Best Gaming PC Under $500 - Console Killer! (Oct 2018)

Adrian B Updated on Oct 08, 2018

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 you will discover here that’s a lot easier than you may think!

With the new GPUs models released in August 2016, 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.

Best $500 Gaming PC Builds

I put the builds here so you can easily navigate to them in case you already know what you want.

For those whose aren’t 100% sure about what to choose between Intel and AMD, keep reading!

Intel Or AMD? What To Choose?

Up until recently, choosing between the two giants to get the core parts of a gaming pc (CPU + Motherboard) was a no-brainer: Intel had better prices and better performance.

But then, at the beginning of 2017, AMD released the Ryzen processors family and they changed the game radically.

That’s a really good thing. Intel was getting too comfortable in his dominant position and we know what happens in this kind of situations: Intal has been a little lazy and less aggressive in their technical achievements causing some sort of stagnated growth.

I’ve decided to create two separate builds for each Budget Build, so you have more options to choose from based on your personal preferences

Now, the market has revitalized, AMD is pushing hard and Intel is trying to take back his omnipotent position.

So, where are we now? We have plenty to choose from, really good options to build awesome gaming computers with either AMD or Intel CPUs, that’s why I’ve decided to create two separate builds for each Budget Build, one for each CPU brand, so you can compare them and chose the one you feel more in love with.

Intel i3 VS Ryzen 3

In order to get a real taste of what each CPU can do, I’ve prepared a couple of tables with some critical information of both processors families.

Note: for the $500 build, we are mainly concerned about the i3-8100 and the Ryzen 3 2200G. I’ve added the other two processors to the tables to show you a more global image of the different CPU families.

 

AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

AMD Ryzen 3 2200Glaunch

chevron_right4 cores (4 threads) at 3.5 GHz
chevron_rightSocket AM4
chevron_rightRadeon Vega 8
chevron_rightCPU Ryzen 2
chevron_right65 W
Market Price: $99.50
Available on:
Amazon USA
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: $124.99
Available on:
Amazon USA

Technical Specifications

So, we will start taking a look at the basics: the technical specs. What differences can you see at first glance?

Ryzen+ 3 VS Coffee Lake i3 - Technical Specifications
Ryzen 3 2200G
Ryzen 3 2400G
i3-8100
i3-8350K
Cores/Threads
4/4
4/8
4/4
Base Frequency
3.5 GHz
3.6 GHz
3.6 GHz
4.0 GHz
Turbo Boost
3.7 GHz
3.9 GHz
-
-
L3 Cache
4 MB
6 MB
8 MB
DRAM Support
DDR4-2933
DDR4-2400
Integrated Graphics (IGP)
Vega 8
Vega 11
GT2: 23 EUs
IGP Base Freq
1100 MHz
1250 MHz
350 MHz
TDP
65 W
65 W
91 W
Price (RRP)
$100
$165
$120
$175

Ryzen Pros

  • Both Ryzen 3 CPUs can be overclocked. Intel i3 8100 can’t
  • The Ryzen 2200G is significantly cheaper than its Intel counterpart (around $20)
  • Higher RAM speeds supported

Intel Pros

  • The performance per core is higher

And last but not least… same TDP and same Cores/Threads.

Due to the higher number of cores, Ryzen CPUs are especially recommended for multi-core applications, such as video editing, deep learning, graphic design, …

In this case though, the processors we are analyzing for this budget share the same cores/threads configuration, which difficult answering the great question: which one is better for gaming?

Gaming Benchmarks

We’ve seen that the Ryzen 3 CPUs are cheaper than Coffe Lake’s i3, but also a little less performant.

Whatever their specifications are, we still have one question to answer: how do they perform on some of the most played games?

Here you will find some benchmarks done with a system with 16GB DDR4 memory and GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card.

In case you wonder why a GTX 1080 is used, this is the reason: to avoid the bottlenecks caused by the CPU and get the most accurate CPU tests results as possible.

Ryzen 3 VS Coffe Lake i3 - Games Benchmark (Avg. FPS, 1080p, Ultra)
Ryzen 3 2200G
Intel Core i3-8100
Ryzen 3 2400G
Intel Core i3 8350K
Battlefield 1
104
121
107
148
GTA V
50
59
52
69
Assassins Creed Origins
43
46
48
52
The Witcher 3
73
87
88
91
Watch Dogs 2
46
54
55
54
Ryzen2-3-VS-Coffee-Lake-i3-Games-Benchmark

 

 

Remember that, for the current build, we are only interested in the i3-8100 and the Ryzen 3 2200G, that is, the blue and yellow bars.

As you can see, there is a significant difference ranging between 3 to 17 FPS. Even though they both have the same cores and threads and similar clock speeds, these tests reveal that games are better optimized for Intel processors, like it or not.

We could only balance these results if we overclock the Ryzen CPU, which would event the tests results.

My Recommendation

In this price range, the Ryzen doesn’t stand out in anything (unless you want to overclock it), offering just the same number of cores/threads as its Intel counterpart and less performance per core. So, these are the two scenarios I see for this budget:

  • If you want the best gaming experience, go for the Intel Build
  • If you really want to use the Ryzen CPU in your build, get the AMD Build and overclock it.

With all the previous data in mind, I hope it is now easier for you to make the best decision possible on what type of PC you want to build.

If you have any question, please leave a comment below! 🙂

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