with a small amount of space, then this is the build we would recommend.

This build is a Micro-ATX build, which means it will be small and compact, so it is also a very portable PC, but will still pack a punch.

With this build, you will easily be playing on high settings on most modern games and even with graphically demanding games such as Fortnite, The Witcher 3, and Apex Legends should play on a mix of medium and high settings.

This build will blow any Xbox One or PS4 out of the water and really lets you experience the fun that is PC gaming at a comparable price of a console.

Now that you know what this build is capable of, let’s show you what components you’ll need:

The Build

Case - Thermaltake Core V21 Micro ATX Cube

Premium Micro-ATX Case, Great Airflow

Thermaltake Core V21 SPCC Micro ATX Cube...

Power Supply - EVGA 500 Watts

Great Stable Power Supply For An Affordable Price

EVGA 500 W1, 80+ WHITE 500W, 3 Year...

Graphics Card/GPU - PowerColor Radeon RX 570 4 GB

4 GB Video Card, Great Budget Video Card

SALEPowerColor Red Dragon Radeon RX 570 AXRX...

CPU - AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

Quad-Core Processor, Very Affordable

AMD Ryzen 3 2200G Processor with Radeon...

Motherboard - Gigabyte B450M M-ATX

Great Affordable MATX Motherboard For An 7th Generation Intel Processor

Gigabyte B450M DS3H (AMD Ryzen...

RAM - Patriot Signature Line 8GB

Two 4 GB Sticks Of DDR4 RAM, Very Affordable

Patriot Signature Line 8GB (2 x 4GB)...

Hard Drive - WD Blue 1TB

A Very Reliable Hard Drive, 7200RPM

WD Blue 1TB PC Hard Drive - 7200 RPM...

» Save These Components On Amazon

Build Breakdown

Thermaltake Core V21 SPCC Micro ATX Cube Computer Chassis CA-1D5-00S1WN-00,Black

The Thermaltake Core V21 is an excellent cheap Micro-ATX case. This case is probably one of the most portable cases around, and if you are looking for the most mobile case you can find, then this is it. It also has a nice-looking design with a slick black finish, making it even more appealing.

In addition, it has clear sides to show your build in all its glory! Not to mention this case also comes with a fan already installed which will make your PC even cooler. It’s especially useful with this build due to the pretty demanding video card.

That being said, we understand if you would rather have another case other than the Thermaltake Core V21, due to personal preferences, just make sure whatever you pick will work with this build.

Best Power Supply:
EVGA 500 W1

EVGA 500W 80PLUS Certified ATX12V/EPS12V Power Supply 100-W1-0500-KR

EVGA is a brand respected by many and is known to make the most high-quality power supplies around. There isn’t much to say about the power supply, except that it’s awesome and has enough power for anything this build can throw at it and then some. Just know that with this 500W power supply, you are getting power and quality all in one.

Best Video Card:

In the past, getting any decent gaming rig on a budget of $500 was almost impossible, However, due to prices falling you now have the opportunity to game at even higher levels at an amazingly affordable price.

The ZOTAC 1050 is one of the best entry-level 1080p graphics cards on the market and is the component that makes or breaks this build. So we want to be anything but cheap here! Video cards are super-important and at this price point, even more so.

Your video card choice can make or break your build, so we chose a powerful GPU that can run most games on high settings, but still not break your budget. With this in mind, we chose the ZOTAC 1050.

The ZOTAC 1050 has many different variables, but the one we picked has silent fans and is also super -locked. When playing your games, you will hardly hear your PC, as it will be very silent.  With the 1050, you will have the capability to play most newer games on high settings and older games at ultra settings!

If something as cutting-edge as the ZOTAC 1050, doesn’t excite you, with the performance per price ratio, we don’t know what will.

Best Processor:

For the price point, the Intel Pentium 4600 really impresses. If the video card is the heart of the PC, then the processor is the brain. Without an awesome processor it doesn’t matter how good your PC is, it will still struggle to process things and that’s where the 4600 comes in. This, coupled with the 1050, will allow you to run most modern games on high settings.

One of the biggest problems people seem to have with dual-core processors is the fact that more and more games are requiring more than two processors. Intel combats this by utilizing hyperthreading which just means that a dual-core processor, such as the Pentium 4600, can efficiently play games that require multiple cores.

Best Motherboard:

This motherboard may not expensive, but don’t let the price fool you, this MSI B250 Micro-ATX motherboard is amazing. ASUS is a renowned motherboard maker for high quality at low prices, and this motherboard doesn’t disappoint.

The motherboard is like a vital hub, that runs everything, and having a good motherboard is borderline essential. You also get MSI’s amazing BIOS which makes fine-tuning your gaming experience very accessible. With this MSI B250 motherboard, you are getting an easy to install motherboard that exceeds expectations.

Best RAM:

Random Access Memory (RAM) is vital to any PC and having 8 GBs is now vital to PC gaming. As games become bigger, they need more memory to be able to run, and even though this is a budget build, we made sure to include 8 GBs of RAM.

The RAM for this build was the Crucial Ballistix Sport 8 GB kit. This RAM by Crucial has to be the best bang for your buck around. There isn’t much to say about RAM except that you need it, and Crucial’s RAM has stood the test of time to become one of the best RAM manufacturers you can buy from.

Best Hard Drive:

With this build, we have decided to include the 1TB hard drive by Western Digital. One TB of space makes this gaming PC build all the better, as it can store even the biggest games simultaneously and still have space to spare.

You can always get less hard drive space, but if you intend to build a PC that will last you years, then we recommend 1TB, unless you are a fan of deleting games right after you play them.

We picked Western Digital because of their amazing, quality hard drives, they've produced over the years. People rarely have an issue with these hard drives, and even if they did, they offer returns and quickly rectify customer issues.

Best (Optional) CD Drive:

The CD drive is optional and is not included in the total because you do not need a CD drive anymore, as most things are digital nowadays. The one reason most people seem to think they need a CD drive is that they use it to install their operating system, but they could also just use a USB drive.

If you want one, you can add one on but if the only thing you are going to use it for is installing an OS then you can go the USB route.

Either way, the ASUS CD drive is cheap and gets the job done. It’s not the best CD Drive out there, but is one of the most affordable and we use it in many of our builds.

Gaming PC Build #1 Conclusion

The build above is the cheapest out of the two, but honestly, it is an awesome build that any first-time PC gamer would appreciate. This build is very future-proof and will last you for a good amount of time before you even have to think of upgrading.

If you love small, compact builds that don’t take up a lot of space, but still play most games at high settings, this is the build for you. The price may be cheap, but the performance isn’t.

Cheap Gaming PC build #2 – The Upgradeable Gaming PC

The first build was a Micro-ATX build, that was very small and compact. While that build was small, it still packs a huge punch, and is definitely worth every penny. Its major strength is its amazing, compact design, perfect for someone who lives in small areas and someone on a budget under $500.

This PC, on the other hand, will be a little more expensive, but is very upgradeable in the future. What we mean by upgradeable is that you can take this PC to the next level by changing out a few components down the road. The whole thought process with this build is that you are planning to upgrade, so unlike the other builds, this PC will be bigger and more spacious to allow for more powerful graphics cards in the future.

The Build

Case - Corsair Carbide SPEC-04

Great Case With A Lot Of Space For Upgrades

CORSAIR Carbide SPEC-04 Mid-Tower Gaming...

Power Supply - EVGA 500 Watts

A Great, Cheap Power Supply For Those On A Budget

EVGA 500 W1, 80+ WHITE 500W, 3 Year...

Graphics Card/GPU - PowerColor RX 570 4GB

Great 4 GB 1080 Video Card For The Price!

PowerColor Red Dragon Radeon RX 570 AXRX...

CPU - AMD Ryzen 3 2200G Processor

One of the Best Budget Processors At The Moment

AMD Ryzen 3 2200G Processor with Radeon...

Motherboard - ASRock M-ATX B450M

Great B450M DDR4 Micro-ATX Motherboard

ASRock MicroATX Motherboard (B450M-HDV)

RAM - Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GBs

Cheap, Efficient DDR4 RAM

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2x8 GB) DDR4...

Hard Drive - WD Blue 1 TB

A Very Reliable Hard Drive, 7200RPM

WD Blue 1TB PC Hard Drive - 7200 RPM...

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Build Breakdown

Best Case:

Since the theme of this build is having a very upgradeable PC, we went with a larger case that could easily house any of the bigger graphics cards if you upgraded in the future. This case not only looks awesome but meets all the requirements for a case.

The Vivo ATX Mid Tower case is not only stylish but also a very affordable case. You also get USB 3.0s, which are awesome, as they charge faster than 2.0s.  Honestly, what more can you want from a case other than style, function, and affordability? The Vivo ATX Mid Tower meets all of these points, so is a great choice.

We understand that some people may not want this case and instead would rather get another case, so we've included a link to other cases that would fit your preferences (remember PC building is all about choice!)

Best Power Supply:
EVGA 500 Watts

EVGA 500W 80PLUS Certified ATX12V/EPS12V Power Supply 100-W1-0500-KR

Again, we have the EVGA 500 watts power supply, simply because of them making some of the best power supplies money can buy and also some of the most affordable. 500 watts is more than enough for this build and you can easily upgrade to more when the time comes.

PowerColor VGA - AXRX 570 4GBD5-3DHD/OC

Now we’ve come to the MVP of the gaming build, the Radeon RX 570. This card is not only beautiful, but also (like the name entails), silent. This card by itself can play most games on high settings, yep, even at this price point, you can play most modern games on high settings with this card. That’s not to say there are some games that will be on high due to their graphically intense nature, but overall this card is amazing for the price.

The RX 570 is also a pretty beautiful piece when it comes to overclocking, which pushes the performance even more, especially in open world games such as Skyrim or Fallout 4, making your experience that much better.

The RX 570 is also over-clocked, which means it already comes running at max performance so you get every ounce of performance. For someone on a $500 budget, this is the only GPU we recommend.

Best Processor:
AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

AMD Ryzen 3 2200G Processor with Radeon Vega 8 Graphics - YD2200C5FBBOX

This is an awesome CPU that meets every requirement while still remaining on a budget. The AMD Ryzen 3 2200 quad core processor is the best budget processor out.

For around $80, you’re getting something that can process most games at a very high level.

Best Motherboard:
ASRock M-ATX B450M

ASRock MicroATX Motherboard (B450M-HDV)

The ASRock MATX motherboard does what it needs to do without any issues, and that’s all you really need out of a motherboard at this price range.  The manufacturer is ASRock, as they make some of the best motherboards you can get when you are a gamer. This motherboard is completely compatible with the Ryzen 3’s processors right out of the box. You also get ASRock’s great BIOS, which makes customizing your gaming experience a breeze.

With so much going for it, the ASRock B450M is easily one of our favorite motherboards for someone on a budget.

Patriot Signature Line 8GB (2 x 4GB) 288-Pin DDR4 PC4-19200 2400MHz Memory Module Kit PSD48G2400K

This build has two sticks of 8 GB RAM, which makes 16 GBs. We’ve stressed the importance of just getting a minimum of 8 GBs of RAM due to the rising demand from games. One example of this is the famed GTA 5. GTA 5 on high/ultra setting can use around 3 GBs of RAM on high settings, which would mean that in order to play  GTA 5, you would have to close everything out and remain on lower settings than your system can handle.

This build features double that at such an affordable price! This is enough RAM to play a game and have other applications running at the same time. This makes it an amazing build for streamers.

The reason why we chose two 8 GB sticks instead of one 16 GB stick is simple. It manages memory much more efficiently when you use different panels instead of just using one channel. An example would be like having two wells vs. one well, even if they both have the same amount of water, the two wells will get water faster due to the different channels.

Best Hard Drive:
WD Blue 1TB

Western Digital 1TB WD Blue PC Hard Drive - 7200 RPM Class, SATA 6 Gb/s, , 64 MB Cache, 3.5' - WD10EZEX

The hard drive is from Western Digital, due to them having awesome hard drives that barely ever have any issues and also because of the awesome speed this hard drive provides. Not to mention, it has a very affordable price for what you are getting.

Best (Optional) CD Drive:

Now, a CD drive isn’t included in the build because most people only use it to install the OS and that seemed to be just another cost you could really just ignore. There are many ways to get an OS, so there really is no point.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get it. however. If you like to watch Blu-Ray disc movies or other things, then by all means, it’s up to you. That’s why building PCs is great. We all get to make our own choices when building them.

Gaming PC BUILD # 2 CONCLUSION

All in all, this is an awesome build that will really push out some amazing performance. With this, you won't need to upgrade for a good deal of time. When you do upgrade, however, there will be plenty of space to use and you can slowly build this up to an amazing PC that runs all games on ultra 1080p 60 fps with no issues. As the build is now, it can run most games on high-ultra settings, but as time goes on, it will need to be upgraded..

Recommended Peripherals

This is really the best entry-level 1080 monitor out there. You’re getting brand quality with Acer, but also some amazing value for the price.  You also get a great deal of customizable features so you can find what works for you. Really, if you’re looking for a budget monitor, there really aren’t any others that can compete with this.

Recommended Keyboard and Mouse: Redragon S101 Combo

Redragon S101 Wired Gaming Keyboard and Mouse Combo RGB Backlit Gaming Keyboard with Multimedia Keys Wrist Rest and Red Backlit Gaming Mouse 3200 DPI for Windows PC Gamers (Black)

  • PC GAMING KEYBOARD AND GAMING MOUSE COMBO: Includes Redragon RGB Backlit Computer Gaming...
  • RGB BACKLIT GAMING KEYBOARD; 7 different RGB Lighting modes & effects, 4 backlight brightness...

The Redragon S101 combo has to be one of our favorite gaming keyboard and mouse combo sets on a budget. This keyboard and mouse were made specifically for gamers, which allows for more customization features to get that competitive edge when playing games. The keyboard and mouse are LED lit, which is awesome as it allows you to see your keys, even in the dark. At this price-point, it is a steal and that’s one of the reasons whyit is included in this list. This combo also comes in different colors, which makes it even cooler!

Mpow Eg3 Gaming Headset PC PS4 USB Gaming Headset,7.1Surround Sound, Soft Imitation Protein Earmuff, Multiple Sound Modes Gaming Headphones with Noise Cancelling Mic 50mm Drivers LED Light Born for PC

  • 7 1 surround sound for gaming -- Locate your enemy easily with MPOW EG3 gaming headset 7 1...
  • Personalized equalizer setting (PC only) -- MPOW Gaming headset will give you better music and...

Recommended Headset: MPOW EG3  Gaming Headset

The looks of these headphones alone are really awesome, but that’s not even the best part about this set. Not only are you going to be getting some headphones with an amazing design, but they also sound great, as well. With noise cancellation, an awesome mic braided cord, and stunning surround sounds, what else could a gamer want out of this headset? If you are a gamer looking to get an awesome pair of headphones on a budget, there is simply no reason not to give a look at these. They seriously met our expectations and then some.

Operating System Options

Okay, it’s now time to talk a little about operating systems. It’s very easy to overlook them when building a PC, but they are really important because these are what your PC operates on.

There are many operating systems out there, but being realistic, most people are only going to use a few, so we're going to talk about the two biggest operating systems out there and give you our thoughts.

(Ubuntu) Linux

With Linux, the majority of you might not have even heard about this, but it is a popular free software that can be downloaded for free. Linux is used for many reasons, but the main reason most people use Linux is because they want more freedom on their PC.

You see, most of the big operating systems are owned by big corporations and are mainstream, so they are designed to be very simple and easy to use. Linux on the other hand, was designed for the more tech-savvy crowd.  We recommend Linux if you want to try something different and also don’t want to pay for an IOS. (You can always just switch to Windows whenever you’ve saved up the funds if you would rather have that.)


Windows

Most people know what Windows is and are more than comfortable with using it, but you may not know that the Windows OS costs money. 

Other than that, Windows is an awesome OS that has withstood the test of time and to be honest, is probably going to be the main choice for anyone who wants to PC game due to most triple-A games not even supporting Linux at the moment. (Although this is slowly changing due to the Steam OS)

What Version Of Windows?

If you’re looking to get the most out of your gaming PC, then get Windows 10. Windows 10 is what all PC game developers are optimizing for, which means you’ll get the most optimized experience when gaming. This means getting more out of your gaming PC and ultimately leads to more enjoyment. With Windows 10’s recent updates, the OS is starting to rival and even outshine Windows 7 in a lot of ways!

Windows 7 will always hold a special place for being such a great OS, but games will perform better on Windows 10, making this a no-brainier at this point.

Conclusion

We really hope one of these two builds has helped you out. Both of these builds are capable of running most games on high settings at 1080p 60 fps and should be able to dominate most titles that come out.  Anyone who gets either of these builds will be pleased, so have fun with it!

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