The Perfect Balance ($500)

This is the #1 best gaming PC under 500 dollars for your money in 2017. All of the parts have been hand picked with the best price to performance in mind.

NOTE: Prices may vary

Component Name Price Image
CPU Ryzen 3 1200 $110
MOBO ASRock - AB350M HDV $65
RAM Ballistix Sport LT 8GB DDR4-2400 MHz $84
HDD WD Caviar Blue 1TB 7200rpm $50
GPU Gigabyte - GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB $150
PSU EVGA 400 W $30
CASE NZXT S340 $65
PCPartPicker

$500 Build Guide

The Case

NZXT S340 (White)

NZXT is well known for their superb case designs. The NZXT - S340 in White is no exception. Sleek, refined, spacious, and sturdy; the NZXT is the perfect case for this build.

A good case must be:

  • Eye catching
  • Aerodynamic (if you will)
  • The right size
  • Spacious
  • Compatible for you

How will this case benefit you?

This case is forged from steel; furthermore, it features a grommet-less cable management bar that keeps the cables tidy. It is two inches smaller than other mid-towers, and easy for new builders to use.

With a large side panel window, you’ll be able to see your parts in action.

Specs:

  • Type - ATX Mid Tower
  • Color - White
  • Internal 3.5” Bays - 3
  • Internal 2.5” Bays - 2
  • Motherboard Compatibility - ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX
  • Maximum Video Card Length - 13.15”
  • Front Panel USB 3.0 Ports - Yes

Buy your case here

The Processor

Ryzen 3 1200

The new Ryzen 3 lineup from AMD is easily the BEST line of budget gaming CPUs on the market today.

Ryzen 3 is the final piece of the puzzel. It only comes in at $110, and blows Intel out of the water.

The processor chosen for this build is the Ryzen 3 1200.

Specs:

  • Data Width: 64-bit
  • Socket Type: AM4
  • Operating Frequency: 3.1 GHz
  • Max Turbo Frequency: 3.4 GHz
  • Cores: 4
  • Lithography: 14 nm
  • TDP: 65 Watts
  • Includes CPU Cooler: Yes
  • Simultaneous Multithreading: No
  • Integrated Graphics: No

Intel saw Ryzen coming a mile away. They gave Pentium CPUs hyperthreading in order to compete with Ryzen 3 CPUs.

However, Ryzen 3 CPUs are not just multithreaded like Intel Pentium CPUs. They are full on quad-core CPUs.

It only has half the cache of the Ryzen 5 and 7, but it still has all of the same features.

In nearly every area that doesn’t involve multithreaded performance, Linus Tech Tips, both Ryzen 3 chips outperform their Intel competitors.

Ryzen 3 makes a lot of sense.

Buy your processor here

The Motherboard

ASRock AB350M-HDV

The ASRock - AB350M-HDV Micro ATX AM4 motherboard was chosen for this build.

For the price of just $60, you are getting a great deal. Not only is it sturdy and reliable, it supports 2400 MHz ram.

What’s the bottom line here?

Not only are you getting a superb motherboard, you’re getting it for less than $70.

Specs:

  • Socket - AM4
  • Chipset - AMD B350
  • Memory - DDR4 2133/2400/2666/2933/3000
  • Memory Channel - Dual
  • DIMM Slots - 2x288-pin DIMM
  • Max Memory (GB) - 32

Buy your motherboard here

The Ram

Ram

Believe it or not, the speed of your ram can actually impact the performance of your processor.

That’s why this build features a Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 8GB kit (2x4GB) of DDR4 2400 MHz ram. Dual channel 2400 MHz ram will help with the performance of the processor.

Though some games recommend 16GB of ram, it really has a minimal effect on frame rate. 8GB is perfect for this bugdget.

Specs:

  • Type - 288 pin DIMM
  • Speed - DDR4-2400 MHz
  • Size - 8GB (2x4GB)

Buy your ram here

The Hard Drive

Caviar Blue 1TB Hard Drive

The name WD Caviar Blue carries many attributes with it:

  • Mass Storage
  • Reliability
  • Simplicity
  • Speed

These are just a few of the many benefits of owning a WD Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5” 7200RPM internal hard drive.

Not only is this hard drive fast, it is reliable, and cost effective.

Specs:

  • Capacity - 1TB
  • Interface - SATA 6 Gb/s
  • Cache - 64MB
  • RPM - 7200

Buy your hard drive here

The Graphics Card

EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 ti

The Graphics card is responsible for just about all of the 3D rendering that takes place when your PC plays a video game.

That being said, choosing the right graphics card for your build is important.

The EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 ti 4GB ACX 2.0 is the graphics card of choice. Currently with the extreme markup of AMD graphics cards, nVidia is the best choice in terms of price to performance.

On this budget, the 1050 ti is all around the best choice for a few reasons:

Not only is this card rocking 4GB of DDR5 dedicated memory, it has a core clock of 1.29 GHz.

What’s so good about this?

  • Higher resolution in game
  • Higher frames per second
  • Higher graphical settings
  • Multiple monitor capability

Specs:

  • Chipset - GeForce GTX 1050 ti
  • Memory Size - 4GB
  • Memory Type - GDDR5
  • Base Frequency - 1.29 GHz
  • Boost Frequency - 1.39 GHz
  • TDP - 75 Watts
  • Length - 5.71”

Buy yours here

The Power Supply

EVGA 400W PSU

The reliability of your power supply is important. Furthermore, it is crucial to use a power supply with the proper wattage.

Why?

If you fail to do either of these two things, one or both of the following will happen:

A) Your power supply will short out your PC

B) Your power supply will fail completely

This build is rated at 211 watts. That being said, the EVGA 400W ATX power supply is the choice for this build.

It has more than enough power, and combined with its $30 price tag, it is an absolute steal.

Specs:

  • Type - ATX
  • Wattage - 400 Watts
  • Fans - 1
  • Modular - No
  • Efficiency - 80+
  • PCI-Express 6+2-Pin Connectors - 1
  • PCI-Express 6-Pin Connectsors - 1

Buy your power supply here

8 Ways to Build a Budget Gaming PC

I wanted to illustrate 8 ways to save money when building a gaming PC on a tight budget.

These 8 tips should help you build a cheap gaming PC (see our guide on building a dirt cheap gaming PC).

8 Tips for Budget PC Building

This infographic does a great job illustrating the 8 ways you can save money when building a gaming PC.

Contact me about using this infographic on your website!

These 8 methods include:

  • Salvaging old parts
  • Buying used parts
  • Buying a cheap CPU
  • Focusing on the GPU
  • Looking for deals
  • Ask your friends
  • Save money on peripherals and LEDs
  • Be patient

Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Salvaging old parts

It’s easy to buy all of your parts new, but it’s also more expensive.

Odds are you probably have an old desktop in your house that still has perfectly good components.

You could probably salvage an optical drive, hard drive, case, power supply, and sometimes even a motherboard and CPU.

Even if you don’t have an old desktop laying around, you could buy one on eBay. This brings us to our next point.

Salvage Old Parts

Buy used parts

Some think you have to buy all new parts to build a great gaming PC. This is simply not true.

You can look on eBay for used parts that work just as well as new ones.

The best part?

You’re getting the same great components for a lower price!

Buy a cheap CPU

If you’re on a tight budget, the CPU is where you should save some money.

Why?

Any well optimized title will harness the power of the GPU over the CPU. As long as your CPU can keep up, you can focus your money on the GPU.

View Budget Gaming CPUs

Focus on the GPU

As mentioned above, the GPU is the most important part of a gaming PC.

If you’re on a budget, you should cut corners elsewhere and focus that money towards buying a powerful GPU.

We recommend the GTX 1050 ti as the best budget gaming GPU.

View GTX 1050 ti on Amazon

Look for Deals

There are tech deals every day online. It’s easy to find them too.

Nearly all large tech corporations have a newsletter or email alert service.

Simply sign up, and let the emails flow in. More often then not they are notifying you about a great deal.

You can also negotiate on Craig’s List, use a deal finder, coupon codes, etc.

Ask Friends

Ask your friends about old PCs they might have laying around. Odds are they have an old computer in their house which is full of great parts.

If you’re lucky, they might have some spare parts they’d be willing to give you either for free or for a reduced price. It’s a great way to save money!

Save Money on Peripherals and LEDs

Most people want a case full of cool LEDs, a mechanical keyboard with different colors and the best gaming mouse.

While these things are great additions to a PC gamer’s setup, they’re NOT necessary. Any mouse and keyboard will do and you don’t need LEDs in your case.

It’s much wiser to invest this money in your gaming PC. Later on down the line if you have the money, feel free to invest it in these extra items.

Be patient

If you don’t have enough money to buy the best parts, that’s okay. Just be patient and save your money.

It’s better to wait and buy better parts than to impulse buy low end parts that won’t do you any good.