If you’re trying to build the absolute best budget gaming PC for $500, this is it. This budget gaming PC build will get you solid 1080p performance without destroying your wallet.
This $500 budget build is equipped with an AMD R3 3200G processor, an 8GB RX 580 graphics card, and 8GB of 2666MHz DDR4 RAM. This hardware lineup will ensure great 1080p gaming performance in almost every game out there. There’s simply no substitute for the power this build gives you without spending a lot more on a higher tier of parts.
One more bonus, depending on your needs, is that this build can be run without a graphics card! AMD’s R3 3200G is equipped with an integrated graphics chip (iGPU) that can handle 720p-1080p gaming, just in case you need to save up a bit more for a GPU, or none are available.
The final thing you want to keep in mind is that we’re still crippled by hardware shortages. While most parts are readily available, graphics cards can be difficult if not impossible to find right now. If you have any issues, ask me in the comment section and I’ll do my best to help!
With that all in mind, let’s get down to the build!
$500 Prebuilt Gaming PC Option
Since it can be very difficult to find good prebuilt desktops around this price range, we’ve had to opt for one that’s a little more expensive than the DIY build… But, not by a ton. However, this prebuilt is quite powerful for what you’re getting and it’s something to consider if you don’t want to build your own gaming PC.
The Best $500 Gaming PC Build
Updated: October 17th, 2021
Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L
A great entry-level mATX sized case. Features a large tempered glass side panel, multiple USB connections, and comes with 1x 120mm fan.
A good entry-level AM4 socket, A320 chipset, mATX motherboard (supports AMD Ryzen). Features 4x SATA data, 6x USB ports, basic onboard audio, and 2x DIMM slots for RAM.
AMD R3 3200G
AMD’s R3 3200G is a great entry-level choice that includes an onboard GPU. Its a 4 cores, 4 thread APU that can handle most games with ease.
Comes with a CPU cooler
XFX RX 580 GTX XXX Edition
The 8GB RX 580 is a great GPU choice at this level for the simple reason that it outperforms its competition by a big margin for the same price. Enough said.
Patriot Signature Premium 8GB 2666MHz (2x4GB)
2x 4GB sticks of C16 DDR4 RAM clocked at 2666MHz.
Thermaltake Smart 500W 50+ White
A good choice for an entry-level, 80+ White-rated, 500W non-modular power supply.
Crucial MX500 SSD (250GB)
A great 250GB SSD with blazing fast read and write times. This build can support up to a total of 4 storage drives.
You might be thinking that it'll take a lot of tools to build a PC... But that's not the case.
To build a PC, you generally only need 1 tool, a #2 Phillips screwdriver. However, there are a couple of other items that might help make the build go a little smoother.
- #2 Phillips Screwdriver
- Anti-static wristband
- Small flashlight
How To Build Your PC – Simplified Steps
- Install your power supply into your case
- Seat your CPU in your motherboard – make sure to close the retention bracket
- Mount your RAM – make sure they click!
- Mount your CPU cooler – Don’t forget thermal paste
- Install your motherboard’s rear I/O plate into your case’s rear I/O slot – it snaps in from the inside
- Mount the motherboard in the case (get your i/o ports through and use the middle standoff as a guide)
- Mount your graphics card onto your motherboard’s top PCIe x16 slot
- Mount and connect all storage drives
- Plug all power and data cables in where they’re required (storage, case, motherboard, graphics card, etc)
- Ensure that your power supply is turned on and press your “Power on” button
- Install your Operation System
- Install and update ALL drivers
It's often easier to watch someone else do it first. LinusTechTips has always made some of the best content on Youtube and also has one of the most comprehensive PC build walkthroughs that exist.
Complete Build Breakdown
This $500 budget gaming PC build is guaranteed to give you solid 1080p performance in every game out there. It won’t be able to max out the newest games, but it’ll be running them on higher settings than consoles typically do with higher FPS (frames per second) to boot.
Additionally, this build can be run without the graphics card in times of dire need. It’s not something I would necessarily suggest that you do, but it’s an option you have. The AMD R3 3200G is equipped with an integrated graphics chip (iGPU) capable of handling most games in 720p-1080p on low-medium settings.
The graphics card may be very difficult to find right now due to hardware shortages. With that in mind, I’ll include links to other RX 580 models below.
Case: The Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L is an awesome entry-level mATX case that gives you all of the necessary features that you’ll need for this build. That includes a spacious layout which lends to clean cable management and plenty of options for cooling.
The MasterBox Q300L comes with 1x 120mm fan by default which is just good enough for a basic cooling setup, but more fans can be added as needed. In fact, I would suggest adding at least one more 120mm fan like this one.
CPU & Cooler: AMD’s R3 3200G is a great entry-level APU that’ll have zero issues with gaming. It’s packing 4 cores and 4 threads with a base clock speed of 3.6GHz. This CPU does come with a CPU cooler, but you can expect it to run quite warm under load while using the stock cooler.
The R5 3200G is unlike a lot of other AMD CPUs in the sense that it carries an onboard GPU. AMD refers to this as an APU, or an Accelerated Processing Unit. This means that you don’t necessarily need a graphics card to get this build up and running. With that in mind, the on board GPU is not ideal for gaming.
MOBO: The Gigabyte GA-A320M-S2H is a solid mATX motherboard with all of the options required for this build. It’s equipped with 4x SATA ports for storage, 2x DIMM slots for RAM, and a total of 8 USB ports including Type-C.
GPU: When it comes to good entry-level graphics cards, the 8GB RX 580 is a great choice depending on the price you’re paying. If you can find one for around $150, that’s a good deal and definitely something I would recommend.
The XFX RX 580 GTX XXX Edition used in this build is one of the better options in terms of cooling and overall performance.
RAM: Ideally, you want to be running 16GB of RAM in 2020. However, with a build at this level it can be hard to justify spending much more on RAM right off the bat.
With that in mind, this build is running 8GB of 2666MHz DDR4 RAM from Patriot’s Signature Premium lineup.
PSU: Power supplies are undeniably one of the most important parts of a PC. Without a strong power supply running quality components, you run the risk of damaging your parts. At the very least, you want a power supply that is rated 80+ Bronze.
The PSU used in this build is a 500W 80+ White rated unit from Thermaltake’s Smart lineup. This supply is non-modular which means all cables are permanently attached and there is no room for expansion beyond using splitters.
Storage: This build is running a basic storage setup comprised of a single 250GB SSD. This isn’t a huge amount of storage, but it’s enough to get going and install a handful of games. Adding more storage drives is simple and only requires that you simply plug it in.
Keyboards, Mice, and Audio
Picking out a keyboard, mouse, headphones/speakers, and everything else you might need for a complete PC setup can be difficult. Not only that, but it can be completely overwhelming since there are just so many options available.
With that in mind, here are some suggestions which I feel are suited for this level of build. All of them have been hand-picked to compliment the build on this page.
A good full sized mechanical keyboard with RGB backlighting and a very attractive price point.
Logitech G502 HERO
One of the absolute best gaming mice you could buy. The G502 is a tried and true platform that’s only been improved to where it’s at now with the HERO.
HyperX Cloud 2
The HyperX Cloud 2 headset is undeniably one of the best you could own. They use audiophile-grade headphones with a high-quality detachable microphone.
This 400W set of satellites with a sub is what you buy when you want to annoy your neighbors, parents, or whoever else. You won’t be disappointed.
Operating System Options
When it comes to picking out the perfect operating system, you basically have 2 core choices: Windows, or Linux. Beyond that, there are multiple versions of both Linux and Windows which can make your decision more difficult than it needs to be. With that in mind, I’ll limit the choices to the best options.
When it comes to compatibility, Windows is always the easiest to setup and start gaming with. But, on the other hand, Linux is great for the more advanced users – the other upside is it’s completely free. However, Linux has the downside of not being compatible with some programs/games without some form of emulation – typically a VM, or Virtual Machine.
The most recent version of Microsoft’s operating system, Windows 10 is your best bet for across the board compatibility.
Ubuntu is a great, open source operating system rooted in Linux. It’s known as one of the most user-friendly and easiest to learn.
Internet Connection Options
Although this build comes with a wired Ethernet connection built-in, if you want or have to use a WiFi connection, you have 2 options to choose from; an internal or external WiFi adapter.
Typically, an external adapter is going to be good enough for some light gaming, but often won’t offer the same speeds as an internal option. However, internally-mounted WiFi adapters have a drawback, they take up space below your GPU that could be used for airflow.
Internal WiFi Adapter
TP-Link Archer T6E
The Archer T6E is an awesome internally mounted AC1300 WiFi router. It has 2 antennas for ensured connectivity and can operate on both the 2.4 and 5Ghz bands.
External WiFi Adapter
Netgear makes some of the absolute best WiFi-related hardware, this particular USB adapter is absolute no exception. Although it’s more on the pricey side of adapters, it’s worth the extra cost for the extra quality – trust me.
This $500 gaming PC build is more than guaranteed to rip through your favorite games without an issue. It’ll have no issues handling most games in 1080p on at least medium settings. With its R3 3200G, 8GB RX 580, and 8GB of 2666MHz DDR4 RAM, this build is going to blow your mind in terms of price vs performance.
At the end of the day, you would be hard-pressed to get a better build without spending a lot more on a higher tier of parts!
As always, if you have any questions about the builds or parts on this page, feel free to leave a comment below!
Browse Our Other Builds
If this build wasn’t exactly what you were looking for, we’ll definitely have something else in our lineup that you’ll prefer!