The Best Gaming PC Build Under $500 Dollars
The Best Gaming PC Build Under $500 Dollars

If you're new to PC gaming, it can be tough to figure out where to start - I know it was for me.

However, if you're reading this right now, you've already taken the first major step: Deciding on a budget! If you're looking for the best gaming PC build under 500 dollars, you're in the right place.

With more and more demanding games just around the corner, you're going to need a PC that can tackle the most insane-looking games out there - even if it means tweaking the graphical settings a bit.

By the end of this article, you'll know exactly how to assemble an epic 500 dollar gaming PC that will stand the test of time.

And if you're new to PC building, don't fret - I'll have some resources you can check out that go over the entire process. It's super easy, trust me.

As always, you also have direct access to me via the comments on any of my articles. Just a drop a comment below and I'll get back to you ASAP!

For those of you with less time on your hands, here's a handy dandy navigation menu to make getting around easier. Everything is pretty self explanatory, for the most part.

Click Here To Go Straight To The Build!

Do You Need To Build Your Own Gaming PC?

Short answer - absolutely not.

Long answer? It depends.

While I highly recommend it, it's definitely not essential to getting into PC gaming. I used to be vehemently against buying pre built gaming PCs, but companies like CyberpowerPC have really warmed me to the idea - they provide awesome rigs that very closely match the performance of a custom build.

After considering the pros and cons of both sides of the discussion, I've realized something - not everybody wants to spend the time and effort on building their own gaming rig. More importantly, they may not even be able to do so.

This is something I completely understand. Heck, even if the entire process only took a few hours (It does), a lot of people have families and jobs that eat up a lot of their time. The last thing they want to do when they get time to relax is worry about assembling an entire rig!

Aside from that, no matter how much the process is simplified, it's still a very tech-y and hard to grasp process for a lot of folks. I understand that as well.

It's not for everyone, and it shouldn't be the only way to become a PC gamer.

So, at the end of the day, you absolutely do not need to build your own gaming PC if you'd rather go the pre built route.

In fact, if you scroll down to the bottom of this article, I recommend a few awesome pre built rigs to fit the $500 budget. Check it out!

Gaming PC Vs Gaming Laptop - Which Is Better?

​Whether you're going the pre built route or following the build guide outlined below, you may have asked yourself the following question at least once in the past -

"Should I buy a gaming laptop or PC?"

It's a valid question, but one that requires a bit more explanation.

If you're reading this article, chances are you've already settled on a desktop PC.

However, in case your mind isn't entirely made up yet (Or you aren't aware of the differences), let me quickly tell you why you should or should not get a gaming laptop vs a gaming pc.

You Should Buy/Build A Gaming Desktop If...

  • You don't do much traveling.
  • You're on a tighter budget.
  • You want the best bang for your buck.
  • You want to delve into VR gaming.
  • You also want to use your rig as a stationary work station in your office or bedroom.

As you can see, a gaming desktop is better suited towards those of you who don't do a lot of traveling (Either for work or for play), and really want to maximize your gaming performance per dollar spent.

If that doesn't describe you, read on.

You Should Buy A Gaming Laptop If...

  • You travel often - either for work or recreation.
  • Money isn't as much of a constraint.
  • Convenience is more important than value to you.
  • VR gaming isn't as important to you.
  • You don't intend to use it as a stationary workspace.

If convenience and the ability to game on the go are your biggest concerns, you'll definitely be covered with a good gaming laptop.

Having said that, if you still want a gaming laptop but don't want to shell out the $800-$900+ it would normally cost to get a similarly-performing laptop (To the pre built rigs listed at the bottom and the custom build right below this), that's also an option. Just bear in mind that it won't be as powerful.

If that is the case, here's a list of the 5 best gaming laptops under $500 dollars - courtesy of Bruce over at Laptop Reviews.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, my #1 recommendation is to either buy or build your own gaming PC - always.

Buying a gaming laptop should only be a consideration if the above list of descriptors 100% fit you - otherwise, in my opinion, it's a pretty big waste of money for what you're getting (Significantly less powerful parts for a signficantly higher price!).

If that doesn't convince you, here's 5 reasons you should build your own gaming PC.

Build The Best Budget Gaming PC Under $500 Dollars


In my opinion, being new to PC gaming and being on a tighter budget does not mean you should have to compromise on performance. Who wants to be stuck running games like Minecraft on LOW?

Not me.

Fortunately, you don't have to - this rig will easily be able to dominate just about any game coming out in 2017 with ease. You should easily be able to achieve high-ultra settings without any difficulties on most new games to be released this year. Granted, a $600 or $700 rig will offer you a bit more bang for your buck, but a $500 rig will perform perfectly fine on a tighter budget.

For many people, building a PC at all seems impossible, let alone trying to find parts that fit into a $500 dollar gaming PC budget.

But building a custom gaming computer for under $500 is significantly easier than it might seem at first.

Believe it or not, you can have a finished gaming rig on your desk in under 3 hours.

How To Build Your Own Gaming Computer

If this is your first PC building rodeo, there's a few important things you'll need to know. First, you'll need to know what tools you're going to need (Spoiler: Hardly anything), and you'll need to be able to set aside the proper amount of time for the build process.

Tools Of The Trade - What You'll Need

Second, you'll need to know how to assemble the actual PC! Don't worry - the process isn't nearly as complex as you might think. In fact, it's pretty simple! All it requires is a little time, patience.

Learn How To Build a Gaming PC

If you ever get confused about anything, feel free to drop me a line in the comments! 🙂


What Parts Should You Buy?


In order to build a budget gaming PC for 2017, you're going to need parts. Through my own research and personal experience, I've decided on the parts listed below - they offer a freaking awesome value, and will absolutely give the you best performance possible for a budget gaming PC under $500 dollars.

The important thing to note is that this is your build. Although the parts listed below are technically the best, personal preference always comes into play. If you don't like a certain brand for whatever reason, or you want to amp up the performance a bit and get, say, a stronger video card (As long as you're okay with the price increase that will come with that), go for it!

All the buttons & links below will take you to Amazon listings for the given parts/peripherals. While you are free to purchase from whomever you choose, I personally recommend Amazon for their outstanding return policies and prices.

Best Parts For A $500 Dollar Gaming PC

Last Updated: 5/30/2017

Intel I3 6100

CPU: Intel i3-6100

Zotac GTX 1050 Ti

GPU: Zotac GTX 1050 Ti

Case: Rosewill FBM-05

EVGA 500W 80+

Power Supply: EVGA 500B (500W)

Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 7200RPM

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue (1TB)

Kingston HyperX Fury Black 2X4GB

Memory: Kingston HyperX Fury Black 8GB (2x4GB)

ASUS H110

Motherboard: ASUS H110 (Micro ATX)

Samsung SH

Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB

Build Breakdown - In-Depth


Part-By-Part Analysis

Build Breakdown - Quick Overview


With the parts out of the way, let's quickly run through the entire build and go over why I made some of the decisions I did.

First of all, this build is simply amazing. If I had access to the parts we have access to now when I first got into PC gaming, I could have saved myself a lot of money and still kicked my beginner rigs' butt (To be fair, I had no idea what I was doing at the time - and there were far fewer resources like this one out there!).

If you were wondering how to build a gaming computer for under $500 dollars, this build is the way to go.

As stated earlier, you'll be wrecking new games in 2017 on medium-ultra settings easily, and you'll be setting yourself up​ for an awesome 2018 as well. While some parts will eventually need to be upgraded, this rig will do the trick for years to come.

With that said, let's face it - building a custom gaming PC for $500 is pretty difficult. Although our total price jumped just above $500, prices on Amazon are prone to fluctuation at any time.

I update them as frequently as I can, but it's important to note that the final price could be lower or higher when you read this.

Moving on, the first important thing to discuss is the video card. The Zotac GTX 1050 Ti is an amazing video card for the price, and it fits perfectly with the rest of our build. It's powerful, it's compact, and it won't break the bank.

Next up, for the CPU I chose the Intel i3-6100, because it's compatible with the rest of our parts, and it won't bottleneck our GTX 1050 Ti.

I didn't personally opt for an aftermarket case fan, mostly because I felt it wasn't necessary. But if you do want to buy a few, I have an article on the top 5 best computer case fans for 2017! Check it out.

In terms of memory, I chose 8GB because it's been the standard for quite some time, but I recommend grabbing 16GB if your budget allows for it.

Finally, the case I chose is the Cooler Master Elite 431 Plus. I went with this case because I love the design, it has plenty of airflow, and it fits our build perfectly. However, if you want to choose from a few different other cases, here's a list of my top 5 mid tower cases for gaming.

Alternatively, I also wrote an article on the top 5 micro ATX cases for gaming, if you prefer more compact cases.

The rest of the parts are less important if you're only real interest is the actual performance of the rig, so I won't go into details. Rest assured, though, that with 1TB of storage and awesome parts all around, you'll be able to not only download as many games as you want (Within reason), but easily run them - with solid FPS, to boot!

Best Budget Pre Built Gaming PC

If building your own gaming PC simply isn't your forte, not to worry - I've got you covered. As I mentioned at the top of this article, building your own gaming rig is not mandatory.

Not in the slightest.

Sure, you'll get better bang for your buck, but more and more pre built rigs that are coming out have been coming really close (Performance-wise) to what you can do with a custom build.

So what is the best budget pre built gaming PC? As promised, here's a few of the best options out there - listed from most powerful to slightly less powerful.

(The price difference is only $10-$50, so the performance difference is also pretty minute. However, I wanted to give as many options as possible for those on very tight budgets)

#1 - CyberpowerPC Gamer Ultra GUA3120A

Technical Specifications

  • CPU: AMD FX-4300
  • Motherboard: AMD 760G Chipset
  • Memory: 8GB DDR3
  • Storage: 1TB HDD
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Video Card: Nvidia GeForce GT720 (1GB VRAM)
  • Keyboard & Mouse: Generic $20 keyboard/mouse combo

Details

For a cheap gaming pc right around $500, it's really tough to beat the CyberpowerPC GUA3120A. I wrote a full review on it already, and I really do like this machine.

While it's slightly less powerful than our custom build up above, it comes close enough to make it worth seriously considering - especially when you factor in the free Windows 10 copy, as well as the mouse and keyboard.

This rig is powerful enough to get you playing modern games on low-medium settings pretty consistently, and slightly older games (2-4 years) on medium-high easily - all at a pretty smooth 50-60+ FPS.

Naturally, you won't be cranking out next-gen titles at 140+ FPS, nor will you be dominating the VR scene, but not even a custom built $500 PC can reach that level.

Plus, let's be honest - the color scheme is freaking awesome, and the case looks just as good. You could do a lot worse!​

#2 – CyberpowerPC Gamer Ultra GUA882

Technical Specifications

  • CPU: AMD FX-4300
  • Motherboard: AMD 760G Chipset
  • Memory: 8GB DDR3
  • Storage: 1TB HDD
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Video Card: AMD R7 240 2GB
  • Keyboard & Mouse: Generic $20 keyboard/mouse combo

Details

If your budget is just under $500, the GUA882 is an excellent choice. It has an R7 240 rather than a 250, making it a bit less powerful than the R7 250, but a bit more powerful than the GT 720 in the pre built rig listed below.

You should be able to run most of the same games as the GUA3120A at roughly the same settings, but you may have to tweak things like texture quality, shadow quality, or antialiasing a bit to get the same FPS.

The performance difference between these two cards, as you can probably tell, is not massive - but it might be enough to make saving or spending that extra $10-$20 worth it.

Here's a GPUBoss report comparing the two video cards.

One awesome thing about this rig is the ridiculously cool case they went with - there's a huge, beautiful side panel, and a futuristic case design on a whole. I love it.

​There's not many reviews on Amazon yet (It seems to be a fairly new product), so if other customer feedback is your top priority, I'd consider the GUA880 instead (Assuming your budget is lower). As I stated above, the performance difference is pretty small.

#3 - CyberpowerPC Gamer Ultra GUA880

Technical Specifications

  • CPU: AMD FX-4300
  • Motherboard: AMD 760G Chipset
  • Memory: 8GB DDR3
  • Storage: 1TB HDD
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Video Card: Nvidia GeForce GT720 (1GB VRAM)
  • Keyboard & Mouse: Generic $20 keyboard/mouse combo

Details

If your budget is even tighter, you might opt for the GUA880 instead! It's a little closer to $480, but that does (Unfortunately) come with a bit of a performance decrease.

Still, you should be able to run fairly modern games on low settings with pretty decent FPS (At least 50+ FPS consistently). Naturally, that means older games will run even better (Games like Skyrim the original Dishonored, and most games released in the past 2-4 years)

This rig has the same operating system, keyboard, and mouse as the GUA3120A, but the blue case LEDs and case aesthetic in general are quite a bit different.

If you're a fan of more minimalist, simplistic cases, you'll probably like this case better.

Other Important Extras

Naturally, you're going to need more than the rig itself to use your computer. You're going to need a few extra (Far cheaper) components, but which ones you get are up to you.

At the end of the day, you'll need the following:

  • A Mouse
  • A Keyboard
  • A Monitor
  • Some way to connect to the internet
  • An Operating System

If you went with a pre-built rig, you only really need a monitor - however, if you wanted to upgrade the included mouse and keyboard, it's still worth reading this section.

Most of these essentials can be picked up pretty cheaply. In fact, you probably already have some of them lying around the house - I know I had plenty of old mice and internet adapters when I first started out.

When you're just beginning in PC gaming, there's really no reason for you to splurge on top-tier peripherals - the most important thing is that you have a functioning PC!

That being said, here are a few of the better (Cheaper) options I could find through my own research and personal testing.

Windows 10 64 Bit

Operating System: Windows 10 64-bit

Again, these are simply my personal recommendations - I haven't used every single monitor, keyboard, and WiFi adapter out there, so if there's a brand or model you prefer more than the ones listed above, go for it! It's your build, not mine. 🙂

If these peripherals are a bit too pricey for you at the moment, just remember that you don't have to buy your entire build right away. Most PC gamers (Myself included) buy parts over time, and hold onto them until they're ready.

By the way - If you're looking for the absolute best budget monitors out there, I wrote a list of the top 10 best gaming monitors under $300 - it has pros, cons, and plenty of details for each pick, so go check it out!

To that end, feel free to bookmark this page and refer back to it as you start to acquire the full build!

Congratulations!


Whether you've finished this build, bought a gaming laptop, or bought a pre built gaming PC, congratulations are in order.

You're taking the first steps towards building your own custom gaming rig for 2017 - and it's going to kick some serious butt!

On top of that, as VR technology becomes more and more optimized, this build may even be able to handle some of the less demanding VR games on the market in the next couple years! How cool would that be?

As always, thanks for reading! I encourage you to drop me a line in the comments box below if you have any questions. I'll be happy to answer them!

Questions or concerns? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Leave a Comment