The Best Budget Gaming PC Build For $500 in 2018

Updated: October 1st, 2018Author: BrantonCategory: Budget Builds701 Comments

best cheap gaming pc build for 500 dollars

Trying to build yourself a good but cheap gaming PC for $500? Well, this build is going to put those dollars to good use! It's equipped with an Intel i3 8100, a GTX 1050, 8GB of RAM, and 1TB of HDD storage!

This $500 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.

In newer or graphically demanding games, expect this budget build to manage medium settings at around 60fps in 1080p. Less graphically intensive games like CS:GO, DOTA, LoL, and other games like that won't have any problems running at 60-100fps+ in 1080p.

If you were to head down to any local store and spend $500 on a cheap desktop, chances are you’re going to walk away with little more than a paperweight that struggles to run Minesweeper at 20fps in 720p, not to mention any games that you actually wanted to play.

In comparison, building your own cheap gaming PC will set you up with waaayyyyy more gaming potential. Plus, you can say “I built that.”

Have a question? Ask me in the comment section!

Best Budget Gaming PC Build for $500

Updated: October 1st, 2018
  • Thermaltake Versa H15

    mATX case, comes with 1x 120mm fan. Equipped with front USB 3.0 & 3.5mm audio jacks.
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  • Gigabyte B360M DS3H

    mATX size, LGA 1151 socket, Intel B360 chipset motherboard. 6x USB, 6x SATA + 1x M.2.
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  • Intel i3 8100

    4-core/4-thread 3.6GHz CPU. Comes with a CPU cooler.
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  • EVGA GTX 1050 (GDDR5)

    2GB GDDR5 VRAM, good performance in most games. 1x HDMI, 1x DVI-I and 1x DisplayPort.
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  • EVGA 500W BQ

    500W semi-modular power supply, 80% efficiency, 3-year warranty.
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  • 8GB Crucial Ballistix Sport LT

    1x8GB 2666Mhz DDR4 RAM.
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  • WD Blue 1TB HDD

    1TB, 7200 RPM, 64MB cache, quiet & reliable!
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Estimated
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*Hardware prices change daily, sometimes multiple times in a single day. Therefore, the price listed above should only be considered a rough estimate.
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.

Recommended Add-ons

Add-ons like SSDs and optical drives are by no means necessary, but they may give you a better experience. Others, like an Operating System, are basically mandatory but you have more options than just Windows 10. 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 in terms of out-of-the-box compatibility. This version is a USB-based installer.
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  • 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.
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  • Samsung Ultra-Slim External CD DVD±R/RW

    External optical drives have quickly become 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.
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Build Breakdown

For right around $500, this budget gaming PC 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!

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 build will run games like 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+.

best cheap gaming pc buildCase: The Thermaltake Versa H15 is a very decent mATX-sized case (Check out the best mATX cases here) that'll easily fit everything in this build and then some. It comes with 1x 120mm fan but has room to mount 2 more in the front if you wanted to (it's not required). 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 before deciding on one!

Motherboard: The Gigabyte B360M DS3H motherboard used for this build is relatively basic, but it still gives you everything you'll need and will still have room left for future upgrades. It supports the LGA 1151 socket type that Intel's newest CPUs require, making it compatible with not only the i3 8100, but with stronger CPUs like the i5 8600 or i7 8700. This board comes with integrated audio, a built-in ethernet controller, 6 USB ports, 6 SATA 6GBs ports, a M.2 slot for super-fast SSDs, and room for 3 DIMMs of RAM. 

Processor (CPU): Running Intel's new quad-core i3 8100 is a great starting point for a build with massive potential to grow. Not only is it a very strong entry-level CPU, but it also uses the same LGA 1151 socket as other 8th generation Intel CPUs like the i5 8600, meaning you can upgrade to a stronger CPU any time you want. The 4-core/4-thread, 3.6GHz i3 8100 is the first of the i3 lineup to feature 4 physical cores and it makes for a really good budget CPU for gaming!

best budget gaming pc buildGraphics Card (GPU): The 2GB GTX 1050 is a budget beast when you take into consideration it's super-low power requirements and very reasonable price point. EVGA's GTX 1050 2GB (with GDDR5 VRAM not DDR5 SDRAM) is definitely no exception! That being said, don't expect this card to play AAA games on anything higher than low-mid settings if you want 60fps or better in 1080p. If that's what you want, definitely upgrade to the 4GB GTX 1050 Ti or something better!

Power Supply (PSU): When it comes to power, this build doesn't require a whole lot and a 500W supply like EVGA's 500 BQ is going to work great while giving you all the power you need. It's a good semi-modular 80+ bronze power supply which means it'll be at least 80% efficient, it also comes with a nice 3-year warranty if anything were to ever happen.

best 500 dollar gaming pc buildSystem Memory (RAM): 8GB of RAM is basically the standard when it comes to a gaming PC. Some games do require more, but as a general rule 8GB is enough. Since Ryzen processors perform the best with at least a speed of 2666MHz, I've included 1x8GB stick of Ballistix Sport LT. That said, running a dual channel pair would result in slightly better performance, but it would also be a little more expensive.

Storage: This build comes with a standard 1TB HDD from Western Digital's Blue lineup. It's a good amount and ensures you won't run short anytime soon. However, to make your build seem lightning quick during boot up and while doing general tasks, an SSD is unbeatable and makes for a perfect addition to any build.

Overall, this build is perfectly tailored for games like Fortnite, CS:GO, Overwatch, LoL, Rocket League, and anything else along those lines. More graphically intensive games like GTA:V, Battlefield 1, The Witcher 3, and so on, will still run better than on consoles but don't expect to play on max settings.

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 gaming pc build

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.

Peripherals

If this budget beast is the very first gaming PC you’ve owned, chances are 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, I've hand picked some awesome budget-minded peripherals matched to this build's budget level to cover each of these basic needs, check them out below!

  • Asus VS238H-P

    23″, 1080p 60Hz, 2ms response time – Great for gaming
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  • CM Storm Devastator 3 KB+M Combo

    An awesome keyboard + mouse combo from Cooler Master for around $35!
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  • Corsair HS50

    Easily one of the best gaming headset you can get for under $50, in my opinion.
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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 unless you want to spend way more. 

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.
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  • TP-LINK TL-WN722N

    USB WiFi adapter. 2.4GHz
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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 1060 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 ask me the comment section and I would be happy to help! 

$500 Gaming PC Build

This cheap gaming PC build is well-equipped for 1080p gaming in competitive shooters, eSports titles and indie games. In games that are more graphically demanding, this build can easily pull off medium-high settings with very playable frame rates between 30-60fps+ in 1080p.

Hardware

CaseThermaltake Versa H15
MotherboardGigabyte B360M DS3H
ProcessorIntel i3 8100
GraphicsEVGA GTX 1050 2GB
Power Supp.EVGA 500 BQ 80+ Bronze
RAM8GB DDR4 (2666MHz)
HDDWD Blue 1TB (7200RPM)
SSDOptional
CPU CoolerStock

Features
  • 1080p 60fps gaming
  • Easy to upgrade and personalize
  • Lots of USB ports
  • Built in audio and Ethernet controllers
best budget gaming pc build for 500
About the Author

Branton

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Hey there! I'm Branton, the founder and lead editor here at PC Game Haven. Since our launch in 2015, we've helped thousands upon thousands of gamers build their dream desktops, find the perfect peripherals, and more. Thanks for stopping by!

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Anonymous
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Anonymous

I’m looking to build a computer that can easily handle WoW on the top graphics setting with ease with some room to grow. Which category of builds should I be looking in?

Thanks!

Anonymous
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Anonymous

This build can run Fortnite correct?

jake from state farm
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jake from state farm

is there any way i could make this build a little cheaper?

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Never run Ryzen with single channel ram. Skip the GPU and get a better memory kit; or don’t eat out a few times this month if you need both.

Avery W
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Avery W

Oh boy it’s been a while since I’ve actually commented on a build…. so hey Brandon! Just wanted to let you know, the cheapest you can get this for currently is $560, and on amazon it is $611…. this is sorta weird since this is the $500 build, and it’s almost as expensive than the $600 build (which on amazon prices in at $640 and can get as low as ~$600)… I know how bad the inflation is right now, but I don’t think it’s fair to be misleading about the actual prices of the builds.
Sincerely,
Avery W

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Ram prices went up

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Is there a reason that the 10 dollars cheaper r3 2200g isn’t included in place of the 1200?

mike
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mike

doesnt the 2200g cost more than the r3 1200?

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Maybe at the moment but the msrp of the 1200 is 109.99 vs the 2200g’s 99.99