With a budget of around $500, we are always in a big dilemma: is it better to invest in a console or you’d rather assemble your gaming PC? Candidly speaking, it depends on your needs and preference.
If you only want to play your favorite games, the latest generation consoles, like a PS4 Pro or an Xbox One X, will be much better value for money than a $500 gaming PC configuration.
Conversely, if your use is not limited to gaming, and you want to do other stuff may be on the Internet, edit videos or access all your multimedia content, we recommend assembling a gaming PC with the $500. Here are the components you need to set up a cheap gaming rig with just $500.
What can a $500 gaming PC do?
Generally, a $500 gaming PC should allow you to play all the current games in the recommended settings. Obviously, for the 1440p and the maximum graphics will be out of the question with such a cheap set up. However, you can seamlessly play all your titles in 1080p while enjoying a medium to high graphical detail.
This cheap configuration is particularly ideal if you want to play heavy games, like CS: GO, League of Legends, World of Warcraft, e.t.c. However, with more recent titles, like Fortnite, it will reduce the detail of the graphics to keep a stable framerate but should perfectly be able to hold the road.
Why are PC Components so Expensive?
No need to hide the fact, the current market prices are not ideal if you want a $500 PC gaming configuration. For several months, the crypto-currency market has been causing a real increase in the price of components, particularly graphics cards. Prices have gone up, and you will need to lower your expectations. For example, in our configuration, we opted for a GTX 1050 rather than a GTX 1050 Ti.
Another crucial point to take into account is the memory (RAM). For almost a year, demand has been higher than supply, and prices continue to rise. While memory once had a minimal impact on the budget allocated to a PC gaming configuration, it can now take 20% of the total budget! It is difficult to ignore this point, and we will always recommend moving towards an 8GB RAM even though 4GB is considered the standard.
Components for a $500 Gaming PC Configuration?
CPU : AMD FX 6300
The six-core AMD FX 6300 is a good gaming CPU in the budget class. The processor has enough power reserves to accelerate current games. We opt for the boxed version, so we do not need a separate CPU fan. The AMD FX 6300 relies on the socket AM3 +, so we have to select a corresponding motherboard. DDR3 memory is supported, which is important when selecting the RAM modules.
We choose an ASUS Geforce GTX 960 with 4 GB DDR5 VRAM. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 graphics chip is good middle class and good value for money. Alternatively, you can also grab an AMD Radeon R9 380, which, in terms of price and performance, plays in a similar league (comparison). In the near future, entry-level models with Nvidia Pascal and AMD Polaris chip architecture will be available, so that a Graphics card update will soon be possible. Until more affordable graphics cards with more power become available, the GTX 960 is the GPU of choice for the gaming PC 500 dollars
RAM : Crucial Ballistix Sport 8 GB
We use 8 GB of DDR3 RAM in the gaming memory and take the Crucial Ballistix Sport RAM modules , which offer good value for money and are clocked up to 1600 MHz. The RAM kit consists of two 4 GB modules, leaving two slots free on the motherboard for a memory upgrade. Main memory offers basically little saving potential. For this gaming PC but basically 4 GB of RAM would be sufficient. The savings would be only about 15 €.
Motherboard : Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3
The Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 is a popular AM3 + motherboard for budget-class gamers and is widely used for a Gamer PC Build in this price range. As an alternative for the gaming motherboard , the ASUS M5A78L-M / USB3 would be an option , which is slightly more expensive. Basically, the AM3 + architecture will expire in a matter of months. Currently, however, the AMD CPUs offer the best price / performance ratio for a gamer PC in the € 500 price range.
Hard drive : Western Digital WD 1 TB Blue
A SSD / HDD hybrid or a pure SSD setup would be beyond the scope of this budget. So we decide with the Western Digital WD 1TB Blue for a conventional gaming hard drive , which scores with good price-performance ratio with this cheap gaming PC self-construction.
Case : Sharkoon MA-M1000
With the Sharkoon MA-M1000 we build on a gaming case , which offers reasonable quality and a cool look despite its low price. Two included LED fans (1 x 140 mm + 1 x 120 mm) ensure a stylish LED look and good air circulation. The compact PC case can accommodate micro-ATX and mini-ITX motherboards and offers space for graphics cards up to a length of 34.0 cm despite its compact size.
Power supply : MS-TECH MS-N450-SYS
With the MS-TECH MS-N450-SYS comes a cheap 430 Watt power supply in our 500 Dollars gaming PC. With the chosen components we do not have high wattage requirements. Our power supply calculator comes with a power requirement of 380 watts. You only have to resort to a gaming wattage with higher wattage, if you know that you want to retrofit more drives or add other consumers. But you have a little buffer anyway: For additional components and later upgrades, a watt reserve is planned.
No optical drive
An optical drive is no longer often used anyway and so we leave it completely in this self-construction away. In this case you have to install the operating system with a USB boot medium.
Recommended peripherals for the gaming PC self-made
With a cheap build like the 500 dollars gaming PC, it makes no sense to invest a fortune in the periphery. Anyway, the full HD makes sense with the monitor anyway. When choosing a gaming mouse and a gaming keyboard, we pay attention to the best possible price-performance ratio. Peripherals for the 500 Dollars gaming PC: Recommendations for DIY
The hardware recommendations for the gaming PC 500 Dollars we have put together based on our research. We try to find the best value for money within the budget of 500 dollarss and to select the best possible components.
You get a solid gaming PC that delivers good performance for gaming in Full HD. For WQHD, VR or even 4K, the cheap build, however, is not suitable.
In this price range you have to make some compromises in gaming performance.
If you are in full HD resolution anyway, you will get a reasonable gaming rig with enough power with the 500 Dollars build.