Gaming desktops can cost a lot of money but did you know you can get a relatively good 1080p experience with one of our best cheap prebuilt gaming PC under $500 recommendations! That’s right, gaming isn’t just reserved for those with bags of cash but you should certainly reign in your expectations, with prebuilt gaming PCs under $500 often struggling 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.
We always recommend you build your own gaming PC but we understand that not everyone has the time, so without further ado, let’s take a look.
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Our 5 Best Cheap Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $500
iBUYPOWER brings another excellent prebuilt option to the table. This one comes equipped with one of AMD’s powerful Ryzen 3 3100 entry-level CPUs. It has also been paired with the RX 550 GPU, 240GB of SSD Storage space, and 8GB of DDR4 RAM for extra in-game performance.
iBUYPOWER are no strangers when it comes to building excellent PCs for gamers. This build is another great example of their ability to offer up affordable, high-performing, builds.
This pre-built AMD gaming PC boasts an entry-level AMD Athlon 3000G 4-core, 4-thread processor, with onboard Vega graphics, and 8GB of DDR4 RAM. This is the perfect entry-level PC for someone looking to get into low-intensive PC gaming.
The Allied Gaming Javelin mini PC not only comes with a great aesthetic but also comes to us at an excellent price point. While the CPU is entry-level, it is going to allow for some gameplay in low settings.
This excellent starter PC comes to the table equipped with AMD’s Ryzen 5 3600 CPU, 8GB of rapid RAM, a Radeon RX 5500 XT GPU, and a 240GB of rapid SSD storage. It’s great for lower intensive gaming and competitive esports.
Elegant and compact – this is what the iBUYPOWER Gaming PC Computer Desktop Trace 4 9310 is all about.
Housing the ever-popular AMD Ryzen 5 3600, the Trace 4 9310 gaming PC is the perfect choice for gamers looking to spend a little bit extra on their next prebuilt PC. This machine is capable of running most AAA titles at medium-low settings thanks to the powerful Radeon RX 5500 XT it comes equipped with.
A great prebuilt thanks to a powerful mix of processing power and graphical processing.
This budget build features a 3rd-generation Ryzen 3 3200G APU, that produces surprising results at a low cost. This prebuilt is great for an entry-level gamine experience.
You may not be familiar with Mega Gaming, but rest assured, they know a thing or two about entry-level pre-built PC’s. This one comes to you with everything you’re going to need to tackle some of the latest games in 1080p.
Not only does it have great off-the-shelf performance, but it also allows for future upgradability when you deem necessary.
Many will be surprised by the power this small gaming rig has within. Thanks to technological advancements over the past 10 years, developers have been able to squeeze more power into much smaller form factors. Thus we have the Deskmini.
To touch on hardware briefly, the deskmini comes equipped with the Ryzen 3 2200G processor, widely considered the greatest value for money CPU available. Paired with this, the build has been armed with 8GB 2,666Mhz RAM which helps boost performance exponentially.
There is no real downside to this build, however, if you are thinking about expansion down the line you are severely limited due to the size of the case.
If you want to upgrade the GPU then you would have to buy a mini GPU as well, no surprises there. However, they are usually a bit cheaper so it’s a win-win.
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.
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.
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 To Look For In 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.
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.
As prebuilt gaming PC’s under $500 fall into the entry-level category, the graphics cards that feature are often older generation cards. These GPUs may struggle to play the latest AAA games in high settings but they work very well with esports titles, especially when playing in 1080p.
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.
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.
Best 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).
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.
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.
The 5 Best Cheap Prebuilt Gaming PCs Under $500 in 2021
Solid budget performance
Compact form factor
Great aesthetics, with RGB fans
Entry level graphics
The iBUYPOWER Element Mini 9300 is a budget gaming PC that paks a decent amount of performance into a compact chassis. There are few prebuilt computers that offer a CPU/ GPU combination of this quality, with this offering a great entry-level experience.
Powering the build is AMD’s Ryzen 3 3100, a budget CPU 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 3.9GHz in the BIOS. With 4 cores and 8 threads, you are getting budget multithreading performance and this will feel speedier than most budget gaming PCs on the market. To go along with the CPU, we see a Radeon RX 550 GPU. While this graphics card is about as entry-level as you can get, it still offers a decent gaming experience for the price.
The Element Mini 9300 features 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 240GB SSD. While this storage solution isn’t particularly big, it is enough to get you playing out of the box, with room for your OS and a few favorite games.
This would make an excellent PC for beginners and hardcore gamers alike, with strong gaming features at the heart of this build. Aside from the components, you get a PC case with pre-installed RGB fans, a PSU shroud, and a window to see inside. Lastly, you also receive an iBUYPOWER keyboard and mouse so you can jump straight into those games when it arrives.
Way under budget
Features multithreading, Wi-Fi, and a big enough PSU for future upgrades
only 2 cores and 4 threads on the CPU
Will need upgrading sooner than other options
The Allied Gaming Javelin Gaming PC comes with everything you are going to need to start your entry-level gaming career off with a bang. This budget prebuilt for under $500 features a sleek PC case, RGB fans, AMD Athlon CPU, and speedy SSD storage device.
Inside we see AMD’s Athlon 3000G. This dual-core processor features a 3.5GHz clock speed and comes with onboard Vega graphics. Yes, this processor is multithreaded but it is entry-level and can only take you so far. A great future upgrade for this PC would be a new GPU, with the PSU already supplying enough power for that down the line.
Backing up the CPU we see 8GB of RAM, Wi-Fi, and a 240GB 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.
Great gaming performance
Very efficient hybrid storage solution
Comes with keyboard and mouse
SSD not the largest
The CYBERPOWERPC gaming Extreme VR PC 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 also offers up a keyboard and mouse right-out-the-box.
At the heart of this build lies the ever-popular Intel 9400F – Intel’s low-end gaming processor. The CPU brings a 2.9Ghz base clock/ 4.1Ghz boost clock speed which is more than enough to run lower-end games. Paired alongside this very capable process sits 16GB of DDR4 3000Mhz RAM, 512GB 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 GTX 1660. This makes the CYBERPOWERPC, by far, the most powerful in this guide.
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.
Good entry-level performance
512GB SSD space
Doesn’t handle demanding games that well
If you want to experience the AMD’s Ryzen series, this prebuilt gaming PC os one of the best for the price. This may not be as fast as Intel’s Core i5-8400 but the Ryzen 3 3200G still delivers some serious processing speeds.
The VEGA 8 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.
Solid APU Tailored Towards Gaming
Features an SSD
Limited room for expansion
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.
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.
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!