In June, Avram gave us a look at what components you could put into a gaming PC for under $500. The build was decent, and even inspired the build available at STRYKE eSports and Gaming Center. Since that episode, the PC component market has changed significantly. Crypto Winter dropped the value of mining, followed by the change in Etherium mining to move away from video cards, leaving more inventory for gamers at a better price.
In addition to crypto changes, a new generation of hardware is coming, so manufacturers are trying to reduce inventory on the existing hardware before the new SKUs are released. If you are willing to go all-in on the current hardware, you can build an impressively powerful computer for a low price, including one build that comes in under $500. Of course, in any of these lists, you can always swap out components that you want, as they are simply guides. Also, prices change daily, so it's always possible that these prices have changed slightly since publication. Let's take a look at the updated builds.
With an inexpensive gaming PC, the processor is a good place to save some money, as the video card should be doing a lot of the heavy lifting. As such, this build is based around an Intel Core i3 12000Fprocessor attached to an ASRock H610M-HVS motherboard. Together, they come in under $200, giving us more room for a better video card. In this case, the best way to go to stay within our budget is a Radeon RX 6400 for $149. While the previous build had only 8 GB of RAM, the new one is able to move us up to 16 GB of Silicon Power Value Gaming RAM. The storage is a solid Crucial MX500 500 GB SSD, the PSU is a Thermaltake Smart 500W supply, and the case is a very strangely colored DIYPC DIY-S08-G.
While the processor can be toned down in a budget build, with a bigger budget, improving the processor does have benefits. In this build, the processor has moved up to an Intel Core i5-12400F, moving up a whole category, and placed in a Gigabyte H610M S2H motherboard. The video card also improves, giving an option between the Radeon RX 6700 XT or RTX 3060 Ti. The RAM is still 16 GB, but the quality of the RAM is improved by swapping to the TeamGroup T-Force Zeus. The storage is also doubled to 1 TB through the Silicon Power UD90. With more capacity comes more power requirements, using the Thermaltake Toughpower GX2 600W supply. The case is far less weird in color, and more attractive in the NZXT H510.
There are plenty of ways to improve each of these builds to focus of the part that is most important to you. You can check out reviews and spec on these components, as well as ways to improve each build on the full Tom's Hardware list.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.
Kirk has long had an interest in production, and began his journey by joiining Geek News Central as Todd Cochrane's Executive Producer. That brought him into the Tech Podcasts Network CES coverage in 2018. He has become the team's regular technical director and associate producer since 2019. He has since launched his own show with PLUGHITZ Live Editor-in-Chief Scott Ertz, called GNC Week in Review. This is a weekly quick-fire topical show covering the biggest tech stories of the week in a comedic atmosphere.