Best cheap prebuilt gaming PC under $500 in May 2022

Best Prebuilt Gaming PC Under 500 Budget Builds
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Gaming desktops can cost a lot of money but did you know you can get an entry-level experience with one of the best cheap prebuilt gaming PCs under $500? That’s right, gaming isn’t just reserved for those with bags of cash but you should certainly reign in your expectations, a cheap gaming PC under $500 will struggle with high resolutions or maxed out graphics settings.

In any case, today, we are going to be finding you the best prebuilt gaming PC under $500, while also talking through a few key areas for your consideration, before finally reviewing each selected model. You can also check out our budget gaming PC page for prebuilt gaming PCs of various budgets.

Best cheap gaming PC:

Our Top Picks

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WePC Awards Best In Class
The Best Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $500
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The Next Best Cheap Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $500
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A value for money prebuilt

How We Choose

We scoured popular and reputable prebuilt gaming PC manufacturers such as SkyTech, MSI, iBUYPOWER, CyberPowerPC, and even the latest prebuilt gaming desktop PCs from companies that specialize in upgrades and customizations such as CUK.

After an extensive search, we came up with a long list of potential candidates, we then: examined the specs, compared them, and came up with the five best prebuilt gaming PCs under $500.

How We Test

To give you an idea of how well these prebuilt gaming PCs performed, tests were made and benchmark results were recorded across a number of different games and platforms. We specifically picked popular games to give you an up-to-date reference.

NOTE: Due to the ongoing effects of the global coronavirus pandemic, some retailers are experiencing stock issues. WePC constantly updates our pages to reflect current availability, so if the PC or part you want shows as out of stock, check back later or check out these alternatives.

Things To Consider

For $500, you aren’t aiming to get the best computer on the market, you are trying to get an entry-level gaming computer that requires the least amount of upgrades to experience the newest releases with a 1080p resolution. Still, it’s surprising just how far the best gaming computer under $500 can take you nowadays.

In any case, before you go out and buy any old PC, there are several factors that need to be considered first.

What can you expect from a prebuilt gaming PC under $500?

When buying PCs towards the lower end of the scale it is very important to check out the specifications first. Whether you’re spending thousands or a few hundred, the last thing we want is to waste our cash, and while setting a budget is a great way to do this, the PC still needs to be able to run your chosen games.

Processor

The processor is going to be mostly responsible for making your general use feel snappy. When dealing with prebuilt computers for under $500, you can expect older processors at the helm, with fewer cores and threads than the more premium options.

Graphics

As prebuilt gaming PC’s under $500 fall into the entry-level category, the graphics cards that feature are often older generation cards, if any. These days, PCs at this price point will usually feature integrated graphics (powered by the CPU/ APU) and may struggle to play the latest games in any setting other than low. The same can be said for esports titles too but they work very well with esports titles, especially when playing in 1080p. You may have to lower resolutions below 1080p in some titles just to get a relatively good experience.

RAM

Having 8GB of RAM isn’t ideal but it isn’t a major issue either. While we always try and recommend 16GB of RAM, this isn’t very realistic when we have a $500 budget. This means that the RAM is one of the areas you may want to upgrade in the near future.

Storage Space

When it comes to storage space in $500 prebuilt computers you are unlikely to get dual storage solutions but they do feature SSDs.

The SSDs included will usually be around 240GB to 500GB and give you just enough room for your operating system and favorite games. If you like to store a lot of media files on your PC you may want to buy yourself an HDD to store them, saving your SSD for gaming.

I’d recommend checking out our SSD vs HDD page to find out more about storage.

Prebuilt gaming PC under $500 Vs Custom

We always recommend that you build your own computer here at WePC and that is for one simple reason – value.  It is no secret that you can squeeze in better hardware for your cash when building your own system, with the markup on prebuilt computers usually costing the same amount as an entire component ($100-$300).

Performance

While the performance of these $500 gaming PCs is solid, when building your own you could in theory include a better CPU or GPU into your computer without spending more. This means you could get even better performance for your hard-earned cash, get better in-game results, and future-proof your investment for longer.

Convenience

The main selling point behind a prebuilt gaming PC is it saves you the hassle. We understand that not everyone knows how to build a computer and may not even have the time to learn this new skill, so the convenience of a prebuilt makes a lot of sense. Of course, there are many more benefits to buying a prebuilt gaming PC from manufacturers, obviously, it takes the stresses away from finding all the compatible components, while also preventing damage to said components when the time comes to build it.

With one of these gaming PCs, you are going to be able to send it back to the manufacturer if anything goes wrong. Furthermore, if you feel you need an upgrade, suppliers will often do this for you or at least insist you send it to them for an upgrade. Manufacturers will also dish out a warranty, usually covering parts and labor for around a year but some companies offer impressive warranties and you can always spend extra on insurance, giving you a lengthy/ lifetime warranty.

These computers are from the biggest manufacturers around the world and aren’t just packaged nicely for you either, they normally stress test the system to ensure the components are working before shipping and that it performs as it should. You will also receive your system with software, usually with Windows and drivers pre-installed, so you can simply plug it in and start downloading games.

Cheap gaming PC alternatives

Times have changed over the last few years, with the markets shifting in such a way that makes it near impossible to buy or build a half-decent cheap gaming PC. If you are truly looking to get into the PC gaming world, you should reconsider saving more money. We would advise you to aim for a prebuilt gaming PC no lower than $800 for a reasonable expereice. Everything below will need upgrading sooner rather than later and nobody enjoys lowering settings or resolution when playing.

For those on the fence, with limited funds for the foreseeable future, there are a few alternatives to buying a cheap gaming PC. Firstly, Valves Steam Deck is a seriously good option for the under $500 price point. This tiny machine can run all your favorite games and if you love the odd FPS title, you can hook the Steam Deck up to a PC and use a mouse and keyboard with it.

Not convinced? Well, you could always look into next-generation consoles, PS5 and Xbox Series X. These gaming systems are priced at under $500 and can play games in 4K. Now that is a bargain in the grand scheme of things. While you can use a mouse and keyboard with a console, they do not offer the same versatility but that isn’t a terrible trade-off.

The 5 Best Cheap Prebuilt Gaming PCs Under $500 in 2021

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In-depth Review

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The Best Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $500
WePC Awards Best In Class
HP Logo

HP M01-f0033W Ryzen

Editor's Rating
2.5/5
Pros

Solid budget performance

Compact form factor

Cons

Entry level graphics

No SSD

The HP Desktop is an entry-level gaming PC that is a reasonable place to start your new PC career. This build doesn’t feature a dedicated GPU, as it relies on the integrated graphics from the 3200G, a reliable chip.

Powering the build is AMD’s Ryzen 3 3200G, a budget APU that packs a decent punch for the price. The processor runs at a base clock speed of 3.6GHz and can be boosted to a maximum speed of 4GHz. With 4 cores and 4 threads, you aren’t getting any multithreading performance but this beats Intel’s integrated graphics by a mile. The 3200G makes use of Vega 8 graphics, giving you some entry-level performance across a multitude of games.

The HP Desktop features 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 1TB HDD. While this storage solution isn’t particularly fast, it is enough to get you playing out of the box, with plenty of room for your OS and favorite games.

This would make an excellent PC for beginners, with strong gaming features at the heart of this build. Aside from the components, you get a compact system with a free keyboard and mouse for out-of-the-box gameplay.

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The Next Best Cheap Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $500
iBUYPOWER Logo

iBUYPOWER Starter PC Computer Desktop SlateMR 240i

Editor's Rating
2.5/5
Pros

Way under budget

Wi-Fi

Cons

Will need upgrading

The iBUYPOWER starter desktop comes with everything you are going to need to start your entry-level gaming career off with a bang. This budget prebuilt for under 0 features a sleek PC case, an Intel core i3 CPU, 480GB of fast storage, and Wi-Fi.

Inside we see Intel’s i3-10105F processor. This quad-core processor features a 3.7GHz clock speed and has a GeForce GT 1030 to push some lower-level titles. . Backing up the CPU we see 8GB of RAM, Wi-Fi, and a 480GB M.2 SSD storage device, which is going to be enough for your operating system and a few of your favorite games.

This is an excellent entry-level PC for the price and is perfect for anyone looking to break into PC gaming.

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A value for money prebuilt

AVGPC Q-Box Gaming Computer PC

Editor's Rating
2/5
Pros

Very efficient hybrid storage solution

Strong CPU

Cons

Doesn't come with peripherals

The AVGPC might be slightly more expensive than our budget pick, but key specifications do make up for the additional cost. This build offers excellent gaming performance for those looking to start a career in competitive esports (or any low-intensive gaming format). It not only comes with great aesthetics and decent performance but excellent cooling thanks for the case in question.

At the heart of this build lies the ever-popular Ryzen 5 3600 – AMD’s low-end gaming processor. The CPU brings a 3.6Ghz base clock/ 4.2Ghz boost clock speed which is more than enough to run lower-end games. Paired alongside this very capable process sits 8GB of DDR4 3000Mhz RAM, 500GB of rapid SSD storage, and a 500W PSU to keep everything ticking over. Furthermore, users are treated to a very effective standalone GPU in the GT 710. This makes the AVGPC an excellent base PC for anyone that wants to play low-intensive games and still have the option to upgrade in the future.

Overall, whilst this PC won’t be winning any prizes for outstanding performance, it’s still a fine choice for first-time gamers looking to get into PC gaming.

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Best Budget prebuilt Gaming PC Under $500

Alarco Gaming PC (Intel i5)

Editor's Rating
2/5
Cons

Doesn't handle demanding games that well

If you want to experience the Intel series, this prebuilt gaming PC is one of the best for the price. This may not be as fast as Intel’s Core i5-8400 but the Intel i5-2400 still delivers some serious processing speeds.

The GTX 650 graphics make it possible to get playable FPS counts in most games you could find today at 1080p resolution. Gaming with this rig is an investment-worthy of the price. It has 8GB RAM that boosts the already fast processing speeds meaning video and graphics editing software can also be run beautifully with this setup. The GPU is probably the standout feature of this build, offering good performance in a number of different gaming titles. It’ll also allow you to do some light rendering as well.

Overall, for the price, this thing offers good aesthetics and should output a decent level of performance for the price.

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Best Mini Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $500

CUK AsRock DeskMini

CUK ASROCK Deskmini

CPU

Ryzen 3 2200G 3.5Ghz

GPU

Vega 8 Integrated Graphics

RAM

8GB 2666MHz DDR4 RAM

Storage

256GB NVME SSD

Editor's Rating
2.5/5
Pros

Minimal Footprint

Solid APU Tailored Towards Gaming

Features an SSD

Cons

Limited room for expansion

Small SSD

We come to something a little different, literally. The CUK AsRock Deskmini is pretty much what it says on the tin, a mini desktop gaming rig. Don’t be fooled however with its small form factor, this thing packs a serious punch.

It comes to the table with the classic Ryzen 3 2200G chips, which is currently in 3 of our best of $500 pre-build list. You really can’t go wrong with the 2200G when you’re working with a budget, its simply the most powerful, efficient APU in its price range. It will handle AAA game titles wonderfully, granted at lower settings.  This machine doesn’t come with a standalone GPU so it has to make use of AMD’s VEGA 8 graphics which, in all honesty, is a very good graphics substitute. It handles Fornite, CS:GO, and LOL very well if you tweak the settings just right. The 8GB of 2,666Mhz RAM is a perfect pairing for the 2200G and provides a healthy performance boost whilst still remaining within budget.

Further to this, the Deskmini comes with 256GB of SSD making it the largest SSD solution out of all the builds on this list. We all know the benefits of SSD, Superfast boot, and load times, so being able to put as many games on here as possible is hugely advantageous to the consumer. However, with the Mini’s small form factor, you’re probably going to have to use an external HDD when it inevitably comes to it.

Overall, the CUK AsRock Deskmini is an acquired taste and you really need to be in the market solely for mini form factor if you go for this one. It does have it’s pro’s but it certainly has it’s cons as well. As far as mini form builds go though, this is a fantastic option.

Build A Gaming PC By Price

Check out some of our price-focused custom PC build guides below.

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Build A Gaming PC For Specific Games

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Related Prebuilt Gaming PC Guides

Check out some of our related prebuilt PC guides below.

Best Prebuilt Gaming PC Brands

Every recommended prebuilt gaming PC in this article is from a reputable manufacturer. You are probably wondering how we know what the best gaming PC brands are? Well, we have done our research and purchased PCs from these brands.

Most notable brands:

 

Alienware
Corsair
CyberPowerPC
SkyTech
iBUYPOWER
Thermaltake
MSI
Scan 3XS
Overclockers UK

How long do prebuilt PCs last?

How long a prebuilt PC lasts depends on several factors – not least of which is who built it, and why. You’re probably going to pay more for prebuilds that are as future-proof as self-builds, because high-quality long-life components will naturally be more expensive than lower-quality, shorter-life components.

There is also the question of what you use your prebuild for. Keep running high-res graphics and hardcore RAM-draining games, and you’ll probably notice your machine running slower, giving you less when you play, after anything as little as 2 years, 3 at the most. If your gaming is less demanding, it’s harder to see the drop-off in performance, so you might get away with 5 years.

There is only so much future-proofing manufacturers can do to the components they put into prebuilds, because a) the industry moves forward fast, b) their main interest is in remaining profitable, and c) gaming demands new capabilities faster than they can often adjust production lines.

Are prebuilt PCs upgradable?

Technically, yes. Mostly no. Certainly not to the extent you can upgrade self-builds, and certainly not with as many effective results.

Really speaking, once a prebuild is built and sold, you can tinker round the edges, or boost some performance metrics. You can add more RAM, sure. You can add a faster SSD. You can upgrade things like your GPU.

But there comes a point of diminishing returns. If you’re going to try and upgrade your prebuild, you have to know exactly which parts you want to swap out, and you have to know both how and why.

At which point, you have to ask yourself why you’ve gone for a prebuild in the first place. You’re dealing with someone else’s design concept, and whatever quality level their components are. You can boost various elements of that design concept by carefully replacing some elements. But be sure you understand what it is about the prebuild that you’re spending money on, and what you want to keep, compared to a scratch-build.

Final Word

Finding the best prebuilt gaming PC under $500 is quite challenging but every option we have included offers great value. If you can afford more, then we would recommend you go for an $800 prebuilt gaming PC, with these offering excellent graphics and performance in 1080p, allowing you to play games in high detail with decent FPS results.

Regardless, you are getting a gaming PC here that will be able to play your favorite esports titles with ease. You may have to tweak settings to get your desired frame rate but these entry-level machines are a great place to start when getting into PC gaming on the cheap!

The Author Who Worked On This Article

Product Specialist - Gaming PC, Prebuilt Gaming PC, GPUs, CPUs,
at
WePC
Shaun is a gaming enthusiast and computer science graduate who has been working with computers for the last 15 years. He took a shine to competitive FPS back in the mid-2000s and hasn’t looked back since.

Independent, transparent, rigorous and authentic, our reviews are the most thorough and honest in PC gaming. Learn about our review process.

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