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.
$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
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 R5 3600
6-core/12-thread 3.9GHz 2nd generation AMD Ryzen CPU. Comes with a Wraith Stealth CPU cooler.
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.
MSI RX 570 8GB
A great GPU for 1080p gaming.
Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB
2x4GB sticks of 3000MHz DDR4 RAM. Adding more ram is completely possible!
EVGA 500 BR 80+ Bronze
500W 80+ Bronze power supply. Comes with a 3-year warranty.
Kingston A400 480GB SSD
480GB SSD with 500MB/s read and 450MB/s write speeds.
The tools you need:
- A small Phillips screwdriver
Size #2 works well as a general rule.
- An anti-static wristband
Optional but recommended.
And lots of it.
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:
- Install the power supply into the case
- Install the processor (CPU)
- Seat RAM in the motherboard
- Mount the CPU cooler (don’t forget thermal paste if you’re not using a stock cooler!)
- Insert the motherboard’s rear I/O plate into the case’s rear I/O slot
- Mount the motherboard in the case (get your i/o ports through and use the middle standoff as a guide)
- Plug your graphics card into the motherboard
- Install storage drives
- Plug all power and data cables in where they’re required (storage, case, motherboard, graphics card, etc)
- Turn your PC on
- Install your OS
- Install and update ALL drivers
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.
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!
ASUS VS247H-P 23.6″
23.6″, 1080p 60Hz, 2ms response time – Great for gaming
Redragon K556 RGB
A good full sized mechanical keyboard with RGB backlighting and a very attractive price point.
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.
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.
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.
The most recent version of Microsoft’s operating system, Windows 10 is your best bet for across-the-board compatibility.
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.
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
TP-Link Archer T6E
A good internally mounted (PCIe) AC1300 WiFi adapter. Make sure your build has enough room!
External WiFi Adapter
A reliable AC1300 USB WiFi adapter. Capable of operating on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
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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