Building a gaming PC for 500 is not as hard as it seems. It is certainly possible with some clever choices and compromises. To build a gaming PC that runs modern games at decent settings while being cost-effective, one should first assess their gaming requirements, research recent PC parts and mark a budget before embarking on the build.
The first step for this build is to determine what resolution and frame rate you would like to play at with your favorite games. If you are only looking for an average performance of 1440p @ 60FPS you can actually save a lot of money by compromising on hardware components. This is especially true when it comes to graphics cards and processor choices.
When researching parts for your gaming PC, it is important to note that budget components can make huge impacts on overall performance. For example, an adequate CPU cooler will help your processor under heavy load, allowing for proper turbo boosting and overclocking. Additionally, a strong enough power supply is essential to ensure smooth running of the PC.
One should also keep in mind certain details while curating a build. Which type of RAM will you use? Is routing cables going to be a problem? Is your motherboard’s form factor compatible with your chosen case? Is your case big enough to support your selected graphics card and storage devices? Make sure that every component component is compatible and meets the exact specifications of your build.
When it comes to assembly, it is wise to read through the detailed instruction manual with your processor, case and cooling solution. Also, do not forget that the most important part of building a gaming PC is ensuring sufficient cooling and air flow. Cables in the build should be routed properly in order to avoid clutter and ensure good air flow inside the case.
Lastly, it is important to pay extra attention to component compatibility while assembling. Make sure you have the correct socket, size and connection type for each individual component. Also, ensure that all parts have compatible connections and required software installed to set up the PC.
RAM and Its Role
When building a gaming PC for 500, RAM plays an important role in providing smooth gaming performance. Most modern games require a minimum of 8GB of RAM to run at medium settings and more for higher settings. By investing in more RAM, players can enjoy better frame rates, overall gaming experience and multitasking with other applications simultaneously. However, when trying to stay within a budget, one should not exceed the expenses for RAM and should keep the frequency, type, and amount of RAM relatively conservative.
As for the type of RAM, two popular choices are DDR3 and DDR4. While looking at motherboards within 500, some of them might still support the older DDR3 type RAM while others might upgrade to the new DDR4 type. The DDR4 type RAM is capable of faster transfers due to the doubled bandwith. When considering RAM for the build, make sure to always double-check the motherboard specifications, even if it is within budget.
Having multiple sticks of RAM comes with certain benefits. Two smaller sticks usually cost more than one larger stick but are worth it when looking to future proof the build as they enable dual channel instead of single channel and offer higher performance. Also, larger sticks may be expensive, but often provide more storage for more intensive tasks.
Finally, the RAM’s frequency is also important. This is not just the maximum speed, but also the latency numbers that decide the RAM performance. One should decide according to the budget and what games will be played.
For gamers, storage solutions are essential. The rig should support hard drive and SSD combinations, as well as M.2 and 2.5 inch drive formats. While an HDD serves as the primary storage, an SSD is the best choice for a fast boot drive. The M.2 NVMe SSD storage is the fastest storage available and is great for loading games quickly. Digital streams will take advantage of the streaming performance, and multiplayer games will benefit from lowered ping times.
Storage for a gaming PC’s also greatly depends on the type of games being played. Open-world games need larger storage capacities, as there are many file sizes for their missions and multiple textures. For example, if one is playing Grand Theft Auto V, they would need storage up to 240GB for the game plus another 80GB for the mods to run. While looking at the budget, these needs should be taken into consideration.
When picking out a storage solution, always keep in mind the fact that SSDs are three to four times faster than HDDs. Thus, when it comes to making a boot drive, always opt for an SSD. Of course, one should not forget the number of read and write speeds they are after, while also making sure to buy a high-quality brand. Also, it is worth considering that Windows 10 alone occupies some 40-50GB of space.
Last but not least, in order to save costs, one should be aware of the different storage formats and specifications. Cooler Master’s SF120M for example, can fit up to five drives in a mid-tower case, offering 50% additional storage capacity.
When building a gaming PC for 500, it is important to pay attention to the motherboard. This is the single most important component in a gaming PC build and should be chosen carefully. The motherboard should not only be compatible with the case, but it should also offer features for future upgrading. Certain features matter more than others, like the number of RAM slots and the amount of available PCI slots.
When looking for a motherboard, keep in mind that it needs to be compatible with the processor in order to get the best performance. An Intel processor will require an Intel Z490 motherboard that supports Intel vPro, while an AMD processor needs AMD X570 series. Also ensure that the motherboard allows for sufficient overclocking, should you decide to overclock the processor.
For GPUs, the motherboard should have a decent PCIe 3.0 slot or better, a good GPU holder and power delivery. Having an oversized VRM heatsink also helps in cooling the board during heavy gaming. There are many motherboards within 500 that come with features such as for example Aura Sync RGB LED support, fan Xpert 4 cooling system, USB 3.1 connectivity and more.
When shopping for accessories, make sure to pick the best motherboard for your budget. Do not hesitate to spend a bit more, but remember the goal is to find a part that meets your requirements, holds up to the expected performance, and does not break the bank.
The power supply provides energy to run the system. When selecting a power supply, one should look for the size, form factor, and power efficiency rating. For a gaming PC build, always opt for an 80 Plus PSU that has an efficiency rating of 85% or above. This allows the PSU to deliver better performance while saving power and improving efficiency.
All the components in the PC need energy to run, and a powerful power supply is a must. 650-750 watts of power supply is great to ensure that gaming PC is powerful enough to support all the components in it, while providing the necessary power. Also, when comparing power supplies, always cross-check the amperage on the 12V rail to ensure that the power supply can provide enough power to the hardware.
Lastly, when selecting a power supply, make sure to pick the most efficient one for the build. A quality power supply is essential to ensuring that all the components run properly and with minimal risk of damage. It is important to research and not to purchase the cheapest option available.
Building a gaming PC for 500 is possible by making smart compromises and choosing the right components. Knowing exactly what games and settings one desires, researching the latest PC components, determining the correct form factor, and being mindful of the budget are vital steps in the process. By also considering certain details such as the RAM, storage solutions, motherboard and power supply, one can build a gaming PC that can reach good frame rates, delivers smooth performance and requires minimal expenses.