How to build cheap gaming PC in just $500 without any compromises
How to build cheap gaming PC in $500 is like waging a war against an army of zombies. It sends down a chill down your spine leaving you terrorized with its Hitchcockian mysteries for life. Some gaming zombies may even think of a machine like that as a slow poison of compromises. And in some cases, that is exactly what happens.
However, what we are really trying to figure it out here is the possibility of having a powerful Hulk within $500. Right when the industry is brimming with high-end PCs, chances of a $500 Hulk is like a blue moon in the sky. When you are restricting your budget to build cheap gaming PC, you are somehow forced to sacrifice your hardware components. But the science here is to understand what hardware component is this going to be?
In this enlightening guide, we are going to discuss the types of hardware components you should give up. And what kind of a Hulk can you really get at just $500?
The last couple of weeks has been like Einstein days as I was rapt searching for cheap yet powerful configurations. Even Newton would not have spent so much time establishing Gravity like I have in finding these configurations. But my research finally paid off. I have got something really exciting for you at just $500.
So if you are a true gamer and want to spend less without compromising on quality, you should try this. I have got you the best tips to build cheap gaming PC within $500. Here we go:
The Visual Treat with Graphics Card
No gaming experience is complete without a good graphics card. So it was quite tricky initially to zero in on something that performs and does not burn a hole in the pocket. Most contemporary graphics card are designed to give you Avatar like visual experiences. They are costly too. It was probably the most complicated phase of the research for.
To keep up with the budget, I had to ask myself a few questions. Do I want it raw or balanced? I don’t know. I just wanted to have an ideal graphics card for the budget gaming experience. And that’s why I chose Asus Strix Radeon RX 470 OC Edition.
This graphics card cost me around whopping $200. That means around 40% of the budget was occupied by just this. But trust I didn’t make any mistake. In fact, I am surprised to have bought that at such a cheap price.
The performance of the card is mind blowing. It gives you 1080P resolution, which in no ways is bad. A variety of contemporary modern games will give you whopping 60 frames per second resolution at ultra settings. Another good option for you is Asus Strix Radeon RX 470 version of the graphic card that is $199. It is an ultra cool graphic card.
3 GB GeForce GTX 1060 at just $200 on Amazon is another good option for you. Those who are looking to stuff in a new graphics card in existing PC, it is a great option. However, I would like to go with Asus Strix Radeon RX 470 version of graphics card here. It holds a few more advantages than others mentioned on the list.
It comes with a 4 GB future proof memory, which is an important factor for a cheap gaming PC. There is an eventual upgrade to spice up the gameplay experience.
Giving Your Cheap Gaming PC the Life with Processor
So when we are talking about the future upgrade, I decided to work with Intel 3.7 GHz Core i3-6100 to build cheap gaming PC. I chose this Intel processor over AMD CPU and FX chips.
Well, honestly speaking, AMD APU and FX Chips are two hot favorites of people for cheap gaming PCs. FX – 6350 at just $117.52 and X4 880K at $100.61 are actually best performers at that prices. One of the best features of these Processors is that you can even overclock them. This facility is not available with other Processors at that price.
However, Intel Core i3-6100 with a powerful GPU gives you more frames per second than AMD based APUs. Another advantage is that you can have future upgrades as well. This is just so cool.
With Zen CPUs, Bristol Ridge APUs, and Socket AM4, FX chips and APUs are a creed of zombies on the verge of extinction. In fact, they even lack a number of cool features.
Intel 3.7 GHz Core i3-6100 processor has been designed on skylake platform. The future upgrade options are good. You can upgrade it with Core i5 and i7 chip for a Hulk-like performance. It is a dual-core chip but hyper-threading makes it turn into four.
Ramping It Up with an Ideal Motherboard
After all this we have done, it is time to ramp up build cheap gaming PC mission a little more. So after satisfying ourselves on upgradability and modern feature topics, we are finally arriving at important component—motherboard. So the motherboard I have selected here to build cheap gaming PC is based on Skylake platform—H110 chipset. By now you must have realized that budgeting is a heart-break story for building gaming PCs.
Gigabyte GA–H110-A-Micro-ATX Motherboard at $54 packs a punch with a variety of features with single card gaming. It’s got solitary PCIeX16 slot, two PCIeX1 slots for extra upgrades, a pair of DDR4 memory slots, and support for four USB 3.0 connections. There are four SATA 3.0 connectors for SATA SSDs.
There is no support for M.2 and PCIe SSDs like that in H170 and Z170 based skylake motherboards. But why would you even care for that? I mean we are on our way to build cheap gaming PC so giving all up for a few features isn’t really a big deal whatsoever. There is just no point of investing too much on something futile if you are working a budget gaming PC. You can’t even overclock chips you got installed on motherboards.
There is a single fan header. That means you got no space for two case fans on Gigabyte GA-H110M-A.
The Fan Splitter
I have chosen Silverstone Fan Splitter for our budget PC for gaming. It will cost you just $4.39. One of the best features of this splitter is that it supports PWM fan controls. However, you can choose just any fan splitter for the job. All you have to ensure that it’s got to be cheap that is it.
Dropping in Memories to the Gaming PC
All right! So now it is time to give some memory to our budget gaming PC. Considering the features of a modern gaming PC, you got to have at least 8 GB of memory. The motherboard of our gaming PC supports maximum two memory sticks. I have chosen a single stick of 8 GB GSkill’s Ripjaws V DDR4 memory here. It costs $35. One of the best options for the motherboard we have configured above. It actually leaves you ample space to upgrade in the future. You can add up one more stick to boost its performance in the future.
The Secret Chamber of Cabinets
Well choosing the right cabinet and case for getting all the above and upcoming components together is tricky. Mainly because we have already spent a lot of money on the above configurations. We are left with not too much of a budget to spend lavishly on cases. That means we’ve got to compromise on buying an ideal case here. Not really because the industry is brimming with a lot of them at cool prices.
So I have selected Rosewill’s Line-M at $33. This is one of the best cases at that price with out-of-the-world features. It is small, tiny, and ultraportable packed with features you don’t find in others at the same range. There is no wonder I picked this one to build cheap gaming PC.
Features of the Cabinet
According to some of the reviews done on Line-M, it is made up of weak steal. That is probably the main reason why it is so cheap. It’s got no motherboard tray. You can’t route your wired behind, which means internal cable management will be like surviving in the kingdom of apes. However, the cabinet has got its side made of real steel. It won’t allow you to see all that stuff on your face.
I was quite interested in buying Rosewill’s R519-BK initially for its integrated internal supply. This would have helped me drop a few more bucks without a doubt. But as I worked on this thought more, I chose not to tread on this path for a few reasons. First, all types of cheap cases have only single 120 MM rear case fans. As we have got Radeon RX 470 going wild inside it, we would require two fans for intake and outtake. Line-M has got two case fans even at that price, which is amazing. Apart from that Line-M has front-facing USB 3.0. This is wonderful considering the fact that most budget gaming cabinets have USB 2.0 ports.
Besides that, I simply don’t buy the idea of cheap power supply even if it is about building a cheap gaming PC. The fact is that most PSUs can destroy your entire system when they fail. And most cheap PSUs definitely fail no matter what. So always trust on something ideal at a decent price range.
The Power of Power Supply
Power supply like other important components of our cheap gaming PC is very crucial. That is why I decided to work on with EVGA 430 W1 at $32. And to be honest, here, the machine does not really meet 80 Plus Bronze Certification but still works like a superhero. The brand is one of the most trusted in the world for power supplies. There is just no need to have more watts of supply for a cheap gaming under $500. In fact, other experts recommend just 282 watts of power supply for a PC under $500. That is too low for us, though.
A GPU test was done by me that got just 248 W from the wall at peak when equipped with XFX’s Radeon RX 470. Considering the fact that this is not the modular power supply, its wires need to lie dormant. The best thing, however, is it Line-M features solid steel sides.
Giving it All to the Brain of the Computer—Hard Drive
This is probably the toughest of all the experiences I have gone through while doing this guide. You know SSDs are the rage today and they are required to be there to do a lot of stuff. But I had to give up on stuffing in SSDS considering a lot of things—price factor being the prime factor. SSDs of 240 GB capacity are priced over $50, which will take our budget out of control. Hence, I decided to stick to the WD Caviar Blue 320 GB. It does not give you too much capacity for your requirements but it is still a great bet. I mean 320 GB is enough for a regular gaming experience. It costs $22. I believe this price is the perfect for that much capacity. It fits our budget also.
WD Caviar Blue 320 GB is one of the most trusted in the industry. It has been into the industry for a long time now. You do get one year warranty on that, which is quite good if you are buying from third party sellers. I think it is better to compromise on a few components than compromise on Radeon RX 470. This gives you super firepower plus there is room for upgrades in the future. I think I still have made a great deal by using all the above configurations. They are cheap and yet powerful on all the premises.
What have We Got Now?
Here is the list of all our components:
• Asus Strix Radeon RX 470 OC Edition – $200
• Intel Core i3-6100 with included CPU cooler – $118.29
• Gigabyte GA-H110M-A micro-ATX motherboard – $54
• SilverStone 1-to-2 PWM fan splitter cable – $4.39
• GSkill Ripjaws V 8GB – $35
• Rosewill Line-M – $35
• EVGA 430 W1 – $32
• WD Caviar Blue 320GB – $22
So the grand total of our cheap gaming PC is $500.68, which is still the target achieved moment for me. I know I have taken the budget a few cents above, but it does not really matter here considering the gravity of the task. But yes, one important thing to note here down is that PC prices fluctuate on daily basis. In fact, the prices that I have quoted differ depending on the country you live in. So what might have worked for me may not work for you. But it still gives you a picture of where you are going in the direction.
The cheap gaming PC thus we have is the best you can have in $500. It packs a punch with 1080P resolution with 60 frames per second. It gives a tough challenge to some high-end gaming PCs. It blows a couple of Playstations as well with its features.
One Important Thing That I have not Included:
That’s right. I have not included something very important on my list of budget gaming PC. And that is the price of windows. I thought it was not required but yes it is very crucial to the entire premise to build cheap gaming PC. According to the fact, most gaming zombies play it on Windows. And Windows 10 license costs $110, which, needless to say, is too high. If we include that on our list then there is no way we can keep it under $500 any longer.
But let me give a reason to not include that on our list. You can buy Windows 10 Home OEM product keys for under $30 on Kinguin. Make sure that you also buy Kinguin Buyer Protection along. There are chances of some fake sellers trying to sell you used keys.
Adjusting to $30 has to do with a lot of painful compromises now with Windows 10. All you can do to avoid on spending too much is that you can install Linux first and save your bucks. If you can’t do that—that is not really a feasible option for everyone—you can choose another option.
Replacing Components to Meet the Budget
If you don’t want to exceed your budget to $500, then you must consider replacing a few components. Replace Core i3-6100 and H110 motherboard with AMD’s FX-6300 at $90 and AM3+ Motherboard at $50. The replacement will not allow you to have future upgrades but that is fine. I mean if you are looking just at the price factor, then it probably the best way to go for. It will bring your price down to $500.
You can also replace RX 470 with an old GeForce GTX 950 that will not cost you more than $100. RX 470 is around $200. That will bring down the performance of raw firepower but still Nvidia gives you 1080 P resolution. This resolution is better than most of Playstation and Xbox One. You can, in fact, tweak the setting to have a phenomenal experience. It is all in the settings guys.
But yes do not try to cut down on the prices by using a no-name power supply. We have already mentioned a few risks that come with it.
Investing in Some Important Peripherals
Okay. It is universal that most guides on to build cheap gaming PC s do not include the price of peripherals such as a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Why? The main reason is that people already have them. They do not have to go to buy them.
But if you don’t have them like many others then you got to be ready to spend a few extra bucks. We round up a few cheap peripherals for you with powerful performance. Here we go:
You can browse for some cheap keyboards around on a number of e-commerce websites such as Amazon. You can get a basic keyboard at around just $9 there.
A mouse will cost you around just $7. However, you can think of peripheral especially designed for gamers. They will cost you more but their performance will be on par with the basic ones. But make sure you do not buy them for the heck of it. Your core computer configuration is more important than other things.
If you want to buy a basic monitor if you don’t have one, then you can buy it for around $90 or less. But I don’t that is actually required here. If you are really trying to squeeze your budget, then try this. Connect your computer with your TV. That is a great option if you got no money to spend on a new monitor. TV monitors are as good as any other PC monitors. In fact, they are normally bigger than your PC’s monitor. You can enjoy a variety of games on there without any difficulty.
Once you have the money to invest in the monitor, go for 22 inches Free Sync Compatible ViewSonic display. It will cost around $120 on popular e-commerce website Amazon. It should be noted that it is not any high-end gaming monitor but it works really well. You can boost its performance by spending extra bucks on a panel with a low 2ms response time and FreeSync Support. It will enhance your overall gaming experience in no time.
All right! That was my guide to build cheap gaming PC under $500. It was quite difficult in the beginning but yes with tricks and information, I could achieve it. It is not always about having high-end PCs for a sublime experience. Your budget gaming PC too can enthrall you world with a few tweaks and tricks.