The Best Gaming Computers Under $500

Overview
amd fx 4300In today’s post we’re going to take a look at the best gaming computers under $500. $500 is really the point to where you can start putting together some decent systems without having to take parts out of your old computer.

For instance, the first build in this post comes with everything you need to build a tower (doesn’t come with an operating system) and it’s a good enough setup to play pretty much any game on high settings on a 1920×1080 monitor.

If you do have spare components that you can pull out of your older system (hard drive or optical drive) or if you are willing to install Windows from a USB drive, you can get even better parts.

All-in-all these 10 different $500 gaming computer builds offer a ton of variety and cover just about any need you might have. These builds aren’t the best setups there are, but if you have a budget of $500 and all you want to be able to do is play your games on the highest settings, then there are definitely some options listed below that will suit you.

On a side note, these builds do not include a mouse, monitor, keyboard, and operating system.

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AM3+ Gaming Computer Under $500 – Build #1

Overview
CPU for a $400 gaming computerFor a $500 gaming computer you can build something that is capable of playing even some of the most demanding games on the highest settings. This build (which is featured in our guide on how to build a cheap gaming computer) will handle most games you throw at it with ease.

And, even though the FX-4130 isn’t the greatest CPU on the market, you can always upgrade to an FX-8320 or FX-8350 in the future when you get some extra money. Overall this is a solid build for a $500 gaming computer.

Part-List:

  • CPU –  AMD FX-4130 (View)
  • Motherboard – ASUS M5A78L-M LX PLUS (View)
  • Video Card - EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti (View)
  • RAM –  Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB 1600MHz (View)
  • HDD – Western Digital Caviar Blue 500 GB (View)
  • Case –  Rosewill Dual Fans MicroATX (View)
  • Power Supply –  Antec VP-450 (View)
  • Optical Drive – Samsung Optical Drive (View)

Grand Total: $480-$520
(Prices fluctuate on a daily basis, click here for current pricing)


AM3+ Gaming Computer Under $500 – Build #2

Overview
Gigabyte R9 270XIf you like the build above and you have an old hard drive you can use for your new system, then consider this build…

With the extra money that you save by reusing your old hard drive you can upgrade your CPU to the AMD FX-6300 and your video card to the Radeon R9 270x. And, those upgrades are good enough to have you playing pretty much any game on max settings.

Overall, for a gaming computer under $500, that’s a pretty good deal!

Part-List:

  • CPU –  AMD FX-6300 (View)
  • Motherboard – ASUS M5A78L-M LX PLUS (View)
  • Video Card - Gigabyte Radeon R9 270X (View)
  • RAM –  Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB 1600MHz (View)
  • HDD – *Use your old hard drive.*
  • Case –  Rosewill Dual Fans MicroATX (View)
  • Power Supply –  Antec VP-450 (View)
  • Optical Drive - Samsung Optical Drive (View)

Grand Total: $480-$520
(Prices fluctuate on a daily basis, click here for current pricing)


AM3+ Gaming Computer Under $500 – Build #3

Overview
asrock-990fx-extreme-3If you’ll be reusing the hard drive from your old system, another option you have if you’re building a gaming computer under $500, is to put together a system that is only a few upgrades away from being a solid overclocking machine.

In this build I’ve sacrificed graphics performance now in order to get a better motherboard. This 990FX motherboard is much better suited for overclocking and it will allow you to make some bigger upgrades.

However, as this build stands you should really only do mild overclocks on it. In order to take your overclocks higher, you’ll want to consider a better heatsink/liquid cooler, and perhaps a better power supply. One thing you can do is drop your optical drive and install Windows from a USB drive and then use the extra money to upgrade your PSU.

Part-List:

  • CPU –  AMD FX-6300 (View)
  • Motherboard – ASRock 990FX EXTREME3 (View)
  • Video Card - ASUS Radeon HD 7790 (View)
  • RAM –  Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB 1600MHz (View)
  • HDD – *Use your old hard drive.*
  • Case –  Thermaltake V3 Black Edition (View)
  • Power Supply –  Antec VP-450 (View)
  • Optical Drive - Samsung Optical Drive (View)

Grand Total: $480-$520
(Prices fluctuate on a daily basis, click here for current pricing)


LGA 1150 Gaming Computer Under $500 – Build #4

Overview
radeon hd 7790For those of you that prefer Intel-based builds, this $500 gaming computer is a good starting point for you. Not only will it perform well right out of the gates, but it will give you the option to upgrade to higher-end locked LGA 1150 processors in the future (like the i5-4670 or the i7-4770.)

Also, with an HD 7790, you’ll get good enough graphics performance to play most games on high settings. And, all you’ll need to do is upgrade to a $200+ video card to be able to handle anything on 1080p at max settings.

So, if you’re looking for an Intel gaming computer under $500, this build is a good option.

Part-List:

  • CPU –  Intel Core i3-4130(View)
  • Motherboard – MSI H81M-P33 (View)
  • Video Card – ASUS Radeon HD 7790 (View)
  • RAM –  Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB 1600MHz (View)
  • HDD – Western Digital Caviar Blue 500 GB (View)
  • Case –  Rosewill Dual Fans MicroATX (View)
  • Power Supply –  Antec VP-450 (View)
  • Optical Drive – Samsung Optical Drive (View)

Grand Total: $480-$520
(Prices fluctuate on a daily basis, click here for current pricing)


LGA 1150 Gaming Computer Under $500 – Build #5

Overview
case for a $400 gaming pcThis build is the same as the system above, except that this build is tailored more to those gamers who will be pulling parts from their old computer.

If you can reuse your old computer’s hard drive and optical drive (or if you just install Windows from a USB drive instead of buying a new optical drive), you can save yourself approximately $80. That extra money can be used to upgrade the video card in the above build to a Radeon R9 270X. And, the R9 270X is capable of maxing out pretty much any game on a 1920×1080 monitor.

Part-List:

  • CPU –  Intel Core i3-4130(View)
  • Motherboard – MSI H81M-P33 (View)
  • Video Card – Gigabyte Radeon R9 270X (View)
  • RAM –  Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB 1600MHz (View)
  • HDD – *Use your old hard drive.*
  • Case –  Rosewill Dual Fans MicroATX (View)
  • Power Supply –  Antec VP-450 (View)
  • Optical Drive – Install O.S. from USB drive

Grand Total: $480-$520
(Prices fluctuate on a daily basis, click here for current pricing)


LGA 1150 Gaming Computer Under $500 – Build #6

Overview

asus z87-aIf overclocking is important to you, unfortunately a gaming computer under $500 will not be able to deliver you the system you want. However, you can always put together a system that is a couple of upgrades away from being a good overclocking system.

This build is made to do just that. While you will be stuck with the integrated graphics on this build, all this system needs is a CPU upgrade (either to an i5-4670K or an i7-4770K) and a solid video card, and it will be a very powerful gaming computer with some good system-tuning capabilities. You’ll also want to get a decent aftermarket heatsink/liquid cooler once you’re ready to overclock.

Part-List:

  • CPU –  Intel Core i3-4130(View)
  • Motherboard – ASUS Z87-A (View)
  • RAM –  Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB 1600MHz (View)
  • HDD – Western Digital Caviar Blue 500 GB (View)
  • Case –  Thermaltake V3 Black Edition (View)
  • Power Supply –  XFX Pro 550W (View)
  • Optical Drive – Samsung Optical Drive (View)

Grand Total: $480-$520
(Prices fluctuate on a daily basis, click here for current pricing)


LGA 1150 Gaming Computer Under $500 – Build #7

Overview
CPU for a $400 gaming pcThis build is the same as the system above, except that this setup assumes that you have an old hard drive that you can use, and that you either have an old optical drive you can use as well, or that you’re willing to forego a new optical drive and install Windows from a USB drive instead.

With the money you can save by not having to get a new hard drive and optical drive, you can upgrade the CPU to an Intel Core i5-4670K. This means that the only upgrade you really need to make to this system in order to turn it into a high-end gaming computer, is to get a good video card.

Part-List:

  • CPU –  Intel Core i5-4670K (View)
  • Motherboard – ASUS Z87-A (View)
  • RAM –  Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB 1600MHz (View)
  • HDD – *Use your old hard drive.*
  • Case –  Thermaltake V3 Black Edition (View)
  • Power Supply – XFX Pro 550W (View)
  • Optical Drive – (Install O.S. from USB drive)

Grand Total: $480-$520
(Prices fluctuate on a daily basis, click here for current pricing)


LGA 1150 Gaming Computer Under $500 – Build #8

Overview
Sapphire Radeon HD 7770Another option you have if you’re looking to build an LGA 1150 gaming computer for under $500 and you have an old hard drive/optical drive you can use, is to go with a locked Intel Core i5-4670 and a Radeon HD 7770.

This won’t give you ideal graphics performance, but the HD 7770 will hold you over until you can afford a better video card. And, while you won’t be able to overclock this build, it has plenty of processing power and you won’t have to worry about your CPU creating a bottleneck with your other components.

Part-List:

  • CPU –  Intel Core i5-4670 (View)
  • Motherboard – MSI H81M-P33 (View)
  • Video Card – Sapphire Radeon HD 7770 (View)
  • RAM –  Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB 1600MHz (View)
  • HDD – *Use your old hard drive.*
  • Case –  Rosewill Dual Fans MicroATX (View)
  • Power Supply –  Antec VP-450 (View)
  • Optical Drive – (Install O.S. from USB drive)

Grand Total: $480-$520
(Prices fluctuate on a daily basis, click here for current pricing)


AM3+ Gaming Computer Under $500 – Build #9

Overview
amd-fx-8320This $500 gaming computer is based on AMD’s FX-8320 eight-core processor. While it won’t have the best graphics performance right out of the gates, it will still be good enough to play most games on mid-to-high settings (excluding the more demanding games.)

And, all this build really needs is a high-end video card and it will have no problem maxing out any game you throw at it. So, if you’re an AMD fan and you’re looking for a solid gaming computer under $500, then this setup will definitely be a choice you want to consider.

Part-List:

  • CPU –  AMD FX-8320 (View)
  • Motherboard – ASUS M5A78L-M LX PLUS (View)
  • Video Card – Sapphire Radeon HD 7770 (View)
  • RAM –  Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB 1600MHz (View)
  • HDD – Western Digital Caviar Blue 500 GB (View)
  • Case –  Rosewill Dual Fans MicroATX (View)
  • Power Supply –  Antec VP-450 (View)
  • Optical Drive – Samsung Optical Drive (View)

Grand Total: $480-$520
(Prices fluctuate on a daily basis, click here for current pricing)


AM3+ Gaming Computer Under $500 – Build #10

Overview
msi hd 7850This build is based off of the build above, but it assumes that you already have a hard drive and optical drive that you can use from an older computer. By saving money from not having to buy a new hard drive/optical drive, you can upgrade the video card to an HD 7870.

So, if you’re looking for a powerful gaming computer for under $500 and you can pull the HDD and optical drive out of your older system, then this rig will give you good power and will have you playing most games on the highest settings.

Part-List:

  • CPU –  AMD FX-8320 (View)
  • Motherboard – ASUS M5A78L-M LX PLUS (View)
  • Video Card - HIS IceQ Radeon HD 7850 (View)
  • RAM –  Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB 1600MHz (View)
  • HDD – *Use your old hard drive.*
  • Case –  Rosewill Dual Fans MicroATX (View)
  • Power Supply –  Antec VP-450 (View)
  • Optical Drive - (Install O.S. from USB drive)

Grand Total: $480-$520
(Prices fluctuate on a daily basis, click here for current pricing)


Comments

  1. ryadapp says

    hey Brent i was wondering on what your opinion is on cases that have an integrated psu and are around 50-60$

  2. ryadapp says

    I also would like to know if #1 would be able to run battlefield 4 on medium to high settings around 40 FPS

    • says

      Hey ryadapp, how’s it going?

      Prices have fluctuated quite a bit since I last updated the build. You can save about $40 if you switch to an FX-4130 and a PNY GTX 650 Ti.

      PNY isn’t my first choice of video cards, but it should get the job done. If you want a little bit better video card company you can switch to an HD 7790.

      Also, the Seagate 500GB HDD jumped quite a bit as well. If you watch the price of the hard drive it should come back down under $40 at some point. You can also check Newegg prices as well to see if you can get the price down.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

      • ryadapp says

        Thanks for the advice, this the first time I have ever built a pc and there are so many decisions to be made. I really appreciate this page you made Brent and out of all the pages I have looked at this is the best!

  3. Andre says

    Hey thanks for the great guide. I was wondering if the motherboard with the 5th build supports i5 and i7 cpu for upgrade, and if the motherboard in the second build can do the same. thanks

    • says

      Hey Andre, how’s it going?

      Yes, build #5’s motherboard can support LGA 1150 i5 and i7 processors.

      However, build #2 is an AMD AM3+ based build. So, with that setup you’ll only be able to upgrade to AMD AM3+ processors. (Like the FX-8320 or FX-8350.)

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have anymore questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  4. Connor says

    Which one, by your opinion, is your favorite? What about the most powerful? The most versatile? Sorry for the weird questions, but the list wasn’t made in the top 10 format we’ve seen before on these subjects.

    • says

      Hey Connor, how’s it going? Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Each build brings something different to the table. The most powerful builds on this list are either the second build or the fifth build, since they have the better video card. However, they require that you use parts from your old system. So, they might not be viable options for everyone. The tenth build is also pretty powerful with the HD 7850.

      The first build and the fourth builds are the best options if you’re looking for a complete build. And, I like the versatility of the 3rd, 6th, and 7th builds since they have the better motherboards (and the 6th and 7th have the better power supplies) which means they’ll be the most upgrade friendly.

      Hope this clears the builds up a little bit! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

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