The Best Budget Gaming PC Build For $500 in 2018

Updated: July 9th, 2018BrantonBudget Builds697 Comments

best budget gaming pc build for 500

Looking to build yourself the best budget gaming PC for $500? Then this is it! Packing an Intel i3 8100, a GTX 1050, 8GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, you’ll be able to easily play your favorite games without an issue!!

This build is packing more than enough power to handle your favorite games in 1080p without an issue. It won’t be on ultra settings by any means, but the performance will be very comparable to (usually better than) modern consoles. Games like Battlefield 1, Fortnite, PUBG, and anything like that is going to run well on this build. Less graphically intensive games like CS:GO and things of that nature won’t have any problems running at 60fps+. 

If you were to travel down to any local store and spend around $500 on a budget desktop, you’re going to walk away with little more than a paperweight that struggles to run Minesweeper at 20fps in 720p, let alone any games that you actually want to play.

In comparison, building your own budget gaming PC will set you up with a desktop 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: July 9th, 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
$499
At Amazon
Order This Build!

Component prices are much higher than normal which has forced this build way out of skew in terms of budget. The only way to rectify that is to sacrifice an incredible amount of performance that in the end wouldn’t be worth it. 

Check out my $600 build instead as it’s much more balanced in terms of price vs performance. 

Add-ons/Upgrades

Add-ons like SSDs and optical drives are by no means necessary, but they may give you a better experience. 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. This version is a USB 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 are quickly becoming 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!

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 budget 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 all run well above 100fps.

best cheap gaming pc buildThe 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! 

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. 

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 buildThe 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! 

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 build8GB 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. 

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.

Extras

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

All-in-all, this cheap 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. 

This budget gaming beast is going to outpace the nextgen consoles by giving you noticeably higher frame rates and better graphics (usually). If you wanted even more gaming potential, your best bet would be upgrading the GTX 1050 to something more powerful like a GTX 1060 or RX 580. 

You really couldn’t ask for a better build on a $500 budget, and this one will completely blow your mind when you start loading up your favorite games!

If you have any questions ask me the comment section and I would be happy to help! 

$500 Gaming PC Build

This budget gaming PC build is perfectly suited for 1080p gaming in competitive shooters, eSports titles and indie games. In more demanding AAA games, this build can pull off medium settings with very enjoyable frame rates across the vast majority of games.

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
Get This Budget Build!

Component prices are much higher than normal which has forced this build way out of skew in terms of budget. The only way to rectify that is to sacrifice an incredible amount of performance that in the end wouldn’t be worth it. 

Check out my $600 build instead as it’s much more balanced in terms of price vs performance. 

About the Author
Branton

Branton

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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jake from state farmAnonymousBrantonAvery WAnonymous Recent comment authors
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

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Do i need to buy a cpu cooler

Riley
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Riley

Will I be able to Run Ark Survival Evoled?