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:
Last Updated: April 2016
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:
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.
There’s a few key reasons why we believe this CPU is the ideal choice at this price point.
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.
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.
If you want to customize the appearance of your case, head over to our post on computer case lighting for some ideas.
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
DVD – Lite-On 24X SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive
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.
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.