Gaming PC Build Under $500 (Archived Q4 2017)

This is an archived copy of our $500 Gaming PC Build. For the latest version, click here.

500-pc-gaming-build

Introduction

Many gamers are after a good gaming PC build for under $500, which is a reasonable budget that can get you a very decent gaming machine.

In this article we’ll provide you with the parts list that will construct a formidable gaming PC which has been custom-optimized for the $500 price range.

Every part has been selected to get you the optimal bang-for-buck in terms of graphics quality and chug-free processing.

If you’re interested in this gaming build, be sure to read our commentary on the individual parts and why we think each of these is a good fit in this build.

We’ll touch on optional extras and also give a run-down on the upgradability of the recommended hardware, so you’re all set for now as well as the future.

We really feel this particular build beats most gaming PC builds under $500, which often tend to sacrifice a good processor for graphics card (at the loss of game speed) but judge for yourself – without any further ado, here is our $500 gaming PC build:

Parts List

Last Updated: April 2016

Component
Description
Price
Graphics Card
EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Superclocked
CPU
Intel Core i3-6100
Memory
41U7Fm0SRQL
Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB
Motherboard
71bVkwbsoIL._SL1000_
Gigabyte GA-H110M-A
Storage
500GB Western Digital Blue HDD
Case
 Corsair Carbide Series SPEC01
Power Supply
EVGA 500 W1

 

 

Graphics Card

For this build, we’ve chosen an EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Superclocked edition. This particular version includes a mild factory overclock to squeeze out additional power without compromising system stability or producing excessive heat.

This card is part of Nvidia’s 1000 generation of cards and support a horde of excellent features including:

  • Microsoft Direct X 12, Nvidia MFAA, Nvidia Adaptive V-Sync and much more.
  • Increased clock speed – Stock: Base 1290 MHz, Boost: 1392 MHz. Superclock: Base: 1354 MHz, Boost: 1468 MHz.
  • 4GB of dedicated GDDR5 video memory.
  • Low power consumption, meaning less heat and a less demand on your power supply.
  • Ports: 1 x DVI-D, 1 x HDMI and 1 x Display Port.
  • Nvidia claimed, 1080p gaming at 60FPS!

 

CPU

With some games becoming increasingly more CPU demanding it’s important to not under spec your CPU. Since this is a budget gaming build it’s also important to not over spend unnecessarily and blow out your budget. With these points in mind, we believe we’ve chosen the best gaming CPU for the money in this price bracket, the Intel i3 6100.Intel i3-6100

 

There’s a few key reasons why we believe this CPU is the ideal choice at this price point.

  • Dual core, 3.70 GHz – a very good clock speed without having to overclock.
  • Fantastic performance in games at this price point.
  • Includes Hyperthreading (acts as a quad core in some applications)
  • It’s based on Intel’s latest “Skylake” architecture meaning if in the future you find you need more CPU power, you can easily upgrade to a quad core i5 or even an i7 without changing your motherboard!

Memory

8GB of Corsair Vengeance LPX make the cut for this build with the following specs:Corsair Vengeance LPX

  • DDR4 – the latest development in PC memory using less power and generating less heat.
  • CAS latency of 14 (CL14).
  • 2400MHz
  • 8GB single stick.

While the latency and speed of memory is not particularly important in a gaming build, it’s still nice to have some quality RAM installed. Installing a single 8GB stick instead of two 4GB sticks means you have room to install more memory later if you ever find you need it.

 

Motherboard

Again, this Motherboard is another one of our popular choices. The Gigabyte GA-H110M-A board is reliable, has a solid feature set and is excellent value.

This motherboard provides the basic connectivity you’ll need to support all of your components in this build and also has a super easy to use UEFI BIOS. In fact, it has two which means you have a backup BIOS if anything goes wrong with the first.

 

  • LGA1151 socket
  • Form factor: Micro ATX (22.6cm x 17.4cm)
  • Chipset: Intel H110 Express
  • Slots: 1x PCI-Express 3.0 x16 Slot, 2x PCI-Express 2.0 x1 Slots
  • SATA: 4x SATA3 6Gb/s Ports
  • Memory Support: 2 x DDR4 DIMM; MAX 32GB; Support for DDR4 2133 MHz memory modules
  • Onboard graphics: 1 x HDMI port
  • Onboard Gigabit network LAN module: Realtek GbE LAN (10/100/1000 Mbit)

 

Case


We’re going for the Corsair Carbide series SPEC01 Gaming Case. We think this case looks great, has a solid build quality and will easily fit all of the components in this build. It also comes with a red LED case fan to keep your components cool.

  • This case comes with a single 120mm red LED case fan with the ability to add another four fans.
  • Huge side viewing window to show off your computer hardware.
  • Can fit a graphics card up to 420mm in length! Plenty for this build.
  • Basic front panel controls and ports in a convenient high position including one USB3.0 and one USB 2.0 port.

If you want to customize the appearance of your case, head over to our post on computer case lighting for some ideas.

Power supply

Finally, to power all of your gear we’ve included an EVGA 500W power supply. This offers plenty of power for your new system with enough capacity to support futureEVGA 500W additions and other extras.

 

  • Single 12v+ rail – this offers the most compatibility & reliability for powering demanding components.
  • 80+ Bronze certification – 80+ certification insures a quality and efficient power delivery meaning more power, less heat!
  • 3 year warranty

 

 

 

Buy this system on Amazon »

 

 

Optional Extras

In our budget builds we typically don’t include optical drives – e.g. DVD / BluRay drives. These days, many people install their operating system (usually Windows) via a USB drive and games via digital download (e.g. Steam). If this is what you’ll be doing, check out our blog post on how to install Windows 10 from a bootable USB. If you’d rather use an optical drive or just find them handy to have we’ve included an option below which will suit most builds.

 

 

Blu-Ray – LG Electronics 14x Internal BDXL Blu-Ray Burner

LG WH14NS40

 

 

DVD – Lite-On 24X SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive

Lite-On IHAS124-14

 

 

Case Fans – Cooler Master SickleFlow 120

You may also want to add some extra airflow to your case, especially if you live in a hot area. These Cooler Master fans are a good balance between airflow, noise and price. They also come in a choice of several colors so you can try to match any other lighting you may want to add to your case if you like.

Cooler Master SickleFlow 120

Performance

A $500 custom gaming PC can be a tight budget to work to, but the build that we’ve put together here definitely optimizes every dollar that you spend. When choosing computer parts, it’s important to have the right kind of cost allocation to each piece of hardware.

With a gaming build, you want to max out your graphics card performance as much as you can, without compromising on processor power or system memory. It can be a difficult balance, but the parts list we’ve compiled is an excellent template (or starting point, if you want to customize it further).

If this is your first gaming PC you’ll definitely get an awesome experience out of it, particularly if you haven’t been playing on a customized gaming build before. We have reviewed pre-built ‘gaming’ computers (the CyberpowerPC Gamer Ultra GUA3100A comes to mind) with a similar overall price and when we looked at the hardware performance it was lacking due to a poor choice of graphics card. In many cases, building your own computer will own any similarly priced pre-built system in terms of performance, especially since it gives you the flexibility to customize your hardware.

Let’s Talk Game Titles

This build exceeds the recommended minimum hardware for most popular titles like Battlefield, Skyrim, GTA V, Counterstrike GO, Witcher 3, World of Warcraft, Black Ops 3, Starwars Battlefront, Fallout 4, etc., so you’ll be able to play pretty much most of the games you’d ever want to without chugging or lag.  For some of the more intensive games, don’t expect to be able to max out settings at 1080p or higher resolutions and still get super-smooth play though – you may need something more highly specced like our $800 gaming build or higher (depends how much you want to spend).

That being said, if you are coming from a pre-built system or older hardware, this build will be a very nice upgrade. The parts we’ve chosen should be good for at least a few years, but if you ever do find the need to upgrade individual components, it’s easy enough to do so due to our choice of a very versatile motherboard and CPU socket.

 

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