Best Cheap Prebuilt Gaming PCs Under $500 – 5 Budget Desktops 2019

5 Best Prebuilt Gaming PC Under 500 – 2018 Reviews and Top Picks

After spending nearly 100 hours testing 8 popular prebuilt gaming desktops, we’ve concluded that the iBuyPower Enthusiast is the best budget prebuilt gaming computer currently on the market for around $500. This PC packs a punch with it's AMD Ryzen 2400G APU, 8GB DDR4 RAM and 120GB SSD. This prebuilt machine will allow you to run most of today's AAA titles on low to medium settings with very little compromise. If you want to learn more about what makes the best prebuilt gaming PC for $500 then continue reading below.

If you are feeling a little more adventurous and you are up to the task of building your own gaming computer, then check out our guide right here: how to build your own custom PC with less than $500.

Our Pick
iBuyPower Enthusiast Gaming PC

iBuyPower Enthusiast Gaming PC

A powerful prebuilt gaming PC

Not only does the iBuyPower Prebuilt PC run the latest AMD Ryzen processor, but it also has a Vega 11 onboard graphics card. With the included 120GB SSD, you’ll experience faster boot and loading times. For a budget prebuilt machine, you can't look anywhere else.

Elegant and compact - this is what the iBuyPower Enthusiast series is about.

The iBuyPower Enthusiast prebuilt machine with it's AMD 2400G APU is the perfect choice for gamers on a budget. This machine is capable of running most AAA titles at low to medium settings and absolutely smashes Intel's 8th generation integrated CPUs out of the park.

This machine with it's AMD APU is the perfect blend, giving you great value for money.

Intel Pick
CYBERPOWERPC Syber Domino SDG8 Gaming PC

CYBERPOWERPC Syber Domino SDG8 Gaming PC

A solid Intel Build Which Packs A Punch

The CYBERPOWERPC Syber Domino is arguably the best build on this list and for good reason. At the heart of this rig you will find the i3-8100 paired with Nvidia's GTX 1060 3GB which makes for a deadly partnership.

The Syber Domino also comes equipped with 8GB of RAM which is quite capable of handling most games. The powerful processor guarantees speed and performance. It also comes with a 1TB HDD for you to store whatever games you fancy.

For the price, it’s guaranteed to give you the future-proofing you need for the next couple of years, the only alteration I'd make personally is the addition of a Solid State Drive.

Honourable Mention
HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop Computer

HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop Computer

A prebuilt budget gaming PC from HP

This prebuilt AMD gaming PC boasts a powerful Ryzen 3 2200G processor. On top of this, you also have 8GB of DDR4 RAM and 1TB of space for your games and other media files. Not forgetting the RX 550 this build comes armed with.

HP has been known to manufacture a lot of durable products over the years. So if you’re rough on your electronics (or maybe have a pesky pet or destructive toddler), then the HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop PC could be your match.

Not only do you have a powerful processor that’s sure to handle multiple applications at once, but you can also store whatever games you want thanks to the 1TB of storage space.

The RX 550 is going to make playing GPU demanding games a possibility as well, opening a whole plethora of opportunities that don't come with cheaper builds.

AMD Budget Pick
CLX Set Gaming PC

CLX Set Gaming PC

Another good gaming desktop under $500

The Ryzen 2200G features once again in this build and why not? pound for pound it's one of the best price/performance processors on the market, not to mention it comes with VEGA 8 integrated graphics which blows anything Intel has to offer out the water. 

The CLX Set Gaming PC compromises nothing. The entire system is capable of handling older AAA games. It can also run some of the newer AAA titles-- as long as you’re smart enough to tone down some in-game graphics.

For $500, the Ryzen 3 2200G in this build is a great component to build around. Pair this with a solid GPU, the RX 560 is a great example, and some 2,666Mhz RAM and you'll be more than happy with the performance results you discover. 

Mini Form Factor
CUK AsRock DeskMini

CUK AsRock DeskMini

A powerful mini gaming rig

Many will be surprised with 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 severley 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 win win.

How We Choose What to Test

When choosing which prebuilt desktops to test, we first checked the most recent releases by Acer, iBuyPower, CyberPowerPC, Dell, HP, CUKUSA, Lenovo, and other big manufacturers of gaming PCs.

From there, we scoured the internet to see which prebuilt gaming computers gamers have actually been using. We didn’t just read the top results from Google; instead, we went to forums to get real information from real consumers.

We checked hundreds of actual customer reviews from Amazon, NewEgg, eBay, and other well-known eCommerce websites to gather real-world experiences. We also checked in-depth video reviews and comparisons.

After spending several hours gathering and comparing customer reviews, we finally came up with our 8 initial candidates that showcased different features as to best meet a variety of gaming needs. From that 8 we decided upon 5 top picks which meet our criteria of solid gaming performance at around $500.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Prebuilt Gaming PC

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 at 60FPS. Still, it’s surprising just how far the best gaming computer under $500 can take you nowadays.

In the process, there are several factors that need to be considered.

Processor

First and foremost, you want a powerful processor. Why? Because a processor is the key to future-proofing or ensuring that you don’t have to upgrade your computer anytime soon.

Here’s why…

A graphics card can be plugged into just about any motherboard as long as the right amount of voltage is supplied from the power supply.

The processor, however, has to be compatible with the motherboard. So if you want to upgrade your CPU, it’s likely that you will also have to upgrade your motherboard, which is more costly.

That’s why our list favors rigs that come with powerful processors rather than graphics cards.

Graphics Card

Based on our above logic, the graphics card is likely the first thing you’ll want to upgrade on one of these rigs to get it from being merely good to being great.

As stated, the processors on the list are capable of handling average AAA games. However, a GPU upgrade should make a tremendous difference. A 3GB GTX 1060 should be enough to experience 1080p gaming with a 60 FPS average.

RAM

Having 8GB of RAM is the common threshold for modern gaming. In fact, that’s why all of the desktops on our list boasts at least that much.

This means a RAM upgrade isn’t really necessary with any of these builds.

Storage Space

When it comes to storage space you have two options: SSD or HDD. For the purpose of this review, you don’t need to know much more than this: SSD is fast but expensive while HDD is slow but cheap.

Ultimately, it is less about which type of storage you’ll use and more about how much you’ll make use of each since it’s advisable to go with a hybrid storage system -- 120GB SSD for system files and 1TB HDD for games and personal files.

I'd recommend checking out our SSD vs HDD page to find out more.

Chassis/Case

Never forget, airflow is one of the most vital factors in keeping your computer’s temperatures down. Whenever possible, you want to choose a computer whose case has enough room for future upgrades. Broadly speaking, the bigger the better.

LED lights and other aesthetics may benefit your eyes but if this doesn’t provide enough airflow to keep the system cool, you’re better off shopping for another one that does.

How (and What) We Tested

Testing the prebuilt gaming PCs is pretty much straightforward. We installed the following games and recorded benchmark results:

  • PUBG
  • Fortnite
  • Overwatch
  • GTA V
  • Rocket League
  • Battlefield 1
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • The Witcher III

Note: Some of the recent games such as Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Devil May Cry 5, Anthem, and Resident Evil 2 may need more power that what’s inside the most powerful one on the list. But can still be played with huge sacrifices in the graphics department.

We spent hours playing games just so we could test and see what each rig is really capable of. (Obviously, we have very hard lives.)

After playing hours of games and benchmarking the results, we confirmed that the Syber Domono can handle games in 1080p with a few adjustments to the game’s graphics settings.

The syber is currently the only build in this list that makes use of an Intel chip, but make no mistake,the Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400g which the IBuyPower Enthusiast Gaming PC, the HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop Computer, and the CLX Set Gaming PC use are powerful processors. They don't necessarily need a standalone GPU to be efficient thanks to AMD's VEGA graphics which is miles ahead of anything Intel have to offer.

Instead of stopping there, we decided to do some further testing... we hooked a GTX 1060 graphics card up to some of the picks in the list to see what kind of performance improvement we would achieve. To our surprise, the performance increase that was achieved turned out to be much greater than our initial forecast. Great news for those wanting to upgrade down the road.

Further to this, we decided to upgrade the RAM to 3,000Mhz in all the builds, the performance boost we saw from the Ryzen chips was massive. We can't recommend upgrading the RAM enough, the Ryzen chips are built to enjoy quicker memory and once you upgrade, you'll understand why.

Disclaimer: The prebuilt gaming desktops we tested were purchased and were not sent or sponsored to make biased opinions or feedback.

The 5 Best Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $500

Product Details
iBuyPower Enthusiast Gaming PC

iBuyPower Enthusiast Gaming PC

  • cpu: AMD 2400G
  • gpu: Radeon Vega 11
  • ram: 8GB DDR4
  • storage: 120GB SSD
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CYBERPOWERPC Syber Domino SDG8 Gaming PC

CYBERPOWERPC Syber Domino SDG8 Gaming PC

  • cpu: i3-8100 3.6GHz
  • gpu: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB
  • ram: 8GB DDR4
  • storage: 1TB HDD
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HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop Computer

HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop Computer

  • cpu: Ryzen 3 2200G 3.5Ghz
  • gpu: Radeon RX 550
  • ram: 8GB DDR4
  • storage: 1TB HDD
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CLX Set Gaming PC

CLX Set Gaming PC

  • cpu: Ryzen 3 2200G 3.50Ghz
  • gpu: AMD RX 560x2GB
  • ram: 8Gb DDR4
  • storage: 120Gb SSD
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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
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#1

iBuyPower Enthusiast Gaming PC Desktop (ARC 032A)

What we have here is our best AMD pre-built gaming PC for $500 (or around that mark). We were really impressed to see what IBuyPower had been able to cram into this build whilst still maintaining a decent price point, something other brands simply could not achieve. The best CPU in it's class, fantastic graphics specifically geared towards gaming and a solid state drive are just a few of the tech features we're going to touch upon shortly.

When we recommend a pre-built gaming PC we like to point people in the right direction, we like to make sure the hardware inside the builds is both up-to-date and able to handle popular AAA game titles that we all know and love. This build ticks all those boxes with ease thanks to it's bang up-to-date hardware which we dive into now.

The first thing that caught our eye with this build was the 2400G that centers this build. It is simply the best pound for pound, price/performance gaming APU available in today's market. It comes clocked at 3.6Ghz which is plenty quick enough to handle games such as League of Legends, Fortnight and CS:GO. A long side the potent CPU is AMD's onboard graphics solution, VEGA 11. Now many of you will be saying, 'onboard graphics, thats garbage', and up until recently you'd of been correct in thinking so. However with the technological advancements we're seeing now, the VEGA 11 is the most powerful onboard graphics solution, ever. It's easily capable of handling HD gameplay at 40-60FPS across a plethora of gaming platforms.

AMD aside, this build comes with 120GB of SSD which is more than enough to get you up and running with Windows and a few primary game titles. Inevitably, you are going to have to get a larger drive, but for now you can enjoy the super quick load and boot times that come with an SSD. If you pair all this with super fast 8GB of DDR4 RAM then what you have is a very capable, extremely affordable gaming rig.

All you need to worry about now is getting a keyboard and mouse sorted....Well think again, IBuyPower have you covered here and decided to throw those in as well!

Excellent value for money, excellent performance power for the price, a fantastic all round pre-build that takes the top spot for AMD.

 

#2

CYBERPOWERPC Syber Domino SDG8 Gaming PC

Next up we come to our Intel Pick which comes in the shape of the CYBERPOWERPC Syber Domino Gaming PC. Another brilliant addition to our list which easily handles AAA gaming titles at decent settings with solid FPS. This build is all about power and performance, and unlike the AMD pick it comes with a very effective graphics card as well. So let's dive into the hardware!

All great gaming rigs have a good balance between CPU power and GPU performance, and the Syber Domino certainly ticks those boxes by pairing an i3-8100 with a GTX 1060 3GB.

The i3-8100 is from Intel's 8th generation core processors and is a mainstream quad-core CPU. Even though it's considered an entry level chip, it still boasts an impressive 3.6Ghz factory clock speed along side the latest Coffee Lake technology. For it's price range it has extremely high single core and quad core performance benchmarks and is considered superb value for money. This being said we were very pleased to see it's entry in this build.

The GPU is Nvidia's GTX 1060 3GB which is widely considered to be one of their best, cheaper range graphics card options. It has excellent performance power which has the ability to handle most of today's games at medium settings whilst holding a stable FPS of 60+. When paired with the I3-8100 you really do have a deadly combination.

The Syber Domino comes armed with 1TB of HDD which is more than enough room to accommodate your OS, games library and additional media content. However, this build doesn't come with SSD meaning you can't take advantage of the super quick loading times it comes with.

Furthermore, CYBERPOWERPC decided to throw in your peripherals as well meaning you're ready to start fragging the minute you get this build home!

 

#3

HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop Computer

The HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop is a slight step down from our top AMD pick, but only slightly. In saying that however, it's slightly cheaper in the pricing as well so it will cater to those that can't quite squeeze the extra out of their budget.

Let's not take anything away from this build though, it's a fantastic performing gaming build if you're happy playing lesser demanding games such as fortnight and CS:GO. Anything more demanding, like PUBG, you will start to see large dips in FPS.

The Ryzen 3 2200G is the entry-level APU which AMD currently offer, it comes equipped with VEGA 8 integrated graphics, however this build has been equipped with a standalone GPU for additional performance in certain games which are more dependent on the systems graphical performance.

Another great aspect of this gaming rig is how they decided to boost the RAM speed to 2,666Mhz. You might be asking yourself how that makes a difference, and in short, Ryzen's APU chips thrive when paired with faster RAM. The performance increase you will see by pairing your Ryzen with solid 2,666+ RAM will outshine any similarly priced GPU upgrade. Very handy when you are working with a budget such as now.

The HP comes with 1TB of 7200RPM HDD storage space which is more than adequate for storing all your games, OS and additional media content. It doesn't have an SSD so overall boot times are going to be a little slower than our top AMD pick, however it has a much bigger overall storage capacity meaning you'll have enough time to save for an SSD and not run out of room in the process.

This is our Runner up pick for $500 pre builds, solid performance at a reasonable price, what more could you want at this price range?

#4

CLX Set Gaming PC

The cheapest pre-build in this list goes to the CLX gaming rig, but take nothing away from this build, it has all the punching power you'd require to smash out AAA gaming titles at decent settings. CLX are no strangers to putting together solid gaming rigs and our $500 pick is no different. We've considered this our budget pick of the lot but really it should be called the value pick... Let's find out why..

The first thing that grabbed us with this build was the fantastic case it comes housed in, tempered glass for the front and side whilst RGB fans illuminate the front and rear, the overall look of this case is stylish and sleek. Upon diving into the hardware you'll find a Ryzen 3 2200G, AMD's entry level APU, which comes clocked at 3.5Ghz and powerful enough to run your low-mid demanding game titles (think Fornite, CS:GO and LOL). It's been paired with a RX 560 2GB model which bolsters the performance power of this build nicely. The build also comes with 120GB SSD meaning loading times will be rapid unlike the HDD's of other builds in this list.

One disappointing element of this build is the 2,400Ghz RAM. As stated above Ryzen chips thrive off fast RAM (2600+), we'd definitely recommend boosting the RAM to at least this in the customization tool if you want to maximize the performance potential out of this build.

All being said though, for the price, you're getting a brilliant build which is going to last a good few years into the future.

#5

CUK AsRock DeskMini

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 it's 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 it's 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 are a perfect pairing for the 2200G and provide 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, Super fast 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 con's as well. As far as mini form builds go though, this is a fantastic option.

Best Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $400

So that's our list of best pre built gaming PC's for $500, but what if $500 is just out of reach?

Luckily, a number of manufacturers now provide decent gaming builds for around the $400 mark. However, for this price, you're theoretically scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of performance levels and won't be able to play the latest games.

This being said, if you're looking for a build that's going to handle older games, simulators and general usage, maybe these $400 builds will be right up your street.

Great $400 Gaming Build
Intel i5 3.20GHz Desktop Gaming Computer

Intel i5 3.20GHz Desktop Gaming Computer

This is about as low, in terms of specs, as you'd want to go if gaming is one of your main agendas. It comes to the table with an i5-650 clocked at 3.2GHz and GTX 650 graphics meaning it is by no means an FPS killer.

What it will do however is play the likes of CS:GO at medium settings fairly stress free. For the price tag, you'd struggle to get better unless building your own.

Best AMD $400 pre build
Gaming Desktop Custom System Ryzen 3 2200G

Gaming Desktop Custom System Ryzen 3 2200G

As far as gaming rigs for $400 are concerned, you can't go wrong with this little build. At it's centre is the superb Ryzen 2200G clocked at 3.5Ghz which is considered pound for pound one of the best Price/performance value APU's available.

It has Vega 8 integrated graphics and a rapid 240GB SSD which make this much faster than it's cheaper competition above.

A nice little build but again, do not be expecting to smash out PUB:G on ultra anytime soon.

Conclusion

Honestly, spending only $500 for a killer gaming computer means your final product is going to inevitably fall a little short -- but it is enough to give you a solid foundation for future upgrades.

  1. If all you want is the best prebuilt gaming PC under $500 to play AAA title games, you can’t go wrong with the IBuyPower Enthusiast Gaming PC Desktop. The CYBERPOWERPC Syber Domino SDG8 Gaming PC is equally as efficient and powerful as the IBUYPOWER but with an Intel chip. 
  2. Get the HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop Computer or the CLX Set Gaming PC if you wish to invest in a prebuilt gaming desktop that you can use right away at the expense of sacrificing graphics for performance.
  3. For something a little smaller, the CUK AsRock Deskmini is the only option in this list which has been built with Mini form in mind. This being said it still packs a mighty punch and is arguably one of the most powerful rigs in this list. Size doesn't always translate to power.

So that's the run down of our best $500 Pre-builds, which one are you going for?

Comment below letting us know how you got on and whether or not they lived up to their reviews.

Sources

  1. Brad Chacos, Don't build a gaming PC right now. Buying one premade can save you hundreds of dollars, PC World, January 26, 2018
  2. Matt Hanson, Best budget gaming PC 2018: top gaming desktops for less, TechRadar, April 13, 2018
  3. Alaina Yee, Best gaming PC deals: Desktops that offer better value than DIY, PC World, February 6, 2018
  4. Joel Santo Domingo, The Best Gaming Desktops of 2018, PCMag, December 28, 2017

1 Comment

  1. Amanda M says:

    Thank you for the information Juzel, I havent purchased a new computer in quite some time and your easy to understand and knowledgeable reviews gave me the tools to understand what I needed for my setup. Probably one of the most concise reviews I have read and I liked that you included your references. thanks for all your hard work!
    Amanda

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