The Best Cheap Gaming PC Build For Under $500

In $400-$800, Custom Builds by Branton459 Comments

cheap 500 dollar gaming pc build

Looking to build yourself the best possible gaming PC for $500? This one is it! With a brand new i3 7100, a GTX 1050 Ti, 8GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, you’ll be gaming at 60fps in 1080p in the majority of AAA games!

If you were to go into any store and spend around $500 on a desktop, you’re going to walk away with a hunk of junk that struggles to run Solitaire in 720p, let alone any game that you’re actually planning on playing. But, building your own gaming PC will set you up with something with wayyyy more gaming potential, and plus, you can say “I built that.”

Keep in mind that the price listed below is only for the tower itself, and you will still need a keyboard, mouse, monitor, some kind of audio and an operating system to make it complete.

That’s about all you’re going to need, seriously. If this is the first gaming computer you’ve ever built, it might seem like a daunting process that only an expert could complete, but you would be wrong. Building your own gaming PC couldn’t be easier, and there are a ton of concise guides out there that will walk you through the process.

If you’re still thinking that it’s a super-difficult process, just click (or tap) below, skim through the video, and then you’ll know for sure.

Here are the basic steps that I follow when building:
  1. Install the Power Supply into the Case
  2. Install the processor (make sure the arrows line up)
  3. Install RAM (make sure they are in the right way before you try to seat them!)
  4. Mount the CPU cooler
  5. Place the rear I/O plate
  6. Mount the motherboard to the case (get your i/o ports through and use the middle standoff as a guide)
  7. Plug your GPU in
  8. Install any storage
  9. Plug everything into the appropriate spots
  10. Turn it on / Install OS & drivers!

Video Walkthrough

Instead of me typing out a ton of of words to explain this process, why not watch this video put together by EasyPCbuilder.com? He does a great job of explaining everything in detail, and is going to get you running in 30 minutes.

Keep in mind that it’s not the exact same build, but the process is really similar. There’s really only 1 way to do things, and it’s pretty hard to mess anything up if you’re being careful.

Cheap Gaming PC Build for $500

Updated: February 16th, 2017

  • VIVO V02

    mATX tower, comes with 2 fans, front USB 3.0 & 3.5mm audio jacks.
    View

  • MSI B250M Pro-VD

    LGA 1151 socket, B250 chipset, integrated ethernet controller and basic audio. 6 USB ports.
    View

  • Intel i3 7100

    “Kaby Lake” 3.9GHz dual-core processor with hyper-threading. Comes with a CPU cooler.
    View

  • Zotac GTX 1050 Ti Mini

    4GB GDDR5, very strong 1080p performance. HDMI, DVI-I, and DisplayPort outputs.
    View

  • EVGA 500 BQ

    500W, 85% efficiency, 3-year warranty.
    View

  • Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 RAM

    1x 8GB stick, 2400Mhz, CL16. Adding more RAM is definitely an option!
    View

  • Seagate BarraCuda 1TB HDD

    3.5 inch, 7200 RPM, 64MB cache, quiet & reliable!
    View

Estimated
$0
At Amazon
Order This Build!

Potential Upgrades

Add-ons like SSDs and optical drives are by no means necessary, but they may give you a better experience. If you’re planning on installing your OS from a disc instead of a USB flash drive then you’ll definitely need an optical drive.

  • 120GB PNY CS1311 SSD

    Up to 90,000 IOPS read and write. An SSD is the single best upgrade to make your PC feel faster but it won’t increase FPS in games.
    View

  • Samsung Ultra-Slim External CD DVD±R/RW

    External optical drives are quickly becoming the standard over their internally mounted counterparts, and it’s easy to see why! This one is definitely one of the cheaper & better options to consider.
    View

Details

For right around $500, this budget-level gaming PC is going to get you into modern games and playing them on mid-high settings pushing 60fps or better. Some games are still going to give this build some issues at the highest settings, but it’s still going to outperform next-gen consoles by a lot!

Keep in mind that the price above is for the core components only, you will still need an operating system, and any other peripherals you don’t currently have.

This budget build will run games like Rust, Fallout 4, ARK, GTA and pretty much anything else on high settings or better while getting great performance! Less graphically intensive games like CS:GO, DOTA, LoL, or anything along those lines, will all run well above 100fps.

vivo-v02VIVO’s V02 case is a very decent mATX-sized case that’ll easily fit everything in this build and then some. It comes with 2 fans but has room to mount a total of 5, not that you would need that many in a build like this.  There are no optical drive bays on this tower and to read/write discs you’ll need an external ODD like you’ll see listed under the “Potential Upgrades” section. Keep in mind that there are tons of choices when it comes to cases and you should definitely shop around for one that you really like! Don’t like the blue fans? Why not change them out for some red fans instead?!

The motherboard in this build is relatively basic, but it still gives you everything you’ll need for this build and it’ll still have room left for future upgrades. It supports the LGA 1151 CPU socket type and 2400MHz DDR4 RAM, which makes it a perfect match for a build running a Kaby Lake processor like the i3 7100, but it will also support other 7th gen Intel CPUs from the i5 or i7 lines. It comes with integrated audio, a built-in ethernet controller, and 6 USB ports.

Running Intel’s brand new hyper threaded dual-core i3 7100 is a great starting point for a build with potential to grow, not only is it a strong entry-level CPU, but it also requires the same “socket type” as the stronger 7th generation i5 and i7 CPUs. Although it’s technically only a dual core processor, its hyper-threading feature allows it to run multiple “threads” per core which results in a quad-core like experience (and most programs/games will view it as such).

zotac-gtx-1050ti-miniThe GTX 1050 Ti is a complete and utter beast when to take into consideration it’s super-low power requirements and very reasonable price point. Zotac’s 4GB GTX 1050 Ti Mini is definitely no exception other than it’s the lowest priced 1050 Ti available right now, making it somewhat hard to get your hands on – don’t pay more than $160! Otherwise, it’s completely capable of running the vast majority of AAA games on high settings in 1080p @ 60fps+.

The semi-modular EVGA 500 BQ power supply I chose will supply you with an ample 500W of power, more than enough to safely run this build with any upgrades you might want to add. Having a semi-modular power supply is always a bonus because you don’t have the mess of dealing with cables that you’re not using, you just unplug them instead. If you feel that 500W sounds too low, you can always upgrade to the 600W BQ for not too much more.

Some people might recommend that you cheap out on your power supply, but I would never put your components at risk like that!!!

8GB of RAM is pretty standard when it comes to a gaming PC, but having more is always good. For this reason, I went with a single 8GB stick to leave you the option to easily add more. Running a dual-channel pair would get you a very small (4% or so, basically unnoticeable outside of benchmarks) performance boost, but it’s really not necessary to do and you will be fine with a single stick. If you want to add more make sure it’s at least the same speed, but a matching pair from the same company is even better.

This $500 budget-level gaming PC will definitely outperform next-gen consoles by a long shot, and when you consider how much power you’re getting, $500 is pretty cheap for a gaming PC. You’ll be able to run most modern games like GTA:V at 60fps and you’ll be laughing at your console counterparts still stuck at 30fps (if they’re lucky!)

Operating System

When it comes to choosing which operating system to run, you’re going to have to consider a couple of points. Your budget, and what you really need.windows-10-home

Windows is currently the best option when it comes to having access to a wide-array of compatible programs, but, it’s also the most expensive option. Picking what version has become somewhat limited recently, and since the newest version of DirectX requires Windows 10, that’s basically our option to keep up with the tech advances.

However, there is also a free alternative, and that’s Ubuntu or another Linux-based OS like SteamOS (I wouldn’t really suggest SteamOS at this point). As Linux is becoming more and more popular, more dev studios are extending their support out to Linux-based operating systems as well, so you can expect more AAA games to support Linux as we move forward.

Keep in mind that to installing Ubuntu on your new PC will require you to create your own installation disc / flash drive. It’s not really a difficult process by any means, but it’s just another step to take into consideration. If you wanted to create your own bootable flash drive for either OS, you can find good instructions here.

Extras

If this is the absolute first gaming PC you’ve ever owned, then chances are high that you don’t have a very good keyboard + mouse combo, or that your monitor is sub-par to really enjoy your experience. Or maybe you don’t have any kind of speakers / headset?

If you don’t have these basic peripherals, you’re definitely going to want them. At the very least you’re going to need a keyboard, a mouse, some kind of audio, and a monitor. Luckily for you, we’ve featured some awesome budget-minded products to cover each of these basic needs, just check them out!

  • Asus VS238H-P

    23″, 1080p 60Hz, 2ms response time – Great for gaming
    View

  • CM Storm Devastator II KB+M Combo

    An awesome keyboard + mouse combo from Cooler Master for around $30! Available with red, green, or blue backlighting.
    View

  • Creative Sound BlasterX H5

    Easily one of the best gaming headset you can get, in my opinion.
    View

  • Reflex Lab Mouse Pad

    Super smooth, very accurate, and extremely comfortable to use! Reflex Lab mouse pads are available in 4 sizes from your basic 9″ x 8″ right up to a whopping 36″ x 18″!
    View

WiFi

If you plan on using a WiFi connection, then you’re also going to need some kind of WiFi adapter as very few motherboards come with it built-in.

You have a couple of options, either a USB-based WiFi adapter, or one that mounts internally, but you only need one. USB is more convenient and much cheaper in most cases, but they’re often less reliable than an internally mounted unit.

  • TP-LINK TL-WDN4800

    Internally mounted WiFi adapter. 2.4GHz or 5GHz.
    View

  • TP-LINK TL-WN722N

    USB WiFi adapter. 2.4GHz
    View

Conclusion

All-in-all, this cheap budget build is absolutely over-the-top when it comes to spending $500 on your own custom gaming PC. It’s a little more pricey than your average next-gen console, but it’s also a lot more powerful and you can do a lot more with it.

This build will completely dominate next-gen consoles by offering higher frames per second, and just overall better performance (and entertainment) per dollar spent. Sure consoles can do quite a bit now, but they still can’t compete with PCs when it comes to sheer versatility!

You really couldn’t ask for a better build on a $500 budget, and this one will completely blow your mind when you start loading up your favorite games!

If you have any questions ask me the comment section and I would be happy to help! 

Get This Budget Build!

Not the one for you?

Author

Branton

The first game that I ever played on a PC was Ultima Online in 1999, and since then I have been hooked on PC gaming, and putting together awesome builds. Thanks for stopping by!

Share it!

459 Comments on “The Best Cheap Gaming PC Build For Under $500”

  1. Hey branton this is my first desktop build but does it have an hdmi slot on it and would it be able to run wow?

    1. Hey Hunter,

      It definitely has an HDMI port, as well as a DVI and DisplayPort 🙂 It’ll run WoW without a problem.

      Hope that helps!

  2. Hello Branton!

    I’d like to ask if I’d buy a gtx 1060 3GB instead the 1050 would it be significantly better? And would I need to replace any parts from the list if I want to make that change? Thank you!

    1. Hey Genyo,

      Yep, there’s quite the performance difference between a GTX 1050 Ti and the GTX 1060 – upgrading to a 1060 would give you a major increase. Nothing else would need to be changed if you were going to go with a 1060.

      1. Nice thank you! Than I’ll be staying with the 1060 3GB instead if there is such a performance difference and the price gap is not so big.

  3. hi! I am building a gaming pc for around $500 that will perform well on most AAA games. I have lived with low settings my whole life as a pc gamer and want a change! I really like your build but I have a semi-decent gaming setup with a black, white and purple asthetic and I don’t want to use the blue pc case. is there another case that is just black or white that would work with this build?

    1. Hey Jerome,

      It definitely sounds like it’s time for a change, and this build will let you do just that! Yep, there are plenty of cases just like that, how about the Corsair 100R (all black) or the NZXT S340 (all white)?

      Hope that helps!

    1. Hey Andrew,

      Both are going to run great on this build 🙂 I can’t say exactly how well for sure as neither have been benched with a 1050 Ti by anyone (that I could find), but I know that 60fps+ is entirely possible.

  4. I’m interested in making a living room PC so 1080p output is all I’m looking for. This seems like a great build for my needs. Is there a case substitute that would by horizontal for a media center?

  5. Hey Branton! I showed this list at a local store with the 1060 3gb upgrade, and they recommended me an i5 and a bit more expensive gaming motherboard. The reasoning was for the i5 especially that games nowadays demand it mostly, is it a worthy upgrade or they are wrong and this build will perform just as fine?

    1. Hey Akos,

      The i3 6100 is just fine for a build at this level and “gaming” motherboards are definitely not necessary either – the word “gaming” is usually just a marketing tactic anyways 🙂 I think they might have been confused by the i3’s hyperthreading ability which “emulates” 2 cores, so it has 2 physical cores and 2 emulated cores which programs and games then register as 4-cores. Where you might run into an issue is with a dual core CPU without hyperthreading, like the Pentium G4400.

      If you have the extra funds for an upgrade to an i5, you would be wayyyyy better off taking that and investing it into a stronger GPU instead – like this 4GB RX 480 that’s currently on sale for a crazy low price – I’m honestly surprised that they didn’t suggest this as your GPU is significantly more important than your CPU when it comes to gaming.

      Hope that helps!

      1. Well they only told me I need the better motherboard and that I REALLY need an i5 for gaming. Well I guess I wont be revisiting them soon. So are you saying that I would get “waaaaaay” better performance with the 4gb amd rx? I read a lot of scary things with bottleneck shenanigans about amd cards and that they are more CPU dependant but than thats just silly of me to believe in?

        1. Don’t get me wrong, an i5 would be better, but it’s definitely not a minimum requirement. In comparison to the GTX 1050 Ti, the 4GB RX 480 would give you wayyyy better performance 🙂 Older generations might have been, but the new RX cards are pretty darn good, with the most recent driver updates they’re actually inching out their Nvidia counterparts in a fair amount of games!

  6. Hi again!

    so, my junk pc has like, four different hard drives in it that aren’t being used, could I use one of these instead of the one included in the build?

    thanks,
    Jerome

    1. Hey again, Jerome 🙂

      You can definitely use your old HDDs, just make sure that they’ve been formatted before plugging it into your new build 🙂

  7. Hi Branton,

    I am just about ready to start building I have everything but the case which should be here next week. Anyways I got curious about RAM and everywhere I read it says it’s much better if you have a dual channel board to use two sticks of RAM. I only bought one 8GB stick of RAM. RAM isn’t that expensive I can always get another stick down the road but how much of a difference will it make? Also I can’t find in my manual which slot to use first I have the MSI H110M gaming motherboard does it not matter on this board?

    Thank you for all your help. I can’t wait to start building.

    1. Hey Jason,

      Awesome, glad to hear it! Hopefully that case shows up soon! There’s a very small difference in performance between dual/single channel RAM setups – a dual-channel setup might perform up to 5% better in some games, which wouldn’t even be noticeable in terms of fps, etc. At this level, you’re better off running a single 8GB stick to allow for easier/cheaper expansion to 16GB down the line 🙂 I believe you can use either DIMM on this mobo.

      Hope that helps and Happy Holidays!

  8. Hello !
    I just built this baby for my fiance as a christmas present but I cant figure out why it wont boot up, everything seems to be in the right place but it’s stuck in a booting loop, never got to the bios.. did I need something else ?
    Thank you 🙂 Happy Holidays !

    1. Hey Stephanie,

      That’s so sweet of you! We’ll get it figured out 🙂 There shouldn’t be anything else that you need assuming you got everything from the list.

      First, you’ll want to go through and double check that everything is completely in its socket, the RAM and the graphics card will take a bit more force than one would expect and will “click” into place. If that’s not the issue, this is the most concise troubleshooting guide that I know of and it has a tendency to sort out most things. It could be something as simple as 1 connection not being all the way in.

      I hope that helps and Happy Holidays!

  9. Hey Brandon, would this build do well with games like Fallout 4, GTA 5, Battlefield 1, etc.? Also, would this build do well with light video editing? I’d be new to video editing and PC gaming. If this build isn’t good enough, which build would you recommend for a relatively low price point? Thanks for all of your help, and hope you had a Merry Christmas!

    1. Hey Hennen,

      It’ll do well in those games for sure! When it comes to video editing, you might want to consider a stronger CPU and possibly more RAM to help with the extra load. My $600 build comes with an i5 6500 CPU and would work a lot better for your tentative plans!

      Hope that helps!

  10. Hi Branton,

    Got my case today and I’ve seem to successfully pieced it all together it has been up and running for over 9 hours now. I did go with the i5 man is it fast. I ran into a few snags but that’s what Google is for. I got GTA V downloaded and running at 60fps on high settings and a few other games downloaded and running excellent. I just wanted to say a huge thanks to you for helping me and I am sure a lot of others on their first builds.

  11. Is this build ok?
    I3 6100 skylake 3.7
    G.skill 8gb ram dual channel
    Zotac 1050ti oc edition
    Corsair vs 450 psu
    Msi h110m pro vd
    It’s my first computer please help tnx 🙂

    1. I choose corsair vs 450 because im saving money for monitor/keyboard/mouse and other things I only have the budget of 600$

      1. The power supply is usually one of the last things that you want to save money on – it’s very important – but the one you picked will work fine 🙂

  12. I already bought the psu I will change it later in Seasonic S12II 520W 80PLUS Bronze after I save money

  13. hello I want to build my first computer. I will mostly be doing moderate gaming on it but still want to be able to play nice and have it look good. I like shooter games like bf1 and would probably start playing more pc games like wow and rust and getting off of my console. money is non issue but I’m not a huge die hard gamer so I don’t want to spend a whole lot. Is this build going to be able to be fully upgradable when things tire out? or should I spend the little extra money and get a better build?

    1. Hey Jacob,

      This build is fully upgradeable in the sense that anything can be modified with stronger components. That said, I would strongly suggest going up to my $600 build as it would not only give you a significant boost in performance, but it will also give you a much longer amount of time before requiring any sort of upgrades.

      Hope that helps!

  14. Hello, I was wondering how well this build runs Rust, H1Z1, and Dayz. I’m getting a group together and we all want the same build for these games.

    1. Hey Tony,

      For procedurally-generated games, you and your group are definitely going to want i5s instead of i3s. I would consider swapping out the i3 6100 for an i5 6500 in this build.

  15. When get every do u have to use thing for wifi so there’s no wireless wifi on this case or do I have to buy it

  16. How do I connect to the wifi without using that Ethernet on my pc and running a windows 10 home 64bit plz answer quickly

  17. This build sounds like I would definitely build. Can I upgrade to an i5? How will it perform? It’s my first build btw.

    1. Adding another 8GB of RAM would increase the performance a bit, but not by a whole lot and that extra ~$50 or so would be better spent upgrading to a stronger graphics card like a 4GB RX 480 instead.

      Hope that helps!

  18. Hello! I was wondering that if I’m gonna use this PC build only to stream my Xbox one will i be able to stream games like gta 5 at 1080p with 60fps without a problem? Also would the $400 budget PC build be able to handle the same scenario?

    1. Hey Jonathan,

      Bear with me, I’m going to try and explain this as best as I can and it might be a little wordy 🙂

      Unfortunately not. Streaming is a very CPU intensive task and requires a stronger processor – an i7 CPU is definitely recommended for streaming but you would be able to get by with an i5 CPU instead.

      That all said, if you’re really only going to be using this PC for streaming gameplay from your console, you could make some edits to make it waaayyy better for that (1080p 60fps capable) without increasing the price by a whole lot. First, you don’t need a dedicated graphics card in a build like you’re going for, so we’ll drop that completely. Next, we’ll drop the i3 7100 because it won’t work for what you need. We’ll replace those two components with an i7 7700 and you now have an awesome dedicated capture/streaming/editing build for less than $600!

      Here’s a link to your dedicated streaming build. It will come with 6 components, a case, a motherboard, the CPU, 8GB of RAM, a power supply, and a hard drive.

      Just keep in mind that this build I put together for you isn’t really suitable for PC gaming without a dedicated graphics card, but it’ll work great for capturing/streaming console gameplay; if you add a graphics card like a GTX 1060 sometime down the line you’ll have an amazing build for PC gaming!

      Hope that helps!

      1. wow thank you so much for clearing that up it is immensely appreciated, you are my PC/budget hero!
        just a concern here. i saw that the motherboard in the link had only 2.0 usb ports and i do not think it had hdmi ports either. now i will be using an elgato hd60 s to stream and i know that the capture card has to be plugged in to a 3.0 usb port could you link me a mother board that has 3.0 port (port’s) and as well hdmi input that supports 7th gen intel processor. not to sure if the tower will have to change for this as well. thanks in advance

        1. No problem, Jonathan!

          The mobo in this build definitely has 4x USB 3.0 ports (they’re the blue ones) as well as 2x USB 2.0 (black ones). It has 1x HDMI port, 1x DVI-D port, and 1x VGA port as well 🙂 Here’s a pic of the rear i/o panel so you can see what I mean. The case has another 3 USB ports (1x 3.0, 2x 2.0).

    1. okay okay i looked at the motherboard on the manufacture website and it indeed does has hmdi and 3.0 usb ports. haha my apologies (newbie here). i did however changed some things in order to have next day air shipping. can you please just confirm that the new build is all compatible with each other? thank you a million times over! new build: http://a.co/9dbWnUf

      1. ended up changing PSU to a CORSAIR CXM series CX550M 550W 80 PLUS BRONZE Haswell Ready ATX12V & EPS12V Modular Power Supply.

      2. No worries, that’s why I’m here to help 🙂 The build looks good, but I wouldn’t go with that particular power supply, the CX450-650M are the better options without a doubt.

  19. Hello. I was looking at the build and i was wondering if there are any other cases that also have the open view concept on the side that is comparable to the one you suggested.

    Thanks
    Nathan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.