Although we are currently experiencing decent inflation, the prices of key PC components are actually quite low, and in many cases getting even lower. With GPU prices falling rapidly while SSDs, RAM (DDR4 RAM at least) and power supplies remain cheap, there has never been a better time to build an affordable gaming PC than now.
At today’s prices, you can configure a solid, 1080p-capable gaming PC for less than $500 that includes both discrete graphics and a 12th Gen Intel CPU.
How to build a gaming PC under $500
Here’s all the info on how to build a gaming PC for less than $500 using parts you can order online. Because these lists are based primarily on price, we have not tested each item listed, or all of them together. The cost of an operating system isn’t included, but you can get Windows 10 or 11 for free or cheap.
For a gaming PC under $500 with discrete graphics you need:
- CPU cooler
- CPU Intel Core i3-12100F – $106
- Motherboard MSI Pro H610M-G DDR4 – $89
- GPU XFX Speedster SWFT105 Radeon RX 6400 – $159
- Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4 3200 RAM – $29
- Speicher TeamGroup MP33 (512GB) – $42
- CORSAIR Carbide Series 175R Case – $44
- Thermaltake Smart 430W PSU – $29
– Total $498!
Our suggested gaming PC for less than $500 consists of two key components: an Intel Core i3-12100F CPU and an AMD Radeon RX 6400 graphics card. While the other components offer good value for money, you can also use a similarly equipped PSU, SSD, RAM kit or H610M motherboard and get the same performance.
With 4 performance cores, a boost speed of 4.3 GHz and a low price, Intel’s Core i3-12100 is currently the best cheap CPU and the Core i3-12100F is a variant without integrated graphics. The Core i3-12100F already comes with a CPU cooler, so you don’t have to spend more money.
Some parts have to be saved
The Radeon RX 6400 is the cheapest current-generation GPU on the market, so its quality is okay but not totally fantastic. To support the 12th Gen Intel CPU, you need a cheap motherboard with an LGA 1700 socket.
The lowest chipset with this socket is Intel’s H610, which can be bought cheaply with the $89 MSI PRO H610M-G. It’s a basic board with just two RAM slots and a single M.2 PCIe Gen 3 slot for storage. The storage drive for the $500 PC is the TeamGroup MP33 with a capacity of 512 GB.
Housing and Co.
To hit the $500 price tag, we had to settle for a modest 8GB of RAM, in the form of a Crucial 2×4GB DDR4-3200 kit. Any inexpensive DDR4-3200 RAM kit would fit here. The case is the Corsair Carbide 175R, but the prices vary and can sometimes be more expensive — it’s worth looking for special offers here!
The case has an attractive slim design with a tempered glass side panel and RGB logo and RGB fan in the box. The final piece is a 430W PSU from Thermaltake, but basically any 400-500W PSU from a reputable brand would do the job here.