The Best $500 Gaming PC Build For 2021 | Top Budget Desktops

Written by Branton

Last updated Dec 2, 2021

PC build for 500

Trying to build yourself the best budget gaming PC build for $500? Well, this particular build is going to put those dollars to good use! It’s fully-equipped with an AMD R5 2600, a 4GB RX 570, 8GB of RAM, and 240GB of SSD storage!

This budget gaming PC build is packing enough power to handle your favorite games in 1080p without an issue. You won’t be playing GTA:V on ultra settings by any means, but the performance will be comparable to (usually better than) modern consoles like the Xbox One or PS4 so that you can still have a solid gaming experience.

Have a question? Ask me in the comment section or look at our PC build FAQ.

prebuilt budget gaming pc

$500 Prebuilt Gaming PC Option

CYBERPOWERPC GXiVR8060A8 – Black

Before we dive into the custom DIY build, why not consider a prebuilt alternative with similar specs? If you’d rather skip the whole build process and jump right into gaming, you can easily do that with a prebuilt gaming desktop. They come completely assembled with Windows already installed, the only thing for you to do is plug it in, turn it on, and update some drivers.

Here’s an option with similar specs and pricing (considering the cost of Windows) as the DIY build on this page.

  • CPU: Intel i5 9400f
  • GPU: 6GB GTX 1660
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • Storage: 1TB HDD + 240GB SSD
  • Connectivity: WiFi + Ethernet | 7.1 channel audio | 6x USB 3.1 + 2x USB 2.0
  • Comes with Windows 10 Home (64-bit) installed
  • Comes with a keyboard + mouse

The Best $500 Gaming PC Build

Updated: November 24th, 2021
masterbox q300l computer case

Case

Thermaltake Versa H18

mATX tower with a tempered glass side panel. Comes with 1x 120mm fan, 1x front USB 3.0 + 2x USB 2.0 + 3.5mm audio jacks.

amd ryzen computer processor

CPU

AMD R5 3600

6-core/12-thread 3.9GHz 2nd generation AMD Ryzen CPU. Comes with a Wraith Stealth CPU cooler.

gigabyte computer motherboard

Motherboard

ASRock B450M PRO4

AM4 socket/B450 chipset mATX motherboard. Equipped with 8x USB and 4x SATA + 1x M.2, built in audio and integrated ethernet.

amd gaming graphics card

GPU

MSI RX 570 8GB

A great GPU for 1080p gaming. 

 
patriot signature computer memory

RAM

Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB

2x4GB sticks of 3000MHz DDR4 RAM. Adding more ram is completely possible!

computer power supply

PSU

EVGA 500 BR 80+ Bronze

500W 80+ Bronze power supply. Comes with a 3-year warranty.

250gb solid state drive

Storage

Kingston A400 480GB SSD

480GB SSD with 500MB/s read and 450MB/s write speeds.

The tools you need:

That’s really all you need to assemble your new desktop. All of the mounting hardware and cables will come with the parts listed above. The only time you might need something extra is if you’re modifying the build on this page.

    HOW TO BUILD YOUR PC…

    Super Simplified Build Steps:

    1. Install the power supply into the case
    2. Install the processor (CPU)
    3. Seat RAM in the motherboard
    4. Mount the CPU cooler (don’t forget thermal paste if you’re not using a stock cooler!)
    5. Insert the motherboard’s rear I/O plate into the case’s rear I/O slot
    6. Mount the motherboard in the case (get your i/o ports through and use the middle standoff as a guide)
    7. Plug your graphics card into the motherboard
    8. Install storage drives
    9. Plug all power and data cables in where they’re required (storage, case, motherboard, graphics card, etc)
    10. Turn your PC on
    11. Install your OS
    12. Install and update ALL drivers
    13. DONE!

    Complete Build Breakdown

    This $500 gaming PC build is going to get you into modern games and playing them on mid-high settings pushing 60fps or better in 1080p. Some games are still going to give this build some issues at the highest settings, but it’s still going to outperform (or at least keep up with) next-gen consoles like the Xbox One and PS4!

    This build will run games like Apex Legends, PUBG, Fallout 4, GTA:V and pretty much anything else on mid settings or better while getting great performance! Less graphically intensive games like CS:GO, DOTA, LoL, or anything along those lines, will easily run at 60-100fps+.


    Case: Holding everything together is the Thermaltake Versa H18 micro-ATX case. It gives you lots of options for expansion in terms of added storage, or a more intensive cooling profile.

    The H18 comes with a total of 3x front USB ports as well as 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks. It’s also boasting a tempered glass side panel and a full PSU shroud. The compromise being it only comes with 1x 120mm fan – 1 is pretty much good enough for this build, but you might want to add 1 more.

    There are A LOT of other cases that would work for this build, I really suggest that you take a look at some other options just in case you can find one that you like more! If you need some suggestions, check out what I consider the 5 best mATX cases!


    CPU & Cooler: AMD’s R5 3600 is a complete beast when it comes to gaming, streaming, and pretty much anything else. With a sub-$200 price tag, the R5 2600 simply cannot be beaten in terms of price vs performance.

    It’s loaded with 6 cores and 12 threads that’ll operate at a modest 4.2GHz by default. Since the R5 3600 fully supports overclocking, you could easily squeeze out even more performance if you don’t mind spending some time testing.

    The R5 3600 comes with a good CPU cooler if you’re not pushing your CPU too much or overclocking. Upgrading to a larger air cooler would be recommended if you’re going to overclock. 


    Motherboard: The default motherboard, ASRock’s B450M Pro4, is an awesome mATX option for a Ryzen-based build. It gives you support for all of the features we need with room to expand down the line, including 4x SATA3 ports, multiple case fan headers, 8x USB ports, 4 slots for DDR4 RAM, integrated audio, a built-in ethernet controller, and even M.2 NVMe SSD support. 

    If you’re going to be running Windows 11, it will be compatible with this motherboard as it’s loaded with a TPM module as all modern motherboards are. 


    Graphics Card: The 4GB RX 570 is a budget beast when you take into consideration it’s super-low power requirements and very reasonable price point. PowerColor’s Red Dragon RX 570 4GB is definitely no exception and is a great choice for your dedicated graphics card!

    An RX 570 can easily manage 1080p gaming while consistently outperforming both current gen consoles in every game out there.


    RAM: 8GB of RAM is the perfect amount for a gaming PC at this level. With that in mind, this build is running 2x4GB sticks of Corsair Vengeance LPX at 3000MHz. This leaves you with lots of room for future expansion and if you wanted to run more than 8GB that’s completely possible – when you do upgrade try to stick to the same speed as your RAM will automatically change its speed to match your slowest stick.


    Power Supply: EVGA’s 500 BR power supply is a good, reliable, power supply. It’s rated to 80+ bronze and comes with a 3-year warranty + 24/7 technical support from EVGA. As the 500 BR is a non-modular unit, all cables are permanently attached. If you’d prefer a semi-modular supply, I’d suggest checking out the 500 BQ instead – it’s a little more expensive but objectively much better.


    Storage: When it comes to storage, there’s a Kingston A400 480GB SSD in this build by default. Beyond that, you can easily add up to 3 more drives based on what the motherboard will support. All you’ll need are extra SATA data cables and the additional drives themselves.

    Peripherals

    If this is the very first PC you’ve ever owned, chances are you’re going to need almost everything on the following list. If that’s you, put aside another few hundred for these peripherals to make sure you’re not coming up short.

    In any event, I’ve hand-picked the following components to match this particular level of gaming PC build, but that doesn’t mean they’re all you can use. There are plenty of choices for each peripheral you might like others more than my suggestions.

    Picking a good display is one of the most important parts of ensuring you get a good experience, because of that I’ve put together an in-depth guide on how to pick the best monitor for gaming.

    Picking a comfortable chair is equally important as your monitor, if not more important. To fully enjoy your gaming sessions, you have to be comfortable. To be comfortable, you need a good gaming chair. That’s why I’ve put together this buyers guide containing 16 gaming chairs out there! 

    gaming keyboard

    Monitor

    ASUS VS247H-P 23.6″

    23.6″, 1080p 60Hz, 2ms response time – Great for gaming

    gaming keyboard

    Keyboard

    Redragon K556 RGB

    A good full sized mechanical keyboard with RGB backlighting and a very attractive price point. 

    gaming mouse

    Mouse

    Logitech G502 Hero

    One of the absolute best gaming mice you could buy. The G502 is a tried and true platform that’s only been improved to where it’s at now with the HERO. 

    gaming headset

    Headphones

    HyperX Cloud 2

    The HyperX Cloud 2 headset is undeniably one of the best you could own. They use audiophile-grade headphones with a high-quality detachable microphone. 

    Operating System 

    When it comes to picking an operating system, you have quite a few options laid out before you. But, the best / easiest two are either Windows or something Linux-based.

    If you’re really strapped for cash, or you really just don’t like Windows, Ubuntu is a great option because it’s entirely free, and it’s really solid/secure. It’s a Linux-based OS and can play any game that supports Linux. More and more games are adding Linux support, but it definitely sucks when a game you’ve been waiting forever for ends up being Windows only…

    The more expensive option is buying a copy of Windows. With DirectX 12 becoming more common and the Skylake-based processors basically demanding Windows 10, you might want to consider jumping on that right away, but it’s ultimately your call.

    Installing your operating system can be done in a couple of different ways, either by DVD or a USB flash drive that you either create yourself or buy.

    window 10

    Windows

    Windows 10

    The most recent version of Microsoft’s operating system, Windows 10 is your best bet for across-the-board compatibility. 

    ubuntu linux

    Linux

    Ubuntu

    Ubuntu is a great, open source operating system rooted in Linux. It’s known as one of the most user-friendly and easiest to learn. 

    WiFi

    Because the vast majority of motherboards do not include WiFi – like the one used in this build – if you have to use WiFi then you’re also going to need a WiFi adapter. 

    There’re a plethora of options available when it comes to picking WiFi adapters and it can be a relatively confusing process without first knowing what you need… Which is often just as confusing as picking the adapter in the first place.

    To make it simple, you pretty much want an adapter on the AC protocol – it’s backward compatible with the previous protocols and will pretty much work regardless what kind of router you’re running. The speed you should get is based on both the speed of your internet connection and the capabilities of your router; somewhere around AC1300 is usually a safe bet. 

    Keep in mind that your router and WiFi adapter won’t speed up your internet connection and going for the highest numbers won’t mean the lowest ping. Even N900 (basic) WiFi adapters and routers are capable of transferring data at much higher rates than the average internet connection requires.

    internal wifi adapter

    Internal WiFi Adapter

    TP-Link Archer T6E

    A good internally mounted (PCIe) AC1300 WiFi adapter. Make sure your build has enough room!

    external USB wifi adapter

    External WiFi Adapter

    Netgear A6210-100PAS

    A reliable AC1300 USB WiFi adapter. Capable of operating on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.

    Conclusion

    This 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 way more versatile in terms of what you can do.

    When it comes down to it, this budget beast is going to outpace next gen consoles by giving you noticeably higher frame rates and better graphics (more often than not). If you wanted even more gaming potential, your best bet would be upgrading the graphics card to something more powerful like a GTX 1660 or RX 580.

    Once your build is all put together, you might find that a little extra customization is in order. Once you’re at that stage, you might want to wander over to my post about 3 of the easiest ways to customize your PC.

    All-in-all, you really couldn’t ask for a better build on a $500 budget, it’s going to completely blow your mind when you start loading up your favorite games! 1080p 60fps is well within reach and I think you’ll find that this build has WAY more power than you’d expect!

    If you have any questions or comments about this build, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments!

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    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    January 10, 2021 1:52 pm

    I’m an old flight sim Guy, Will this fly FalconBMS 4.34

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    December 26, 2020 12:54 am

    what happened to this website? i got my computer here last year and it was good with no ads but now the builds are the same as then and now there are so many ugly ads everywhere. this website used to have a good reputation but i don’t trust it anymore

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    January 23, 2021 7:58 pm
    Reply to  Anonymous

    fr this place went downhill fast. its so bad now you cant even go to another page without everything breaking

    Branton
    Branton
    September 8, 2021 9:05 pm
    Reply to  Anonymous

    We are working on updates for this website. Should be available soon.

    Nolan
    Nolan
    December 13, 2020 11:52 am

    The GPU you suggested is put of stock. Are there any replacements you would recommend?

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    December 26, 2020 12:49 am
    Reply to  Nolan

    this site is terrible now. it used to be good but i guess branton stopped caring and just gave up

    Nolan
    Nolan
    November 30, 2020 10:49 am

    Will I be able to Mount another SSD?

    Janelle
    Janelle
    June 2, 2020 11:56 pm

     
    Will this be good enough to stream with and if I upgrade the GPU will i be able to run games on higher settings?

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    March 27, 2020 1:57 pm

    What would witcher 3 look like on this

    Cameron Shippey
    Cameron Shippey
    February 29, 2020 8:46 am

    could this pc run games like madden cod ww2 apex etc,

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