Having trouble finding the best gaming PC for under $500? Then look no further, we have gathered all available cheap gaming desktops in this useful comparison chart. Here you can sort computers by name, CPU, GPU, RAM, HDD or SSD size and of course by price. These PCs come from different sources, most are sold on Amazon.com, couple are sold on Newegg.com, some are from Walmart and Best Buy. There is wide selection of manufacturers, including well known brands like HP, Lenovo, CyberPowerPC, iBUYPOWER and also few small companies that assemble gaming computers. If you are on a tight budget and want a good PC for the money, then you shouldn’t buy the first thing you see. Gaming performance varies a lot with cheap prebuilt gaming computers, one can be over 5x faster than the other. Weakest can’t even reach 30 FPS in newer games at 720p low settings, while the best computer can run them mostly at 1080p medium.
Best gaming PC under 500 dollars
Best gaming computer for under $500 is currently the Lenovo IdeaCentre 720-18ASU 90H10005US. At first glance, the price of this simple looking Lenovo seems too good to be true. Building similar computer by yourself, including OS would cost much over $500. If you really get the right model, then it’s a very good budget gaming desktop, it’s even better than most sub $600 gaming computers. Some people complain that they have gotten a different Lenovo model with weaker graphics, be careful. A 4 core/ 8 thread Ryzen 5 1400 processor and 4GB GDDR5 AMD Radeon RX 560 are both amazing for this price range. This Lenovo doesn’t look like a typical gaming PC, it doesn’t have a transparent side panel or RGB lighting. But thanks to its RX 560 video card, it outperforms any other cheap gaming computer. I think having a powerful PC with simple design is better than a good looking computer that can’t play new games. If you are looking to gift it to someone younger who wants a desktop with a large case and colorful LED fans, then there are alternatives with shiny gaming PC cases in the comparison chart. Although you have to settle with weaker gaming performance.
PC with best graphics card
Lenovo IdeaCentre 720-18ASU 90H10005US has the best graphics card in this roundup. The 4GB version of AMD Radeon RX 560 is a very good video card for an under $500 gaming PC, even many more expensive gaming desktops have weaker cards. It is unknown if it’s the 896 (aka RX 460) or 1024 shader variant. Either way it beats popular budget graphics cards, AMD Radeon RX 550 and NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030. These two are much slower, but still adequate for playing today’s games with reduced graphics settings.
The weakest video card is found in iBUYPOWER ARC 031A. The 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 710 was never meant to be a gaming card, so it should be avoided if you want to play any demanding games from recent years. Same goes for computers with Radeon R7 240/R5 340 and GeForce GT 730.
PC with best processor
Interestingly, almost all gaming PCs under $500 use AMD processors, there are no computers with Intel Pentium or Core i3 CPU. HP Pavilion 590-p0040 wins as the computer with the best CPU, its Ryzen 5 2400G has 4 cores and 8 threads like Ryzen 5 1400, but it runs at higher clock speed. Downside is that you are stuck with the integrated GPU, because the power supply (180W) is too weak to allow upgrade of the graphics card.
The weakest CPU should be the AMD FX-4300, which is found in multiple iBUYPOWER and CyberPowerPC gaming PCs. It was released in 2012 and it is based on the updated version of Bulldozer microarchitecture.
PC with best system memory
All but one gaming computer in this list have 8GB of RAM, but PCs with dedicated graphics cards win here, because integrated GPUs on Ryzen processors use some of the system memory. Only about 6-7GB of RAM will be usable when gaming on AMD Ryzen 2200G and 2400G machines with no separate video card. It is highly recommended to have fast memory running in dual-channel in PCs with integrated Vega graphics, gaming performance will suffer greatly if there is only one RAM stick installed.
Only the HP Pavilion 590-p0020 has unacceptably low amount of RAM. 4GB of system memory is basically unusable for modern games. Mostly because its AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics will use large portion of the already limited system memory, meaning there will be heavy stuttering in newer games.
PC with best hard drive or SSD
Most gaming desktops under $500 are equipped with 1TB hard drives, couple have an SSD, but none have both. Having an SSD boot drive means much better user experience, but there will be not enough room for many games on a 128 or 256GB SSD. You will need to buy a separate HDD for your Steam library or reuse hard drive from your old computer. If the system doesn’t have an SSD then at least a 7200RPM hard drive is recommended, but even then loading times will be still longer than on a solid state drive.
November 2018 updates:
ABS Simpli ALA088 and ABS Mag ALA079 are no longer available, replaced with ABS Fort ALA096.
CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Ultra GUA268, HP Pavilion (690-0010, Black), iBUYPOWER WA010A and iBUYPOWER WA563GT2 are no longer under $500, removed from list.
January 2019 updates:
ABS Fort ALA096 is no longer available.
March 2019 updates:
Added new CyberpowerPC gaming computer.