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The Best $500 Gaming PC Build for 2024

This $500 build is the perfect budget 1080P build.

$500 Gaming PC Build for 2024
While it’s true that PC gaming is more expensive to get into than console gaming, it is not true that you have to spend thousands on a high-end computer in order to start gaming on a PC.

If you’re willing to build your own computer, you can spend as little as $500 to get a system that will deliver solid performance on a 1080P display. Fortunately, building your own PC isn’t that difficult. Check out our Step-By-Step build guide to see how it’s done.

In this guide, we’ve provided you with a list of parts you can use to build a powerful gaming desktop for 1080P gaming.

Watch Us Build This PC

Or, watch it on YouTube here.

How We Choose

We’ve been building computers for nearly 20 years now and we’ve been helping others build their own PCs on Tech Guided for over a decade. Through the guides and information on our website and YouTube channel, we’ve helped thousands of gamers build their own PCs.

We use our years of hands-on experience with PC hardware and knowledge of the component market to find the best parts at the best prices so that you can build the most powerful system for your budget.

You can see our thought process behind choosing components by watching our Beginner’s Guide to Choosing Parts series, or you can watch us build PCs and discuss PC hardware on YouTube.

Important: For help choosing parts or for any questions you might have, check the FAQ section below, or ask a question in the comment section.

If you want to browse more affordable PC build options, check out our Cheap Gaming PC Build guide.

Part List for $500 PC Build

AMD Ryzen 5 5500 ASRock A520M-HDV ASRock Challenger Intel ARC A580 MOROVOL P5
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 5500

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MOBO Gigabyte A520M

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GPU ASRock ARC A580

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RAM TEAMGROUP 16GB

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SSD KLEVV 512GB

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CASE MOROVOL P5

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PSU MSI 650W

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Grand Total: $470-$530

PRICE ON AMAZON »

*Component prices fluctuate daily. Click ‘Price on Amazon’ to see the most-up-to-date price.

**You’ll need an operating system. Windows 11 is free to download but a license costs ~$125. However, you can still install Windows for free and it will work indefinitely without activating it—there will just be a watermark at the bottom left of your desktop asking you to activate it.

$500 PC Build Overview

This $500 gaming PC build comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 5500 six-core processor, a Sparkle ARC A580 graphics card, 16GB of TEAMGROUP’s 3600MHz DDR4 memory, and a 512GB NVME SSD from KLEVV.

How good is this array of hardware?

Benchmarks

The combination of the Ryzen 5 5500, ARC A580, and the 16GB of RAM will allow you to play most games on higher settings on a 1080P monitor.

For non-demanding popular titles like Fortnite, Minecraft, Roblox, League of Legends, Valorant, Rocket League, or older games like Skyrim, etc. this PC will run then on medium-or-higher settings with a high framerate.

This build will also work for running more-demanding titles (like Assassin’s Creed, Cyberpunk 2077, God of War, Elden Ring, etc.) as well and as you can see in the benchmarks below, you can even run those kinds of games on higher or ultra settings with a playable framerate.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find that kind of performance out of a $500 prebuilt PC.

It’s the perfect cheap gaming PC for gamers who don’t have a ton of money to spend, but who want a solid entry-level machine that will allow them to play their favorite games.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

AC Valhalla

Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 Benchmark for $500 Build

Baldur’s Gate 3

$500 System BG3 Benchmark

Palworld

$500 Build - Palworld Benchmark

Fortnite

Fortnite - $500 Build Benchmark

Quality Case & PSU for Upgrades

MSI MAG A650BN

This system also comes with an MSI 650W 80 PLUS Bronze-rated power supply, which will allow you to upgrade to a mid-tier GPU in the future with no problems.

And, you get the MOROVOL P5 case that has a tempered glass side panel, a full length PSU shroud, will offer plenty of room for a larger graphics card, and, with its four preinstalled fans, will provide excellent airflow.

Ultimately, if you’re looking to get into PC gaming without dropping thousands of dollars on a new machine, the part list below will get the job done for you…

Why Build A PC?

Why You Should Build A PC

Build FAQ

If you’re still on the fence about building your own PC, or you have questions before you make your decision you have three options:

  1. Ask a question in the comment section below
  2. Scroll through the FAQ below for answers to some common questions

The section below also highlights some of the decisions we made in this part list as well as goes over future upgrades you can make to take this system to the next level.

1. How Do I Build This PC?

You will need to assemble all of the individual components you have purchased into a working PC. Fortunately, this process is not difficult! And, it’s a lot of fun. If you’ve never built a PC before, use our Step-by-Step PC building guide to walk you through the process.

How to Build A Gaming PC: Step-by-Step

2. Why Not Go With an APU?

AMD’s Ryzen APUs are a popular processor option for many budget gamers. Their integrated graphics are good enough to run most games on at least lower settings. However, while AMD’s new APUs are solid alternatives to a budget GPU/CPU combo, at the $500 price point, an AMD Ryzen 5 5500 paired with an ARC A580 will be more powerful than AMD’s most powerful APU.

I’ve put together a more thorough write-up on the battle of APUs vs CPUs and that should help clear up when the new APUs make sense over a traditional CPU/GPU combo. As of right now, we use the Ryzen 5 5600G in our $300 PC build.  We’ve also used APUs in our $400 gaming PC in the past, too, but currently that’s another budget-range where it makes more sense to go with a CPU and dedicated graphics card.

3. Ryzen 5 5500 or i3-12100F?

It’s a tough decision in choosing the AMD Ryzen 5 5500 over the Intel Core i3-12100F. Both are solid performers for their price and they both offer excellent CPU upgrade paths.

Right now, we’ve given the edge to the Ryzen 5 5500 over the i3-12100F. They both cost about the same when you consider the price of a motherboard and they both perform similarly as well. However, the Ryzen 5 5500 comes with a better stock cooler out of the box and offers a bit more multi-core performance. Not to mention, with AMD releasing new X3D CPU SKUs, the AM4 socket will offer you some nice upgrade options in the future.

However, you could easily opt for the i3-12100F and an H610 chipset motherboard in this build as well. But, we like the Ryzen 5 5500 a bit more at the moment.

4. Why Only An ARC A580?

In the past, we’ve been able to fit a much more powerful GPU into the $500 build. However, with higher GPU prices, the ARC A580 is currently the only video card option that makes sense.

Sparkle ARC A580 ORC OC

You could forego a dedicated graphics card altogether and opt for one of AMD’s APUs (namely, the Ryzen 5 5400G or the Ryzen 7 5700G). The cost would be similar and, while you might not get as much overall GPU performance right now, you would be setup well to upgrade in the future, because all you would need to do is add a higher-end graphics card.

We opted for the Ryzen 5 5500/ARC A580 combo, though, as it will offer more performance now.

And, as mentioned above, if you can find a good deal on a GPU better than the A580, you could drop the CPU down to a Ryzen 5 4500 to make room for it.

5. Why Is the Price Higher Than $500?

Even when cryptocurrency miners aren’t driving up graphics card prices, or there are global supply chain issues, or we’re seeing the highest inflation in decades, individual PC hardware prices fluctuate on a daily basis.

So, if I update this guide one day and the total price is under $500, it’s possible that the next day—or even within just a couple of hours—the price could be higher (or lower.)

If you see the prices on this guide go over $500 and you can’t afford to go over that budget, you’ll need to alter the build a bit in order to keep the price down.

While I do try to update this guide on a regular basis, if you want to see a version of this build that gets updated more frequently, check out our Affordable PC Build guide that I linked to at the top of this page.

Also Read:

6. Why Isn’t Windows 11 Included in the Price?

Yes, it’s true…

We didn’t include Windows 11 in the price of this build.

But, we do have a few of reasons for that. You will need an operating system for your new build. And, while you can just pay ~$125 for a Windows 11 license from Microsoft, there are ways to get around paying that much.

At ~$125, a copy of Windows will drastically reduce the kind of performance you can get out of a $500 budget.

So, below, I’ve listed three different ways you can either forego purchasing Windows 11, or get it at a discounted price so that you can allocate more money to the actual hardware in your build.

Also Read: How to Install Windows 11 Without a Microsoft Account

You Could Always Go With Linux!

First, Windows 11 isn’t 100% necessary in order to build a gaming PC. You could, instead, go with a free Linux-based system.

However, the downside of Linux is that it doesn’t support nearly as many games as Windows.

But, if you’re strapped for cash, you could always go the Linux route to start with. And, then when you have some more money, you can purchase a Windows key and switch over.

Windows 11 on the Cheap!

The second reason why we did not include the cost of Windows 11 in the build is that there are ways to get it for less than the full retail price (~$125).

Sites like Kinguin.net and G2A.com have Windows 11 keys for as low as $30. And, we have purchased copies of Windows 11 from Kinguin with no problems.

However, there is some risk in dealing with Kinguin or G2A. For more information on that matter, check out our guides on whether or not Kinguin is legit and whether or not G2A is legit.

The short answer is that Kinguin and G2A should probably be avoided for Windows keys, but if you don’t mind the somewhat blackhat nature of it all, it is an option that a lot of people choose. (And, if you do purchase a Windows 11 key from Kinguin, make sure you add the Kinguin Buyer’s Protection.)

If you don’t like the idea of purchasing a Windows key from a third-party site, if you’re a college student or you serve in the military, you can get Windows 11 for 10% off through the Microsoft store.

Windows 11 for Free?!

Finally, it is actually incredibly easy to get Windows 11 for free. In fact, you can go straight to Microsoft’s website and download Windows for free. If you download it to a USB, you can boot from that drive on your new computer, and install Windows with no key necessary.

And, you’ll actually get a working copy of Windows.

The problem is that the free version of Windows won’t be licensed unless you register it with a legit key.

However, a lot of people have reported that you don’t really lose much if you never end up registering your copy of Windows.

And, you could always build your system now, install the free copy of Windows 11, and use that until you can afford to purchase a full license. That would give you an extra $125 to spend on your CPU/GPU combo now, and that could potentially give you a lot more performance to start out.

Is it the most ethical way to go about it? Tough to say. Microsoft doesn’t stop you from adding it to your PC for free, though. And, with such a tight budget, that extra $125 would mean a significant downgrade in components. So, I say skip purchasing a Windows license so that you can maximize your in-game performance now.

7. How to Upgrade this Build

The main goal with all budget PC builds is to eventually upgrade them so that they offer ideal in-game performance.

There are three main ways to upgrade a PC to get better gaming performance out of it:

  1. Upgrade your GPU
  2. Upgrade your CPU
  3. Add more/upgrade your RAM

First, Upgrade Your GPU

In this $500 build, the first thing I would upgrade would be the graphics card. It’s going to have the biggest impact on your in-game performance (as the Ryzen 5 5500 is an adequate processor for 1080P gaming.)

The following GPUs would make for a good upgrade:

  • RTX 4070
  • RX 7700 XT
  • RX 7800 XT

Just note, though, that an extreme GPU upgrade is going to require that you upgrade the 650-watt power supply in this build. You could always alter this build to feature a higher-end power supply so that you can easily swap in a better graphics card down the road. But, that will definitely take you over the $500 budget.

But, something like the RTX 4070 requires a minimum of a 650-watt power supply, so you will have some solid upgrade options with MSI power supply we’ve included in the build.

Second, Upgrade Your CPU

The AMD Ryzen 5 5500 is by no means a high-end processor. But, considering that most modern games rely more heavily on GPU performance than they do on CPU performance, the 5500 will work just fine for 1080P gaming for the forseeable future.

So, it would make sense to hold off on upgrading the 5500 as it won’t be a significant bottleneck even after you’ve upgraded your GPU.

Still, though, it would be good to upgrade it eventually as there are more powerful options out there. With the motherboard in this build, the following processors would make worth upgrades:

  • AMD Ryzen 7 5700X3D
  • AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D

Of the two, and since this build comes with a budget-oriented A520 chipset motherboard, we’d probably choose the more power-efficient 5700X3D when it came time to upgrade.

Third, Add More Storage

The 512GB KLEVV NVME SSD should hold you over for a time. But, most modern gamers can fill up 512GB of storage quick. So, after you’ve upgraded your GPU and CPU, it would be a good idea to add a second SSD so that you have plenty of space to hold all of your favorite games.

Conclusion: A $500 PC Build Can Give You A Lot More Than You Think

The $500 gaming PC build listed in this guide is capable of playing any game on a 1080p monitor. And, through a few different upgrades, it can transform from a decent entry-level gaming PC, into a high-end gaming desktop.

And, really, that is one of the main advantages of going with a gaming computer over a console. Whereas a console’s hardware can’t be upgraded, a computer can be upgraded and added to as your demands as a gamer grow.

Ultimately, this cheap gaming PC build will serve any budget-oriented gamer well as a starter system that they can grow into.

Get Help With Your Build: If you need help putting together a part list for your build post your questions in the comment section!

Hey, I’m Brent. I’ve been building PCs and writing about building PCs for a long time. Through TechGuided.com, I've helped thousands of people learn how to build their own computers. I’m an avid gamer and tech enthusiast, too. On YouTube, I build PCs, review laptops, components, and peripherals, and hold giveaways.