To build the best possible gaming PC for under $500 you’ll need to know the most optimal parts that give you high performance per dollar spent. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to optimize your budget then you lucked out… this is an in-depth build guide for building the best possible gaming PC for under $500!
We’ll go over the best place to get your parts, how to put your rig together and why you should get the parts that we’re suggesting for 2020 and beyond.
Next-gen PC gaming is going to take quite a bit of GPU and CPU power to run games for the next few years…
But… for around the same price as the present day consoles you can build a custom gaming PC that OWNS! (Seriously.)
You’re About To Build a Beast
I mean, we’re talking MAX graphic settings on most games that are coming up. This build is worth every penny because PC gaming also comes with it’s many benefits. . . (Loads of free games, game modding support, an awesome community – etc.)
Trust me, you’ll never regret the day that you become an official PC gamer. 😉
So let’s get down to it.
How would an individual go about building a custom gaming computer for under $500? Seems impossible, right?
WRONG. Sure the initial price of a gaming computer can be spendy, but that’s the whole point of getting this particular build for this price. This build will run games much smoother and much faster than the Xbox One or the PS4!
Also if you don’t have all of the money required to get the full build then that’s fine! For me, I bought each part as I could afford them and then once I had every part with me I watched a video tutorial on how to build a computer while I was actually building my computer. Building the computer while watching the video helped out a TON.
Honestly, the video that best explains the process of building a custom computer is on Newegg TV. In the video, Paul from Newegg shows you step by step how to build a computer from scratch! The video is below so when you go to build your gaming computer you can just bookmark this post and refer to it here if you’d like!
How To Build A Computer
Be sure to follow this video series step by step as you build your PC. These are the same videos that I view before and during my building process!
It’s a great idea to understand exactly what you’re getting into so I suggest watching the series as many times as possible! 😛
Optimal Hardware For A $500 Budget PC
Last Updated: October 3rd, 2019
* = Optional part, final price DOES NOT include optional part.
I have found the following parts to be of the best value to build an epic gaming monster for under $500.
Each link will take you to Amazon’s listing for the certain part. Amazon has the world’s greatest customer service team and you are guaranteed a perfect transaction when doing business with Amazon.
Case – Zalman ATX Mini Tower
This is a cheaper, compact ATX mini tower case that’ll fit everything you need. It can fit cards up to 250-300mm which allows for future upgrades and you can have up to 4 cooling fans inside.
You’ll be able to have 1 5.25″ drive and up to 3 2.5″ drives. It’s a nice entry-level case that has a cool design to it.
Motherboard – ASRock B450M PRO4
With a B450 motherboard you’ll be able to have the option to overclock your CPU. It has 2x PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (one runs at x8), 2x PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots (two run at x4) and 1x PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slot.
There are 4 SATA3 ports and 4 slots for RAM. This is easily one of the best motherboards for the money when it comes to Ryzen 2000 series CPUs.
Processor – AMD Ryzen 5 2600
Ryzen is today’s best choice for budget processing power. You can’t beat the performance levels for this price. AMD’s Ryzen 5 2600 CPU is a 6-core CPU that runs at 3.4GHz (3.9GHz max boost).
It’s a great CPU for high quality 1080p gaming and it can also be used in heavy processing tasks with ease. This CPU will absolutely stand the test of time.
Video Card – XFX Radeon RX 570 4GB
The biggest downfall with using a RX 570 with a build like this is that the price goes up and down unpredictably. You can sometimes find a RX 570 for around $120-$130!
This one from XFX isn’t a very popular pick but it has the same performance as the other brands out there and they’re usually among the cheaper models. When it comes to 1080p performance, the RX 570 will be able to handle most of today’s titles at ultra settings with roughly 40 FPS average. Performance will vary depending on the game.
RAM is what helps with multi-tasking and general storage on overall PC usage but it also helps with gaming as well.
8GB is the industry standard and will continue to be the standard for a while longer yet. With a build like this, it’s best to go with a single 8GB stick that way you leave room for adding more memory down the road.
Hard Drive – Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD
1TB of hard drive space is going to be plenty for all of your games. Since this build uses a case where only one 5.25″ drive is able to be used, you’ll have to add solid state drives if you feel you need more space down the road.
You could also start out with a solid state drive. Check out this one from ADATA if you’re interested in doing that.
Power supply – EVGA 500W W1 80+
80+ certified 500 watts of power from EVGA is perfect for this build. If you ended up wanting to upgrade to a monster video card in the future, such as a 2080 Ti, you’ll need to look into getting a power supply with more wattage.
But for this build and upgrades that aren’t as significant as a 2080 Ti, this 500 watt power supply will be excellent.
* CD Drive (Optional) – Asus 24x DVD-RW
A CD drive is completely optional as you’ll be able to install Windows 10 through a USB drive if you wanted to.
For those of you that want to install Windows 10 the traditional way, this ASUS CD drive is one of the best out there. It’ll last forever, I’ve had mine for over 6 years now.
Estimated Final Price: $519.03
A note about the pricing, I know that this is almost $50 over the $500 budget range but these are the most optimal parts that you’d want to have a high quality experience.
This includes a newer generation processor, a hard drive that isn’t loud/off-brand and an optimal upgrade path moving forward.
The market is pretty crazy these days with RAM being the highest price it has ever been and graphics cards constantly being out of stock/over priced. I’m trying to keep everything updated as I’m able to. I highly recommend saving up that extra bit or downgrading a part or two to compensate for the pricing problem.
Though these days it can be tough to squeeze a custom gaming PC for $500, this build does the trick. Now the prices of the parts do rise and fall so even though at the time of this writing the build is around $540 it can still be lower or higher than that number, it just depends on the prices of each part.
With PC gaming evolving as much as it is with it’s hardware, it is currently kind of tough to get a custom gaming PC that will be up to good use for the next few years. Give the PC gaming industry some time and things will become much more cheaper as PC power increases.
Now although this build might be more than your budget you will just need to trust me on this one. This is THE build that you are looking for around $500.
This is going to give you an amazing PC gaming experience and so dishing out an extra bit to create it really shouldn’t phase you. If you were to cheap out on parts at this budget point, basically straying away from these parts, you’d be missing out on power that you simply don’t want to miss out on.
A quick note about the CPU, the stock cooler that the Ryzen 5 2600 comes with is going to be good enough for getting a bit of an overclock in.
This makes it a better choice than the previous Intel processor that was listed because it can be clocked at a higher speed making it even better for gaming and what not. Even if you’re not wanting to mess with overclocking, the above CPU will have a nice upgrade path for down the road as well!
We’ve recently changed the motherboard to the newer B450 type of board since the pricing and timing finally makes sense. This means that there won’t need to be any loaner CPUs from AMD or other methods of getting the BIOS to the right version before putting the build together. It’ll work right out of the gate.
Before this update we were using a B350 motherboard which showed “incompatibilities” when using online tools for putting the build together.
This was because the Ryzen 2000 series processors needed a BIOS update before being used but some of the B350 boards on the market had the update handled beforehand. But it was still a “gamble” of sorts when it came to the previous boards and these new 2000 series processors. You no longer need a BIOS update before putting the build together.
These new 2000 series processors from AMD are a step up from the previous generation but for a very similar price point. Higher performance without a cost boost? For sure!
I have changed the computer case to the Thermaltake one simply because it comes with a front USB 3.0 slot and this build can do USB 3.0. It’s ten dollars more expensive than your cheapest computer cases so if you’re really trying to get the best/lowest budget possible for your build then I would suggest grabbing this case instead.
If you want to browse through a bunch of different case choices then Click Here! For the most part, any mid tower case will work fine with this build. Feel free to ask me if you want to know if a specific case will work within the comments area below this post!
If you have the extra bit of room in your budget for it, a RX 580 would be the most optimal choice for the video card. But since the pricing is a bit off right now, it makes sense to pick up the RX 570.
The 4GB RX 570 will still provide a high enough quality experience with gaming at 1080p. Games like PUBG, Overwatch or Rainbow Six: Siege will still run at a high frame rate at a tweaked high setting.
You’ll want to upgrade the RX 570 down the road when you’re looking more into the realm of ultra settings at 1080p and/or if you’re looking into virtual reality gaming as a whole.
There simply isn’t enough video power with a RX 570 to be able to handle ultra settings on today’s games as well as VR.
A RX 570 will set you off of the budget by a little but if you can afford to do so then you’ll be able to increase your average frame rate with most of today’s titles by about 5-10 FPS more. This isn’t going to be an entirely essential thing to do though since you won’t be seeing much of a difference between 35 and 40 FPS in-game.
I’d suggest upgrading to a GTX 2060 or 2070 when the timing is right and when prices make sense again. Nobody really knows when that will be, hopefully it’ll be sooner rather than later.
Luckily, we’re still able to have enough storage for most of the titles you’d plan to play with this build. You’ll have 1TB worth of storage space and this will ensure that you have enough space for the big titles such as Fallout 4 or Divinity: Original Sin 2!
* When it comes to including a CD drive into your build you need to keep in mind that for new builders, it’ll be an easier process using one since you’ll be able to install your drivers with the CDs that come with the different parts as well as your operating system. You can also find the drivers online as well as boot from a USB drive for the OS as long as you know what you’re doing. Can save a bit of cash by learning how to do so.
A keyboard, mouse, and monitor are also needed to experience the beauty of the PC gaming world. If you’re currently looking for a good gaming keyboard then you should check out this awesome keyboard/mouse combination. It’s pretty slick, it looks unique and it has a nice price tag on it.
Keyboard/Mouse – CM Storm Devastator 3
You can check out the full review at the link provided. When it comes to an entry-level combination of peripherals that’ll cost around $30 then look no further than Cooler Master’s Devastator set! The mouse is good for 1080p, the keyboard feels great and they’ll both last a long time.
Monitor – Asus VS228H
Monitors are difficult to shop around for. If you’re looking for a 1080p monitor that has great picture and is around $100 then this Asus monitor is what you need. I’ve had mine for over 5 years now and it works good as new.
Optionally, if you’re looking for a controller to use for your new gaming PC then I’d suggest taking a look at my picks for the Best PC Gaming Controllers. I personally use the traditional Xbox One controller, but any of the controllers in that list will work just fine with this build and any other build with USB slots which I guess would be basically every PC out there! 😛
Operating System And Internet Connection
Choosing an operating system is entirely up to you. Windows 10 costs about $90 and nobody really wants to dish out that kind of cash for an operating system. You could always throw Linux on your computer for the time being until you save enough money or figure out a way to get Windows 10 for free on a burnt disk.
Linux is a free open source operating system and Steam works pretty well with it but not every game has been moved over to the Linux OS.
I will not show you how to get Windows for free simply because I do not promote piracy or illegal downloads in any way shape or form. But like I said above, it is entirely up to you. Google it if you really want to pirate Windows.
If you do decide to go with Windows, make sure that you grab the 64bit version so that you will be able to use all 8GB of your RAM.
A wireless network adapter is an optional PC part but it allows you to access your internet wirelessly through small antennas that stick out of the back of your PC.
Just plug em’ in, install the drivers and then you’re all set for accessing your internet.
Below are links to a network adapter that is suitable for Windows 10 and to the Windows 10 64bit operating system.
Windows 10 64bit – Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64bit
USB Wireless Network Adapter – Panda 300Mbps Wireless N USB Adapter
Now I know that I usually recommend going with a broadband PCI express wireless network adapter but right now there are none on the market that I know of that are compatible with Windows 10. It seems like many people are upgrading to Microsoft’s new OS and so it is important to make sure that you have something that is going to be compatible.
Based on the reviews on Amazon for the product, it has a great connection to wifi!
If you’re looking for a PC build that’ll cost you around $500 that’s going to handle most games on high graphic settings at 1080p and if you’re also looking for good frame rates at those settings then this is definitely the build for you.
This build will dominate most games coming out this year and you’re totally in luck for this next-gen experience if you go with this build.
If you have any questions about the build feel free to ask me in the comments area below! 😀