The Best Cheap Gaming PC Build For $500

In $400-$800, Custom Builds by Branton551 Comments

cheap 500 dollar gaming pc build

Looking to build yourself the best possible gaming PC for $500? This one is it! With a Pentium G4500, a 4GB GTX 1050 Ti, 8GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, you’ll be able to play your favorite games with ease.

If you were to go into any store and spend around $500 on a prebuilt desktop, you’re going to walk away with a hunk of junk that struggles to run Minesweeper in 720p, let alone any games 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.

  • A smaller Phillips head screwdriver
  • An anti-static wristband (optional but suggested)
  • Patience, and lots of it

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:
-Install the Power Supply into the Case
-Install the processor (make sure the arrows line up)
-Install RAM (make sure they are in the right way before you try to seat them!)
-Mount the CPU cooler
-Place the rear I/O plate
-Mount the motherboard to the case (get your i/o ports through and use the middle standoff as a guide)
-Plug your GPU in
-Install any storage
-Plug everything into the appropriate spots
-Turn it on / Install OS & drivers!

In-depth Walkthrough

Instead of me typing out a ton 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.

Or, if you did want a ton of words, I’ve put together somewhat of a crash course to building your gaming PC that you might want to check out, in it I explain what each part’s role is in your PC as well as how to put everything together. There’s also this FAQ which covers some of the most commonly asked questions.

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: June 24th, 2017

  • VIVO V02

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

  • Gigabyte GA-B250M-DS3H

    mATX size, H110 chipset, LGA 1151 socket. 6x SATA3, 6x USB. Supports up to 2400MHz RAM. View

  • Pentium G4600

    3.6GHz dual-core processor. Comes with a stock cooler.
    View

  • Gigabyte GTX 1050 Ti G1 Gaming

    4GB GDDR5, solid 1080p performance. 3x HDMI ports + DVI-I and DisplayPort.
    View

  • EVGA 500 BQ

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

  • 8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 RAM

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

  • WD Blue 1TB HDD

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

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Optional/Suggested

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.

  • Windows 10 (USB Installer)

    Windows 10 is your best bet when it comes to picking an operating system. This version is a USB installer. View

  • 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 G4500, but it will also support other 6th or 7th gen Intel CPUs from the i3, i5 or i7 lines. It comes with integrated audio, a built-in ethernet controller, 6 USB ports and 6 SATA ports.

Running Intel’s new dual-core Pentium G4500 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 other 6th and 7th generation i3, i5 and i7 CPUs. Although it’s technically only a dual core processor, it’s still a solid performer in 1080p gaming and will be for the foreseeable future.

The GTX 1050 Ti is a complete budget beast when you take into consideration it’s super-low power requirements and very reasonable price point. Gigabyte’s 4GB GTX 1050 Ti G1 Gaming 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 $150! Otherwise, it’s completely capable of running the vast majority of AAA games on (at least) medium 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.

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! 

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Author

Branton

The first game I ever played on PC was Ultima Online way back in 1999, since then I've been hooked on PC gaming and putting together awesome builds! Thanks for stopping by!

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

  1. I bought this build as my first build. I plugged everything in but it keeps on seeming to power cycle… any help?

    1. Awesome! Glad to hear you got everything sorted 🙂 No sound card is needed unless you’re planning on running a 5.1 or greater sound system, in which case there are external sound cards like this one that would work great.

  2. Hello. First off i wanna say thank you for what you are doing. I got into PC gaming earlier this year, thanks to this site, and ive been loving it ever since. Ok, now for my question. when i build my pc, the parts you recommended are different then the ones you currently have. For the CPU you reccommended this https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009O7YORK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 and this as the motherboard https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009FC3YJ8/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1 . My question is ive been thinking that i wanna upgrade the CPU to something faster, can you give me a recommendation to one that will work with the motherboard? Once again, Thank you for your help. Have a nice day.

    1. Hey Juan,

      I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying PC gaming! It’s really the best way to game 99% of the time 🙂

      Yep, this build has evolved over the past couple of months to include the things you see now – prior to that it was pretty much impossible to fit an i3 into this level without ending up with something really unbalanced. The AM3+ socket kind of limits you to the FX 8370 as far as “worthwhile” upgrades go, it’s actually an alright CPU and it comes with AMD’s new “Wraith” cooler which is also pretty decent. Or, if you’re feeling really inspired, you could always jump over to Intel, but that would add a bit to your upgrade costs as you would need a newer mobo and potentially new RAM depending on which generation of CPU you went with… If you do want to go the Intel route, let me know and I’ll show you what you’ll need to accomplish that.

      I hope that helps!

  3. Thank you for the reply

    Hmmm not sure which route to go? Would you mind giving me a suggestion on what i should do? Im hoping this upgrade wont exceed $300, but i feel thats too limited.

    1. No problem, Juan! Ultimately I’d say go with Intel, which you would be able to do well within your budget.

      This mobo, an i5 6400, and then these sticks of RAM would run you roughly $275. That will give you a serious performance boost, and it’ll also give you the option to upgrade even further (if you felt it necessary) when Intel’s “Kaby Lake” line of CPUs releases in 2017.

      I hope that helps!

  4. Thank you for the reply.

    How big of a difference is it? 1080/60 for most games? 4k achievable? How well can i do in new/upcoming games? I have a GTX 960 2gb you can use as reference. T

    1. It’ll be a considerable difference in most games, especially those that are more CPU-bound like the Arma series or procedurally generated survival games. With a GTX 960 you won’t be able to achieve 4K – you would basically need a GTX 1080 for that – but you will still get a way better experience in 1080p. 60fps will be much easier to hit with the stronger CPU etc.

  5. Ok. Ive gotten everything i needed to know. Thank you for the information. Not sure if ill upgrade right away but maybe later this year or the next.

  6. So would this build be able to run games like dayz and ark on decent settings? Because I have found other builds that that can’t even run minecraft.

    1. Hey Hunter,

      It can run both on decent settings for sure – but if you play a lot of Minecraft you might want to consider upgrading the CPU to an i5 instead of the i3 – my $600 build might be more what you’re looking for.

  7. I saw that there was a new version of the keyboard+mouse combo that is recommended. would this also be compatible?

  8. Hi, its me again. Before i buy the new motherboard and cpu you recommended me and upgrade, i want you know if their could be any problem i could run into switching from an amd board to and intel?

    1. Hey Juan,

      First, you’ll want to back-up anything important to an external HDD or something similar – just to be safe. Then, you could try just swapping the mobo/cpu/ram and everything might just work, sometimes it does & sometimes it doesn’t, it’s honestly pretty random. If not, you will have to do a clean install of Windows & reformat of your hdd (this is the best way anyways if you want to really avoid any conflicting driver issues), and you may or may not have to call into Microsoft to talk to a rep about reactivating your current license on the “new build” – I’ve personally had it work flawlessly without needing to do any clean installs/reformatting, other times I’ve had to do a fresh install without calling into MS, and only a few times I’ve actually had to call MS to reactivate the license.

      I hope that helps!

    1. No problem, Juan! I hope everything goes smoothly for you! If you do run into any issues, don’t hesitate to let me know and I’ll do my best to try and help 🙂

  9. Hi Branton,

    Sorry for the delay in responding. I tried your suggestions, but the PC is still not powering on. I have a spare power supply that I will try next. Is there anything I should test? Thank you so much for your help!

    1. Hey Bob,

      It’s no worries 🙂 If you have a spare PSU then I would definitely try it (depending on its size of course – 400w+). It’s definitely possible that yours could have kicked the bucket.

    1. Hey Juan,

      You could definitely use the i5 6500 (or any Intel processor that uses the “LGA 1151” socket – basically the 6th gen i5/i3 and some 6th gen i7s) in the mobo I suggested!

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