It’s a common misconception that building your own gaming PC can cost a small fortune. While it may be true that a gaming PC at the higher end of the scale will cost more than a console upfront, it’s not true that a gaming desktop has to cost you the earth.
Today we’re going to show you how to build your own gaming PC for under $500. We’re also going to cover its specs and what you can expect from your new gaming PC.
That’s right! You can build your very own gaming PC from as little as $500. It will even give you an arguably better performance than a PS4 or Xbox One!
We’ve listed all the components you’ll need for your new gaming PC build down below. These will be ideal for those of you who are trying to stick to a budget, but still want to play your favorite games. These components should be able to handle medium resolution settings on a 1080p monitor.
Building a PC for under $500 overview
It may not surprise you to learn that building your own PC from scratch will work out much cheaper than if you buy a pre-built model. This is because you can pick and choose which components go into your PC case.
Building your very own PC isn’t that hard to do, either!
Of course, if you don’t want to build your own gaming PC, you can opt for a pre-built model. However it’s worth remembering that you won’t be able to choose the components you get in these desktops.
You will have to spend additional money if you want to swap anything out for a better performing alternative. We’d recommend opting for the Kepler gaming PC for a similarly priced pre-built model.
A gaming PC that you build yourself will have much better components. This particular gaming PC can be built for around $500, and comes with a range of great specs to give you the more immersive gaming experience that you’re looking for.
It’s also worth remembering that prices can differ for certain components depending on supply and demand of certain materials.
The great specs include an Intel Core i3-10110f quad-core (eight-thread) processor, 8GB of DDR4 memory, a GTX 1650 Super graphics card, and a 480GB SSD. This custom built gaming PC will be able to max out the high frame rate of non-demanding games such as Fortnite, League of Legends, Rocket League, Valorant, and other games of this type.
What’s really great about this gaming PC build is that it can also give you 60 FPS or higher for your favorite more intensive games, too.
Our custom built gaming PC is the ideal choice for those gamers who want to build their very own model without spending a small fortune.
This will give you a solid entry level gaming PC that will be much better than most of the pre-built gaming PCs available on the market. It should also allow you to play all of your favorite games without too many issues.
This particular gaming PC build also comes with a 650W power supply. This should easily allow you to upgrade for a higher end graphics card in the future.
All in all, if you’re looking for a powerful machine that won’t cost you an arm and a leg to put together, this is the gaming PC build for you. We’ve listed all of the parts you’ll need for your new gaming PC in the graph below.
Parts list for a $500 build
|Processor||Intel Core i3-10100f||Check Price on Amazon|
|Motherboard||ASUS H410M||Check Price on Amazon|
|Graphics card||MSI GTX 1650 Super||Check Price on Amazon|
|Memory||Patriot Signature 8GB||Check Price on Amazon|
|Solid State Drive||ADATA 480GB||Check Price on Amazon|
|Case||Zalman T6||Check Price on Amazon|
|Power supply unit||Gigabyte 650W||Check Price on Amazon|
|Operating system||Windows 10||Check Price on Amazon|
Frequently Asked Questions About Building This PC For Under $500
Below we’ll cover some of the questions that you may be thinking about after seeing the components we’ve selected for our gaming PC build under $500.
Why not choose AMD’s new APU?
The new AMD Ryzen Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) is one of the more popular choices of processing units that those working with a budget usually opt for.
This is because it can bring your build in under a certain budget. The integrated graphics are also powerful enough to cope with most games when they’re playing on the lowest settings.
So while it’s true that AMD’s Ryzen APUs are an excellent choice if you’re looking for a budget processor and graphics combination, the Intel Core i3-10100f and GTX 1650 Super combination give you a more powerful pairing.
The components we’ve picked for our build will deliver a much more impressive performance overall than an AMD Ryzen APU and Ryzen 5 3400G combination.
APUs can of course make a great choice if you’re looking for an even cheaper custom gaming build. But to get the better results from your gaming, we think that our selected GPU/CPU combo is the better choice out of the two.
Ryzen 3 3100 vs Intel Core i3-10100f
It is of course a difficult decision when it comes to choosing between the impressive Ryzen 3 3100 and the Intel Core i3-10100f. You may even be thinking to yourself that the Ryzen 3 3100 is the better processing unit.
However, it mostly comes down to market price and general availability. At the time of writing, the Intel i3-10100f was on the whole much easier to find, and not to mention cheaper than the Ryzen 3 3100. There is also a whole range of affordable motherboard options that are suitable for use with the Intel i3-10100f more readily available.
We found that the Ryzen 3 3100 tended to fluctuate in and out of stock too frequently. It is also slightly more expensive than the Intel i3-10100f. This might not seem much at first glance, but it will all add up once you’ve bought all of your other components.
So yes, you could argue that both of these processors are suitable for your needs. However, the Intel i3-10100f is the better choice out of the two at the moment.
GTX 1650 vs RX 580 vs GTX 1650 Super
It’s true that the GTX 1650 and the RX 580 are great choices when it comes to building your own gaming PC. However, at the time of writing, the GTX 1650 Super is the best graphics card at a reasonable price point. This makes it the better option out of the three for your custom gaming PC.
Our preferred graphics card also gives you an impressive performance. It’s able to battle on par with the RX 580 for the majority of games, and it also beats its cousin the GTX 1650 in terms of performance.
Providing that the GTX 1650 Super is able to stick to this lower price point, it makes the perfect choice for your gaming PC under $500.
It’s also worth noting that either of the alternative options are a great choice. If you prefer the RX 580, you can of course opt for this instead. Or if you wanted to cheapen the overall cost of your PC build, you can always opt for the GTX 1650 instead of the GTX 1650 Super.
Personally, we would stick with the GTX 1650 Super, but it does of course come down to personal preference and what you like to get out of your graphics card!
Why does the price differ from $500?
Unfortunately the downside to trying to build your own gaming PC is that the components can fluctuate in price. The prices won’t stay the same as they appear at any one time because of how the demand for certain materials differs.
So you shouldn’t be surprised if at any one time the prices will push this custom gaming PC build under or over the $500 limit. They should stay in the same region, but it will be dependent on the availability of the components that you’re after. The price could even be vastly different in just a couple of hours’ time!
If the components that we’ve highlighted go over your budget, you may need to adjust the models you’re after. This should help you to bring the price of your build down. Your other option will be to be patient and wait for the price to come down again, but there’s no way of knowing when that will be.
At the time of writing, the easiest way to lessen the price is to swap out the graphics card. The GTX 1650 Super can easily be switched for the GTX 1650, RX 560, or even the RX 570.
Windows 10 isn’t included in the price?
You may have noticed that we haven’t included the price of Windows 10 in our gaming PC build. There are a couple of reasons for this. You will of course need an operating system for you to use your new gaming PC build to play your favorite games.
Of course, the easiest option is to pay for a Windows 10 license. However, there are a couple of cheaper alternatives that you can use to get an operating system installed on your PC build.
We’ve covered three alternative solutions to paying for a Windows 10 license upfront or show you how to get it for a discounted price.
Linux as an alternative
It’s important to note that Windows 10 isn’t the only operating system that you can use for your custom gaming PC build. It is of course one of the more readily available systems, but you can instead opt for the free Linux-based operating system instead.
The only downside to Linux is that it isn’t able to support as many PC based games as Windows 10 can. However, if you really don’t have the money to pay for that Windows 10 license, Linux offers a great free alternative for you to use in the meantime.
It’s an excellent starting point to get your gaming PC up and running until you can afford the Windows 10 license you need for your favorite PC games.
Cheap Windows 10
You should also be aware that you don’t necessarily have to pay the full asking price for Windows 10. If you were to go straight to Microsoft, you would of course have to pay between $90-$100 upfront.
However, you can find a copy of Windows 10 on sites such as Kinguin.net. This can have Windows 10 keys for as little as $30.
There is some question as to whether sites such as these are legit, so it’s always best to exercise some caution when you purchase keys from here.
If you don’t mind the somewhat morally questionable nature of sites such as Kinguin, then you should make sure to opt for the Kinguin Buyer’s Protection to keep yourself protected.
It’s also worth noting that if you serve in the military or are a college student, you can get Windows 10 at a discount. The Microsoft store will offer you a 10% discount when you buy Windows 10 directly from them.
Getting Windows 10 for free
Surprisingly you can also get a copy of Windows 10 for free. You can head straight to the Microsoft Windows download page to find the Windows 10 media creation tool.
Download this straight to a USB drive, and you can boot this from your new computer. This should allow you to install a copy of Windows 10 onto your new gaming PC without having to use a key.
Plus you’ll actually get a copy of Windows through this method! The only issue with this free version of Windows is that it won’t be officially licensed until you buy a legitimate key. Some people argue that you don’t actually lose much in terms of functionality if you don’t register this copy of Windows, though.
Another option is that you can carry on with building your gaming PC as normal and install this free version of Windows 10. This allows you to use a version of Windows so that you can play your favorite games until you can save up for an official license.
It will also give you an extra $100 or so that you can spend on your PC build, which will give you much better performance overall.
Additional accessories for your new gaming PC
So now that you’ve got all the essentials that you need to build your gaming PC, you will need to think about the additional accessories you will need to go with it.
These will of course include a monitor, a mouse, and a keyboard. It would be a bit difficult to try and play your favorite games without one of each to go with your new gaming PC build!
You can find plenty of 1080p monitors to suit a budget that will still work extremely well with the gaming PC build for under $500 that we’ve detailed above. There is also a range of keyboards and mice that will be perfect for your needs.
We’ve listed our top picks for you down below.
Best budget monitor
As much as you might like it to be, your new gaming PC build for under $500 won’t be suitable with 4K gaming. This is because it can’t push a 144Hz 1440p monitor.
Remember that even though this is a cheaper alternative, and you can play your favorite games on it, it still won’t be able to cope with the more demanding games that use higher resolutions and graphics.
To get the right monitor for your new gaming PC, you should opt for a 1080p monitor. This should be more than a match for your new gaming PC build, as it will be able to perfectly handle games at 1080p.
You should be able to find plenty of affordable 1080p monitors on the market. Even if you don’t already have one ready for you to use, you should be able to find one that doesn’t cost you a small fortune.
If you’re not sure where to get started, we can highly recommend the Acer G226HQL 21.5-inch LED monitor.
Best budget gaming keyboard
Your keyboard is a very important aspect of your gaming experience. You’ll be hard pressed to do anything if you don’t have one attached to your computer!
You may think that a gaming keyboard is more of a luxury item in terms of PC gaming. However, there are plenty of affordable options on the market so that you can game properly.
If you’re looking for a fairly inexpensive gaming keyboard that won’t break the bank, we’d suggest opting for the Redragon K552 KUMARA. This particular keyboard will be the perfect combination with your new $500 gaming PC build.
Best budget gaming mouse
It’s incredibly important that you have a high quality gaming mouse in your possession. This is because if you can’t handle your mouse properly, it will affect your gaming. You won’t be able to reach the high scores that you’re after if your mouse is of poor quality.
So it’s always important to opt for a better quality mouse. You should choose a mouse that has a good range of DPI adjustments as well as several programmable buttons.
These should help you to better tune your mouse to suit your preferences. So you’ll be able to smash through your favorite games!
We’d highly recommend opting for the Redragon M711 Cobra gaming mouse.
So there you have it! You can indeed build a gaming PC for under $500. The custom gaming PC build that we’ve detailed above should be perfectly suitable for a 1080p monitor. You can even swap out any components as and when you need to over time to increase the power of the PC build itself.
This is of course one of the main advantages in opting for a gaming PC over a console. You can’t exactly upgrade aspects of a console. This system will give you an excellent entry point into PC gaming if you’re trying to stick to a budget.