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

Written by Branton

Last updated Jun 21, 2022

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

masterbox q300l computer case

Case

Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L

  • Magnetic Dust Filters
  • 6-Orientation I/O Panel
  • Edge-to-Edge Acrylic Side Panel
  • Routing Space
  • Thermal Performance
  • ATX PSU Support
  • CPU Cooler: 159mm/6.2″, GPU 360mm, Radiator Support Front: 120mm/240mm, Rear: 120mm
  • Motherboard Support: Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
amd ryzen computer processor

CPU

Intel i3 10100F

  • 10th Generation Intel Core i3 Processor
  • 4 Cores; 8 Threads
  • 4.30 GHz Max Turbo Frequency, 3.60 GHz Processor Base Frequency
  • 6 MB Intel Smart Cache
amd ryzen computer processor

CPU Cooler

Noctua NH-L9i

  • Ultra-compact low-profile cooler with only 37mm total height – ideal for HTPCs, ITX and Small Form Factor builds
  • 100% compatibility RAM- and PCIe-compatibility due to 95x95mm footprint, does not overhang the RAM or PCIe slots
  • Highly optimised NF-A9x14 slim 92mm fan with PWM support and Low-Noise Adaptor for automatic speed control and ultra-quiet operation
  • Includes high-end NT-H1 thermal paste and SecuFirm2 mounting system for easy installation on Intel LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA1200
  • Renowned Noctua quality backed up by 6-year manufacturer’s warranty, deluxe choice for Intel Core i7, i5 or i3 with moderate heat load (e.g. 11900, 11700, 11600, 10700, see compatibility list)
gigabyte computer motherboard

Motherboard

MSI B560M PRO-E LGA

  • Supports 11th and 10th Gen Intel Core / Pentium Celeron processors for LGA 1200 socket
  • Supports DDR4 Memory, up to 4800(OC) MHz
  • Core Boost : With premium layout and digital power design to support more cores and provide better performance
  • DDR4 Boost : Advanced technology to deliver pure data signals for the best performance and stability.
  • Lightning Fast Experience : PCIe 4.0
amd gaming graphics card

GPU

XFX Speedster QICK210 Radeon RX 6500XT

  • Chipset: AMD RX 6500 XT
  • Memory: 4GB GDDR6 AMD RDNA 2 architecture elevates and unifies the gaming
  • Boost Clock: Up To 2825MHz
  • Cooling: XFX Speedster QICK 210 Dual Fan Cooling
patriot signature computer memory

RAM

Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB

  • Hand-sorted memory chips ensure high performance with generous overclocking headroom
  • VENGEANCE LPX is optimized for wide compatibility with the latest Intel and AMD DDR4 motherboards
  • A low-profile height of just 34mm ensures that VENGEANCE LPX even fits in most small-form-factor builds
  • A solid aluminum heatspreader efficiently dissipates heat from each module so that they consistently run at high clock speeds
  • Supports Intel XMP 2.0 for simple one-setting installation and setup
computer power supply

PSU

EVGA 500 W1, 80+ WHITE 500W

  • EVGA 500 Watt; Unbeatable value
  • 80 plus white certified, with 80 percentage efficiency or higher under typical loads
  • Heavy duty protections, including OVP (Over voltage protection); UVP (Under voltage protection, OCP (Over current protection), OPP (Over power protection), and SCP (Short circuit protection)
  • Compatibility of the EVGA 500 W1, 80 white 500 W, Power supply 100 W1 0500 KR (100 W1 0500 KR)
250gb solid state drive

Storage

Kingston A400 240GB SSD

  • Fast start up, loading and file transfers
  • More reliable and durable than a hard drive
  • Multiple capacities with space for applications or a hard drive replacement

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!

    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+..

    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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