Best Gaming PC Build Under $500 - Console Killer - Intel Ed. (Feb 2019)

Adrian B Updated on Nov 18, 2018

budget-build-500-amdWelcome to the Intel edition of the $500 Gaming PC Build!
In this post, you are going to learn how to build the best 500 dollars gaming pc build.

This build is perfect for gamers that are looking for building their first custom computer, or those with experience that want to build a powerful gaming machine on a budget.

If you want the best gaming computer to play all your favorite games at 1080p under 500 dollars that will own 2018 you can’t even think about buying a pre-built computer. You MUST find the best components that fit this tight budget and build the PC yourself. You will get a lot of benefits from building your own custom gaming computer and the best part is that, as you will soon learn, it’s a lot easier than you may think!

This is part of the Best $500 Gaming PC series. You can find the main post in this link where I talk about the pros & cons of the Ryzen and Intel processors.

With the latest GPUs models, the AMD’s RX series and the Nvidia’s GTX 10xx series you can get an AWESOME build just around the same price as consoles but much more powerful.

Building your own custom PC can be overwhelming but don’t fear. Here you will find all the resources you will ever need to succeed in your mission.

If you see errors, misleading information, or you just don’t agree with me I would really appreciate your comments so we all can improve this post together. Try to be nice to each other and be collaborative.

This build has been updated to beat the Sony’s console PS4 Pro, thanks to the awesome GPU Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti 4GB. Keep reading to learn more!

Is It Really Faster Than Consoles?

For those who don’t know what determines the graphics quality, we could say that there are three core factors involved: the resolution, the quality settings and the FPS (frames per second).

This build mounts a GTX 1050 Ti which will let you play all the current games at 1080p (resolution), Ultra-Quality graphics settings and stable 30 to 40 FPS. This does not mean that you can’t get 60 FPS in any game no matter what.

In fact, the GTX 1050 Ti can run some games at 60 FPS, 1080p and Ultra settings, it really depends on the game. But for example, if one specific game is running at 30 FPS or less, you could lower the graphics settings, so the FPS would be improved.

Consoles do NOT run every game at 1080p, High-quality graphics settings and 60 FPS. Not even close. Consoles can run 1080p 60FPS and mid-high quality on some (indie) games, but this rule doesn’t apply generally.

The GTX 1050 Ti will outperform consoles in ALL games. And why I am so sure about that? The PS4 equivalent GPUs are the AMD 7870 / GTX 660. You can google “AMD 7870 vs GTX 1050 Ti” or “GTX 660 vs GTX 1050 Ti” to see if a PS4 is more powerful than the computer build I’m recommending here… I’m pretty sure this is what you will find: the GTX 1050 Ti is far better.

So, in my humble opinion, this 500 dollar build will perform better than current consoles, even the PS4 Pro. Not to mention that consoles don’t come with an SSD, console gamers have to pay to play online, and they probably will need to spend more money on a computer either way for work, college or whatever…

Do you know anyone that doesn’t currently have a computer or laptop? Do yourself a favor and invest the console money in a super awesome gaming computer like this one. You won’t regret it!

Best Intel Budget Gaming PC Build Under $500

This build has been designed to max out your 1080p gaming experience. Most of the games will run smoothly at High-quality settings at +60 FPS and also at Ultra settings at +30 FPS. In fact, it will run games much smoother and much faster than the Xbox One or PS4 consoles. This build is actually as powerful as the PS4 Pro, thanks to its powerful graphics card: the Nvidia’s GTX 1050 Ti.

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One of the most relevant features of this build is that it includes a 120 GB SSD. This is pretty uncommon. I’ve personally didn’t find any website that recommends a 500 dollar gaming build with an SSD. This is why is so important to know how to design a custom computer. An SSD makes a huge difference in overall performance, especially on loading times. I just can’t recommend a gaming build without an SSD and you won’t after seeing this video.

Feel free to share our infographic with your friends using this link! 🙂


Case: Thermaltake Versa H15

Thermaltake Versa H15

Thermaltake Versa H15launch

chevron_rightMicro ATX
chevron_right15 x 7.8 x 16.2 inches
chevron_right1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, GPU up to 315 mm, CPU fan up to 155mm
Market Price: $34.87
Available on:
Amazon USA

The Thermaltake Versa H15 is a standard Micro ATX case released in 2016 with one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 in the front bay. It allows up to 5 cabinet fans and can host up to 315mm GPUs. Another thing to note is that the PSU space is located at the bottom, which improves the overall refrigeration and also makes it easy to keep a cleaner interior.

This affordable and robust chassis provides exceptional cooling performance, tool-free installation and options for air and liquid cooling configurations.

Standard equipped with one 120mm rear turbo fan along with optional (not included) 2 x 120mm intake fans as well as 2 x 120mm exhaust fans for improved ventilation.

The cable routing gap provides easy cable management, hiding cables behind the motherboard tray to ensure smoothness for building the chassis.

Motherboard – Gigabyte B360M DS3H

Gigabyte B360M DS3H

Gigabyte B360M DS3Hlaunch

chevron_rightMicro ATX
chevron_rightSocket LGA-1151
chevron_rightChipset Intel B Series
chevron_rightRAM DDR4 2666
chevron_rightRealtek ALC887
chevron_right1x M.2, 4x USB 3.1, 2x USB 2.0, 6x SATA3, 3x fan headers
Market Price: $77.99
Available on:
Amazon USA

For builds mounting 8th Intel generation (Coffee Lake), the Gigabyte B360M DS3H provides all you need.

This micro ATX board comes with all the features needed for either entry-level or high-end builds for an unbeatable price and the reliability of a big company as Gigabyte!

The main features of this motherboard are:

  • Intel Optane Memory
  • DDR4 2666 RAM support
  • Tested with the major RAM brands to ensure maximum compatibility
  • Supports RGB light strips, which can be customized using the included the RGB Fusion software

It also includes a pretty handy feature called Dual BIOS: the motherboard has two BIOS, main and backup, protecting users from BIOS failure due to virus, hardware malfunction, improper OC settings or power failure during the update process.

And, of course, it also has latest-generation ports for all your needs: 4x USB 3.1 ports and 1x M.2 port to plug in a super fast SSD.

Processor: Intel Core i3-8100

Intel Core i3-8100

Intel Core i3-8100launch

chevron_right4 cores (4 threads) at 3.6 GHz
chevron_rightSocket LGA-1151
chevron_rightUHD Graphics 630
chevron_rightCPU Coffee Lake
chevron_right65 W
Market Price: $118.99
Available on:
Amazon USA

The Intel Core i3-8100 is the entry-level Coffe Lake processor (Intel’s 8th Generation, socket 1551). This is actually the first time that Intel’s i3 processors include 4 logical cores and 4 threads, clocked at 3.6 GHz in this model.

It’s worth mentioning that this i3 is as powerful (if not slightly superior) as the Kaby Lake’s i5 7500, which also has a 4 cores / 4 threads configuration with similar clock speeds.

This CPU is powerful enough to run all your games at Ultra settings and stable 60 FPS at 1080p and even 1440p when  it’s paired with a powerful GPU, like the Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB for example.

I’d recommend this model over the i5-7500 for several reasons:

  • They both have similar performance levels
  • They both are non-overclockable
  • And what’s best, the i3-8100 can be found $40 to $60 cheaper than the i5-7500

Graphics Card: EVGA GTX 1050 Ti SC Gaming 4GB

EVGA GTX 1050 Ti SC Gaming 4GB

EVGA GTX 1050 Ti SC Gaming 4GBlaunch

chevron_right1354MHz / 1468 MHz
chevron_right4GB GDDR5
chevron_right75 W
Market Price: $196.07
Available on:
Amazon USA

If you don’t want to spend a fortune to enjoy the latest PC games at decent quality settings, then the GTX 1050 Ti is your best bet. The Ti version is just like an “unrestricted” vanilla GTX 1050 + 2 GB extra vRAM.

With 768 CUDA cores and a Boost clock speed of 1392 MHz, paired up with 4GB of GDDR4 memory, this card allows you to play up to non-so-demanding AAA Games at 1080p + High settings + 30 to 40 FPS. This category includes games like Rise of the Tomb Raider, Doom, Overwatch or Fallout 4 among others.

And of course, you will also be able to play at Ultra / +60 FPS on games like LoL, Dota 2 (or any other MOBA game), Counter Strike, Paladins, War Thunders, FIFA 17 and any Indie game with low graphics requirements.

The GTX 1050 Ti will outperform consoles in ALL games. And why I am so sure about that? The PS4 equivalent GPUs are the AMD 7870 / GTX 660. You can google “AMD 7870 vs GTX 1050 Ti” or “GTX 660 vs GTX 1050 Ti” to see for yourself if a PS4 is more powerful than this graphics card… I’m pretty sure this is what you will find: the GTX 1050 Ti is far better.

The alternative in terms of performance is the AMD RX 570 4GB. I will save you the search: the RX 570 is far more expensive and it’s an inferior product in almost every aspect.

RAM: Ballistix 4 GB DDR4-2666

Ballistix Sport LT 4 GB DDR4-2666

Ballistix Sport LT 4 GB DDR4-2666launch

chevron_right4GB (1x 4GB)
chevron_right2666 MHz
chevron_rightDDR4, 44mm
chevron_rightXMP Profile (2400MHz, CL 16-18-18 w/o XMP)
Market Price: $26.94
Available on:
Amazon USA

As for the RAM, it is always a good idea to choose modules of the same frequency and, preferably, in groups of two. Which means that if you want to install 16GB of RAM, instead of buying a single 16GB module, try to find a 2x 8GB pack.

When building super tight budget PC builds, I think the most intelligent decision is starting with one single module of 4GB DDR4 2666Mhz.

That way, you will be able to keep the build quality standards as high as possible. Nevertheless, I strongly recommend you to get another 4GB DDR4 2666Mhz RAM module as soon as you can.

Choosing a 2666Mhz memory is the wisest option because it is the new standard frequency supported by the new chipsets introduced by the AMD’s Ryzen and Intel’s Coffee Lake’s processors, so you will exploiting its full potential.

Storage Unit – SSD ADATA SU800 128GB

ADATA SU800 3D-Nand 128GB

ADATA SU800 3D-Nand 128GBlaunch

chevron_right80? TB
chevron_right560 MB/s
chevron_right520 MB/s
chevron_right90k IOPS
chevron_right80k IOPS
chevron_right0.06W / 2.2W
Market Price: $26.99
Available on:
Amazon USA

As I said earlier, this build features a 128GB SSD, the ADATA SU800 3D-Nand 128GB specifically.

This model was released in 2016 and it has proved over and over to be one of the best SSD available, with +1000 5-star reviews on Amazon.

It is fast (520 Mb/s write speed) and pretty durable and the selling price is pretty much unbeatable for what it offers.

Power Supply: EVGA 500 W1

EVGA 500 W1

EVGA 500 W1launch

chevron_right500 W
chevron_rightPSU Cert - White
chevron_right2x 6+2 pin
chevron_rightUVP, OPP, SCP
Market Price: $44.99
Available on:
Amazon USA

It is hard to find a model that meets the quality standards while keeping a low budget but the 80 PLUS “White” Certified EVGA 500 W1 clearly nails it.

This is without a doubt the best PSU in the market to be used in tight budget gaming computers.

The EVGA 500 W1 features a quiet and auto-regulable fan which makes it pretty silent, which is something rare to find in this price range.

Other than that, it also has heavy-duty protections (that you won’t definitely find in any other PSU for this price) including UVP (Under Voltage Protection), OPP (Over Power Protection), and SCP (Short Circuit Protection).

What To Do Next

Now that you have the hardware parts list, the next steps would be figuring out what peripherals do you need (if any) and how to putt all the parts together. Here you have some posts to keep reading on these matters:

How did you find this build? Do you think it can be improved in any way? What would you change? Do you want to go for it but not sure about something?

Comment Below!
While you’re here, make sure to check out the best Black Friday gaming deals of 2018!
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