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 $500Updated: October 1st, 2018
Thermaltake Versa H15
mATX case, comes with 1x 120mm fan. Equipped with front USB 3.0 & 3.5mm audio jacks.
Gigabyte B360M DS3H
mATX size, LGA 1151 socket, Intel B360 chipset motherboard. 6x USB, 6x SATA + 1x M.2. View
Intel i3 8100
4-core/4-thread 3.6GHz CPU. Comes with a CPU cooler. View
EVGA GTX 1050 (GDDR5)
2GB GDDR5 VRAM, good performance in most games. 1x HDMI, 1x DVI-I and 1x DisplayPort.
EVGA 500W BQ
500W semi-modular power supply, 80% efficiency, 3-year warranty.
8GB Crucial Ballistix Sport LT
1x8GB 2666Mhz DDR4 RAM.
WD Blue 1TB HDD
1TB, 7200 RPM, 64MB cache, quiet & reliable!
- A small Phillips screwdriver
Size #2 works well as a general rule.
- An anti-static wristband
Optional but recommended.
- Patience 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.
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. 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 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. View
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+.
Case: 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!
Graphics 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.
System 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.
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 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.
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!
23″, 1080p 60Hz, 2ms response time – Great for gaming View
CM Storm Devastator 3 KB+M Combo
An awesome keyboard + mouse combo from Cooler Master for around $35! View
Easily one of the best gaming headset you can get for under $50, in my opinion. View
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.
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.
|Case||Thermaltake Versa H15|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte B360M DS3H|
|Processor||Intel i3 8100|
|Graphics||EVGA GTX 1050 2GB|
|Power Supp.||EVGA 500 BQ 80+ Bronze|
|RAM||8GB DDR4 (2666MHz)|
|HDD||WD Blue 1TB (7200RPM)|
- 1080p 60fps gaming
- Easy to upgrade and personalize
- Lots of USB ports
- Built in audio and Ethernet controllers