If you’re in the market for a new gaming PC, it can be tough to make a decision. First-time PC buyers may be intimidated by all the different specifications.
Even experienced buyers can have trouble managing their expectations. Not that long ago, a decent gaming PC could have cost you thousands of dollars and would have become obsolete in a few years. These days, however, computers cost less than ever.
What if we told you that you don’t have to spend $1,000 or more on a new gaming PC?
That’s right! You can buy a prebuilt gaming PC for $500 or less.
We have chosen seven popular $500 PCs to review and we are going to take a good look at each of them to determine what exactly it is that makes them the best in this price range.
Now, these systems aren’t the most state of the art on the market. You won’t be playing Anthem on them. But you’ll be able to run a lot of games at lower settings. Best of all, you can upgrade most of these PCs later and create your own custom rig.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, here’s a quick overview of our candidates for the best prebuilt gaming PC under $500.
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Top 7 Prebuilt Gaming PCs Under $500 For 2020
|AMD Ryzen 3 2200G||Radeon Vega 8||1TB HDD|
|Intel Core i3-9100||Intel UHD Graphics 630||512GB SSD|
|Intel Core i5-9400||Intel UHD Graphics 630||512GB SSD|
|AMD Ryzen 3 3200G||Radeon Vega 8||1TB HDD|
|AMD Ryzen 3 3200G||Radeon Vega 8||512GB NVMe SSD|
|AMD Ryzen 3 2200G||AMD Radeon RX 550||1TB HDD|
|Ryzen 5 1500X||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050||1TB HDD|
HP Pavilion 590-p0020
Our first contestant is the HP Pavilion 590-p0020.
The entries on this list are quite similar to one another, but each has something that sets it apart from the rest, and in this case that something is the price.
While the PCs on this list are in no particular order, this one might possibly be the weakest of the bunch. It comes equipped with the Ryzen 3 2200G processor and Vega 8 integrated GPU. The 2200G has 4 cores, 4 threads, and a base clock speed of 3.5GHz.
The specs are nothing to write home about, and you’d have to settle for a 720p gaming experience, but with this rig, you could play many of the newer AAA titles at around 30 FPS on low settings …if you had at least 8GB of RAM …which you don’t.
Unfortunately, this PC comes with only 4GB of RAM, which is not enough for decent gaming these days as most games require 8GB of VRAM. In this PC’s case, the 4 available gigabytes not only have to serve all your programs from the browser to Steam and Discord but also the GPU since the graphics card is integrated and doesn’t have its own VRAM. This means that you will effectively have only about half of that for your games.
Aside from this, the HP Pavilion comes with a 1TB HDD, plenty of USB ports, one optical drive, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Windows 10 Home, and its own keyboard and mouse.
First of all, even though the CPU that comes with this PC is among the weaker ones on the market, it is still part of the Ryzen line of processors and is equipped with the revolutionary Zen architecture from AMD. The specs are actually quite decent, and the CPU even comes with its own Vega 8 integrated graphics that can run most modern games on low to medium settings, albeit at 720p.
Nothing mind-blowing, but nothing too shabby either for a PC priced this low.
We’ve mentioned in the beginning that this PC is the weakest of the bunch, and yes, that has a lot to do with the processor, but it mostly has to do with the amount of RAM.
However, as has been pointed out, the great thing about this PC is its price. It costs only $415, so if your budget is $500 you have plenty of room left to upgrade your 4GB of RAM to 8 or even 16GB, without breaking the bank which will make this PC run much smoother.
Related: Best RAM For Gaming
In case you don’t want to upgrade, however, you should know that this PC can run a lot of the older games which require less RAM on low/medium settings even with 4GB, but you’d have to be careful to turn off as many, if not all of you RAM-consuming background processes as possible.
As regards the storage, 1TB is more than enough for any regular PC, and you can be sure that you will most likely never come even close to running out. It’s no SSD, but that’s to be expected considering the budget.
Overall, this is a decent PC for a novice gamer, casual user, or someone not too keen on having their games look too realistic, and the fact that for $415 it comes with a pre-installed Windows 10 Home, and mouse and keyboard is simply outstanding.
- Comes with an OC
- Plenty of storage
- Not enough RAM
Acer Aspire TC-885-UA91
The second PC we’ve picked is the Acer Aspire TC-885-UA91. This one comes equipped with the i3 9100 processor and its UHD 630 integrated graphics. The processor has 4 cores, 4 threads, a base clock speed of 3.6GHz, and a max boost of 4.2GHz which puts it just slightly above the 2200G.
The Acer Aspire not only comes with 8GB of DDR4 RAM, however, which is immediately much better, but also with 512GB of SSD storage.
Once again, the PC offers plenty of connectivity options, and it even has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, an optical drive, and Windows 10 Home. Again, the price includes a keyboard and a mouse, but it also includes a monitor. To be precise, it comes with the Acer SB200Q.
Related: Best Gaming Monitors of 2020
Beware that with the monitor the price slightly surpasses the $500 mark, but you can always choose to exclude the monitor from your order which will reduce the price to $420.
The only possible downside of this PC is that it only has a 300W PSU. This is enough for it to run smoothly with its current components, but if you ever decide to add a dedicated graphics card, keep in mind that you will have to get a stronger power supply as well.
In terms of processing power, there isn’t much difference between the 2200G and the i3 9100 on paper. Like we’ve said, the i3 9100 has a slightly faster clock speed, but only slightly, while the 2200G’s Vega 8 integrated graphics card is slightly better than the i3 9100’s UHD 630.
However, it’s the i3 9100’s architecture is what makes Intel the winner here. While it may not be a huge difference, the i3 9100 manages to squeeze out a few extra FPS in most games compared to the 2200G.
The 8GB of RAM this PC comes with is still not ideal considering that the system will be sharing that RAM with the GPU, but it is not bad by any means either, and it is infinitely better than what the previous PC had to offer.
As we’ve already mentioned above, this PC comes with a 512GB SSD. We were surprised to find an SSD in a budget PC, but it was a rather pleasant surprise.
With 512GB you won’t have to worry about running out of storage any time soon, but in case you do run out at some point, or you simply want more, you will always be able to add a simple HDD for all your other programs and data while keeping the super-fast SSD storage reserved solely for your favorite games. Or just get another SSD because what’s the harm?
Related: Best SSDs in 2020
Overall, the Acer Aspire is a very good choice, and for a pre-built PC that’s only $5 more expensive without the monitor than our first entry on this list, it is excellent. However, before you pull out your wallet, we urge you to think about what you plan to do with your PC in the future.
For example, it’s important to know that AMD and Intel processors require different motherboards, so if you buy a PC with an Intel processor now, but later want to upgrade it to an AMD processor, you won’t be able to do it without replacing the motherboard as well.
However, if you’re only interested in the PC’s current build, the Acer Aspire is definitely the better choice.
- 8GB of RAM
- An option to order it with a monitor or without
- Weak power supply
Acer Aspire TC-885-UA92
The Acer Aspire TC-885-UA92 is a step up compared to the first two entries on this list. Not only does it come with 12GB of DDR4 RAM, but also the i5 9400 Intel processor.
The CPU has 6 cores, 6 threads, a base clock speed of 2.9GHz, and maximum boost speed of 3.9GHz. It may not seem like much of an improvement, especially because the integrated GPU is still the same as in older models, but the i5 9400 will definitely be able to squeeze a few extra FPS out of that GPU, and the extra RAM is sure to improve the overall experience exponentially.
That said, it still won’t be enough to see any major improvements in gaming. You will be able to play some older games like Civilization VI in 1080p at around 40-45 FPS, but for the most part, you’ll have to stick to 720p gaming until you decide to add a dedicated graphics card.
Once again, this model comes with a 512GB SSD which is amazing, a pre-installed Windows 10 Home, USB keyboard and mouse, a DVD writer, a 300W PSU that will, unfortunately, have to be replaced with a more powerful one if you decide to add a real graphics card, and a 1-year warranty.
First of all, let’s look at the processor.
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s definitely an upgrade compared to the first two on the list, but is the upgrade worth the extra $80 compared to our previous entry?
We think it is.
First of all, while the difference between 130 and 135 FPS may not make any difference whatsoever in your gameplay, the difference between 30 and 35 FPS is much more noticeable, and it can significantly improve your gaming experience.
Related: What Is The Best FPS For Gaming?
Second, it’s always wise to think ahead. If you plan on one day getting a dedicated graphics card, you’ll want a CPU that will be able to support it, and won’t cause bottlenecking which is why it’s never a bad idea to go for the better processor if you can afford it. After all, the processor is the heart of a PC, and not only your games depend on it, but everything else as well.
There is not much to say about the RAM. The more the better! And as this PC comes with 12GB of DDR4 there is really nothing we can complain about. That’s plenty of memory to allow you to both play games and run several background processes at a time without much trouble as long as you don’t overdo it.
Once again, the 512GB SSD is a welcome component. HDDs may offer more storage for the same price, but the superior speeds of SSDs are worth a little sacrifice. Plus, if you ever need more storage, investing another $40 in a regular HDD shouldn’t be a problem, and can be done at any point in the future.
Related: Best Hard Drive For Gaming
As with our previous entries, this PC comes with its own keyboard and mouse which is great if you need it, but we would have liked an option to order just the PC as it would decrease the price for those who already have spare peripherals lying around from an older PC.
Other than that, there isn’t really anything we can complain about when it comes to this PC. It looks great and has quality parts for a decent price that doesn’t exceed $500.
- 12GB of RAM
- Faster storage
- An excellent processor
- Weak power supply
iBUYPOWER Enthusiast Gaming PC
Next up is the iBUYPOWER Enthusiast Gaming PC.
The Enthusiast comes with the Ryzen 3 3200G APU based on the Zen+ architecture. While it still has 4 cores, 4 threads, and a 3.6GHz base clock speed, the Zen+ makes this APU an improvement compared to the 2nd –gen Ryzen processors.
The 3200G has also kept the same Vega 8 integrated GPU, and the gaming is still best when kept at 720p, but despite that, this APU is powerful enough to run most modern games at decent FPS on low settings. And for what its worth, it can run Fortnite on medium to high settings at a stable 60 FPS.
Related: Best Ryzen Processors
Speaking of GPUs, this is the first PC on this list that actually has a dedicated graphics card (NVIDIA GeForce GT 710). The reason we didn’t mention it above was that, sadly, it’s actually worse than the 3200G’s integrated graphics, and you will get absolutely no use out of it. Nevertheless, even without it, for $470 this PC is quite good enough.
Other than that, the PC is equipped with 8GB of DDR4 memory, a pre-installed Windows 10 Home, Wi-Fi, the usual keyboard and mouse, and a 1TB of HDD. It’s no SSD, but it has plenty of storage to compensate for it.
And last, but not least, the PC actually looks gorgeous. It comes in a sleek, minimalistic black case with a transparent side panel, and RGB case lighting.
First of all, let’s address the elephant in the room.
While this PC is decent for its price, there are some things we would have preferred had been done differently.
The abovementioned dedicated graphics card is utterly unnecessary and its place in this PC is completely unjustified as it serves absolutely no purpose.
The better choice would have been to exclude the GT 710, and instead replace the 3200G with a 3400G. It would amount to about the same price, and the performance would be significantly improved. But unfortunately, it’s not up to us.
Other than this, there isn’t much to complain about with this PC. It’s a significant improvement compared to the first entry on this list and a good choice for AMD fans, however, if you’re leaning toward team-blue our suggestion is to go for the Aspire TC-885-UA92.
Related: AMD Ryzen vs. Intel
- 8GB of RAM
- Solid processor
- Looks amazing
- Unnecessary GPU which serves only to raise the price
- No SSD
CUK ASRock DeskMini A300
This one is a little different, to say the least.
The CUK ASRock DeskMini A300 is truly a mini PC. Because of this, it doesn’t leave much room for upgrades, but if what you want is a budget PC for gaming that will do its job for a while, and then be replaced with another machine, this is a pretty good deal.
Just like our previous entry, this Mini PC comes with the Ryzen 3 3200G, however, for only $10 more you get 16GB of DDR4 RAM running at 2666MHz, and an NVMe SSD with no less than 512GB of storage, and a 3-year warranty.
This, however, doesn’t come without a price. Unlike the other PCs, this one has none of the additional features the other PCs on this list have (no optical drive, no Windows, no keyboard or mouse) except for Wi-Fi.
Related: Best Gaming Mouse under $50
Considering its size, this little one is a real beast.
The DeskMini A300 has a great processor that can run most of the newer games at a minimum of 30FPS at low settings, but what surprised us the most were the RAM and storage.
This is the first and unfortunately the only PC on this list with 16GB of RAM. While 8 and 12GB of RAM is really good, these days 16 is the ideal number when it comes to memory, and especially when it comes to memory meant for a PC with an integrated GPU.
What’s more, AMD’s processors rely quite heavily on RAM memory, so the more you have, the better the CPU’s performance (although any more than 16 GB would just be overkill).
When it comes to storage, this little guy takes the cake. A 512GB NVMe SSD is something you’d see in a premium build, not in budget mini PC, but nevertheless, here it is.
If you don’t know what a NVMe SSD is, it’s basically a type of extremely fast storage that can reach transfer speeds up to 3GB/s. And now you know why we were baffled to find it here.
However, as if to balance it out, this PC has a bunch of other things we don’t really like. For example, it can’t really be upgraded as there is simply no room for a dedicated graphics card. It also comes without an operating system, any kind of peripherals, and has only one USB 3.0 port in the front of the case, so you’ll probably have to spend a bit more to complete this PC unless you have some spare peripherals lying around.
Related: Best Gaming Keyboard
The DeskMini A300 is a really good budget PC, but it’s not for everyone.
The only ones we’d recommend it are the ones who only need a quick and portable solution for casual gaming and everyday use because if your goal is to gradually improve your rig over the years and keep up with the current trends, this PC will not allow you to do that.
- Extremely fast NVMe storage
- 16GB of RAM
- No room for upgrades
- No OC
- No peripherals
HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop 690-0010
The following two PCs are hands down the best on this list, however, they are also the most expensive, both of them coming in at $550.
The first one is the HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop 690-0010.
It comes equipped with the Ryzen 3 2200G processor combined with the RX 550 dedicated graphics card with its own 4GB of VRAM, meaning that it doesn’t have to use system memory. This way you won’t have to worry about closing all the background processes before launching a game because for that you’ll have 8GB of regular DDR4 RAM running at 2666MHz.
Unfortunately, this time there’s no SSD, but considering the PC comes with a dedicated GPU, it’s no wonder. Instead, it’s equipped with a 1TB HDD.
Just like all the previous entries (except for the Mini), the price of the Pavilion 690-0010 includes Windows 10 Home, and a keyboard and mouse.
Everything this PC has we’ve seen and talked about in the previous entries on this list, but the biggest change and the reason this PC is more expensive than the others is the RX 550 dedicated graphics card.
When it comes to gaming, the single most important thing is the GPU or the graphics card. It is what dictates how well the game will look and perform. Integrated graphics cards can be used for gaming quite effectively, especially the newer AMD Ryzen ones, however, even the best of them will never be able to beat a real dedicated GPU.
The RX 550 is an entry-level GPU, nevertheless, it performs admirably in combination with the 2200G giving you a much better gaming experience than any of the other integrated cards on this list.
Even though having a CPU with an integrated card and a dedicated video card in the same PC is completely redundant, it does provide a good backup in case the dedicated card dies or malfunctions.
Even though we’ve previously said that 16GB of RAM is the optimal amount, the 8GB that this PC has is quite enough, and probably will be enough for as long as you own this PC since this time the graphics card has its own VRAM, meaning that the system and the GPU don’t have to share memory anymore.
However, even if at one point you wish to upgrade it, you’ll be happy to know that this PC supports up to 32GB of RAM.
Overall, this one and the following entry on this list will give you the most value for your money.
- A dedicated GPU
- Plenty of RAM
- The price that slightly exceeds the budget
- No SSD
AVGPC MAX1 Gaming
And finally, the last PC we have for you is the AVGPC MAX1 Gaming.
As we’ve mentioned before, this PC goes slightly over the budget, but trust us, it’s absolutely worth it.
The MAX1 comes with Ryzen 5 1500X which has 4 cores, 8 threads, and a base clock speed of 3.5GHz, paired up with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050, and it is hands down the most powerful PC on this list.
Supporting it, there’s 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 1TB HDD. As usual, a mouse and keyboard are also included in the price, but this time, instead of the Windows 10 Home, we have the Windows 10 Pro providing you with much better security.
In addition to that, it’s all neatly packed in a great-looking case sporting several LED fans displayed through a clear side panel.
It is generally accepted that when buying a PC you will always get a better bang for your buck when you buy it in parts and put it together yourself. However, it was a rather pleasant surprise to see that this PC is the exception to the general rule.
Like we’ve said already, this is hands down the best PC on this list as the GTX 1050 even slightly surpasses the RX 550 in terms of in-game performance, and will consistently give you a handful of extra FPS. You’ll be happy to know that with these two, you can finally start to dabble in 1080p gaming.
The Windows 10 Pro was a nice touch too, considering that all of the previous ones came with only the Home version.
Related: Windows 10 Home vs. Pro
In all honesty, we were starting to wonder if there might be something wrong with it considering how good the value is for the price, but there isn’t. The PC can be found completely new on Amazon through the link below, and it comes with a 1-year warranty in case there are any malfunctions.
Unless you mind the slight increase in price, and you want the best PC you can possibly get right away there is no reason not to go with the MAX1.
- A dedicated GPU
- Windows 10 Pro
- The price
- No SSD
Do You Need a $500 Prebuilt Gaming PC?
Let’s take a good, honest look at what $500 can buy you.
Generally speaking, you’re going to end up with a PC that’s missing some features.
Whether you’ll need to buy an operating system, add a hard drive, or upgrade the graphics card, you’re not going to play any current games with amazing graphics without spending a little bit more time and money. This is one of those things that you just have to accept because there’s no use in fighting it.
That said, a lot of these PCs are quite good, and would have been state of the art just a few years ago. They’re great for getting you started, and you can play a lot of killer games on them.
If you’re looking to play older games or spend some time upgrading your system, a $500 prebuilt gaming PC is a good choice for you.
Of course, if you’re looking to play newer games, there are better ways to spend $500. You can buy an Xbox One X or PlayStation 4 Pro for less than that, and you’ll be able to play new releases from the moment you open the box.
On the other hand, there’s no way to upgrade a game console. Once the next generation of consoles comes out, the only way to play newer games is to buy a whole new console.
With a PC, you can make upgrades over time, as you can afford them. This is easier on your wallet, and it also means you aren’t paying to replace parts that are perfectly fine, like your case, fans and optical drive for example.
However, if none of the options we’ve suggested so far work for you, the final option is to build your own PC, and in our honest opinion, that’s also the best option.
Related: Prebuilt vs. Custom PC
Because for $500, you can put together a system that blows all these prebuilt PCs out of the water. Of course, this requires some expertise, so keep in mind that this is only if you know how to put a PC together or are willing to tinker with it or follow the numerous tutorials that exist on Youtube.
Leaving it to the professionals is probably the best option if you’re not confident in your skills. However, if you are we urge you to take a look at our ultimate PC build for the Best Budget $500 Gaming PC . We promise you won’t be disappointed.
The Best Prebuilt $500 Gaming PC of 2020
There are some great candidates on the list above, but we still couldn’t help throwing in a few honorable mentions:
Our first honorable mention goes to the Lenovo 510A. This PC is brand new, not refurbished, and has a 1-year warranty.
You might be wondering why we put this PC only under honorable mentions when it’s, in fact, better than some of the picks on the list above, and that’s because we wanted to introduce variety in both price and quality so that there could be a little something for everyone. This is why we absolutely had to mention it here.
The Lenovo 510A is equipped with the Ryzen 3 3200G APU and its Vega 8 integrated graphics card that will run even some of the most recent games. With 8GB of RAM, you won’t have to worry about memory for a while, but in case you want more you’re always free to upgrade.
Aside from that, for exactly $500 the Lenovo 510A will give you 256GB of SSD storage, Wi-Fi, Windows 10 Pro, a keyboard, mouse, and even a mousepad. Pretty neat, right?
Our second honorable mention is the AVGPC MAX. This is a great PC that is actually a variation of our final pick on the list above.
Just like the MAX1, the AVGPC MAX comes with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050, except that this one has a weaker processor, namely the Ryzen 3 1200.
This is not ideal, but it’s not bad either considering that this processor is still good enough for this particular GPU. The only way it could be a problem is if you decide to upgrade the graphics card. Besides that, it comes with a 240GB SSD, Windows 10 Pro, Wi-Fi, keyboard and mouse, and a 1-year warranty, and all that for exactly $500.
And there they are, our picks for the best prebuilt gaming PCs you can find under (or around) $500 in 2020.
We hope that we’ve managed to give you a general idea of what you can expect to get for the money these days and that you’ll soon find yourself enjoying your favorite videogames on one of the PCs from this list.
However, if you’re a brave soul, and you’d like to build your own PC instead, check out the list of parts we’ve compiled for the Best PC Build under $500 for some inspiration.