The words ‘PC gaming’ and ‘budget’ don’t always go together well. The reality is that if you want a gaming rig that has graphical parity with an Xbox One or PS4, then most of the time you’ll have to spend around double the amount these consoles sell for.
If you’re really looking to push the boat out and want to experience the magnificence of features such as 1440p or even 4K gaming, then you can expect to shell out upwards of $2000.
But not everyone wants to spend a small fortune on a gaming computer.
Many are happy playing games on consoles, but may also like to own a cheaper gaming PC as well; perhaps to experience some of the undemanding MMOs and MOBAs the platform has to offer, or to play some of the PC exclusive titles that these rigs can handle. There’s also the immense PC back-catalog, most of which requires very little graphical muscle. Both Steam and GOG offer an abundance of these classic titles - games like the X-Wing series and the original Dues Ex never stop being fun to play.
There are, however, occasional exceptions to the good gaming PC = expensive PC rule. And the rigs on this list are proof of that.
While many may point out the benefits and satisfaction of building a PC from components, for some people, building their own PC is a no-go area. They’d be much happier forking out the cash for a pre-built rig, safe in the knowledge that most of these computers come with a long warranty, pre-installed software, and typically cost only a little more than self-builds.
So for those folks not looking to spend a fortune and who simply don’t want the hassle of having to build a computer themselves, here are the 5 best gaming PCs on the market under $500. Each entry includes a breakdown of the most important gaming-related components, a link to the retailer, and my opinion on what makes it a viable option when it comes to PC gaming on a budget.