You’ve got £500 to spend on a new gaming PC, do you:
a) Buy a pre-built PC?
b) Buy a gaming notebook?
c) Build your own gaming PC?
It’s a dilemma that many gamers face when they’re in the market for a new machine.
Notebooks provide you with the portability and in some cases, powerful internals. However, if you’re not planning on gaming-on-the-go you’ll be much better off with a desktop PC.
So, now you’ve got to decide if you’d be able to buy better components for your PC if you were to buy everything separately and build it yourself? We take a look at the different options:
First up is the best machine we can build (in our opinion) on a budget of £500, give or take a couple of pounds.
Components we’ve included in build:
- Hard Drives
- Graphics Card
Total Build Price | £547.63
1- CPU | £157.64
Gaming requires the fastest CPUs on the market which is where this Intel Core i5 processor comes into play.
This quad-core 4th generation processor from Intel uses the 2nm Haswell architecture.
- Intel Core i5-4460 (4th Gen)
- 4 threads
- 6MB cache
- 3.2 GHz clock speed
- 84w thermal design power
Click here for a closer look at this i5 CPU.
2 – Motherboard | £34.68
Created for gamers, this MSI H81M-P33 is based on the essentials which increase your stability in the worst conditions. With built-in humidity and high temperature protection ensure your system surviving each environment, no matter how harsh. All connectors feature ESD protection to prevent short circuit.
- Supports 4th Gen Intel® Core™ / Pentium® / Celeron® processors for LGA 1150 socket
- Supports DDR3-1600 Memory
- USB 3.0 + SATA 6Gb/s
- Military Class 4: Top Quality & Stability
- Military Class Essentials: Total Protection for Military Class Motherboards
- OC Genie 4: Overclock in 1 Second
- Click BIOS 4: Easily Fine-tune Your System
- Command Center: Control & Customize Your PC Settings
- Fast Boot: Quickly Boot Up & Enter OS in A Few Seconds
- M-Flash: Simply Update & Backup Your BIOS
- Live Update 5: Easily Update The Latest BIOS & Drivers
Click here to take a closer look at this MSI motherboard.
3 – Memory (RAM) | £31.60
The HyperX Fury series from Kingston has been developed with gamers in mind. With automatic overclocking features, get yourself in the game faster.
Plus, voltage levels are now as low as 1.35V, it generates less power with less heat.
Choose from white, black, red and blue to keep your colour scheme in line with other components.
Check out the Kingston HyperX Fury here.
4 – Hard Drives | £34.98 & £49.99
Give your PC a boost with an SSD from SanDisk. More and more gamers are installing their operating systems onto an SSD for super fast boot up times and more seamless experience when using their PC.
Take a closer look at the super fast SanDisk SSD here.
With a 120GB SSD and a 1TB HDD, you’ll be able to store all your favourite games, films, TV shows and music without having to worry about storage.
Take a closer look at the specs of the WD Blue drive here.
5 – Graphics Card | £172.76
The GTX 960 absolutely nails 1080p gaming. Featuring the super power-efficient Maxwell architecture, the 960 gives you all the performance you need without breaking the bank.
- NVIDIA Dynamic Super Resolution Technology
- NVIDIA MFAA Technology
- NVIDIA GSYNC Ready
- Microsoft DirectX 12
- NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0
- NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync
- NVIDIA Surround Technology
- NVIDIA SLI Ready
- HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2 and Duallink DVI
- PCI Express 3.0
- EVGA ACX 2.0+ Cooling
- Optimized Power Target
- Straight Heat Pipes
Take a closer look here.
6 – Case | £36.51
Fits all the above components with plenty of space for upgrades. Plus, there is easy side access to all your components.
Click here to buy the Thermaltake V3 Black Edition.
7 – Power Supply (PSU) | £29.98
When buying a power supply (PSU) you must look out for the 80PLUS certification to ensure that it’s efficient and powerful enough for your component.
This one certainly is and won’t break the bank.
Check out the PSU here.
Please note: does not include monitor and peripherals.
All prices correct as of 18/02/16
Alternate Pre-built Gaming PCs
It’s pretty hard to find a pre-build PC that has specs to match the build above. Here are the best pre-built gaming PCs for £500:
- Processor – AMD FX-6300 Six Core CPU
- Memory – 8GB Kingston HyperX DDR3 1600MHz
- Graphics – 2Gb AMD Radeon R7 370
- Hard Drive – 120GB Kingston V300 SSD & 1TB SATA III HDD
- Power Supply – 550W Corsair VS550
- Operating System – Windows 10
Shop the PC Specialist Fusion XT here.
- Processor – Intel i3-4170 3.7GHz CPU
- Memory – 8GB DDR3 1600MHz
- Graphics – GTX 950
- Hard Drive – 2TB HDD
- Power Supply – 350 Watts
- Operating System – Windows 10 Home
Shop the Zoostorm Stormforce here.