You can build a $500 gaming PC with these Black Friday deals

Microsoft
By Microsoft 14 Min Read
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Putting together a $500 gaming PC usually requires sacrifices. A creaky old graphics card is the big one, and often less memory and less storage as well. But not on Black Friday.

Building this time of year is great. You can stack the deals to get nice parts at big discounts. The results include default desktops in the same price range to be ashamed. Right now you can launch a system capable of 1080p Ultra at 60fps, with an easy path to future upgrades, for $500 or less. All parts are new and are sold by first party sellers only.

Do you have different needs? You can also go up to $700 for a 1440p build, or scale down to under $400 for 720p as well. Check out the sample builds below.

This article is part of a series we’ve done on the cheapest Black Friday gaming PC you can build. For fun, you can compare this year’s results with 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017And2016. If you’re a regular reader, this year’s release is a little different, as you’ll see. After a couple of years of pandemic-induced austerity, it’s time to celebrate.

The $500 1080p Ultra Black Friday gaming PC build

This build doesn’t cut corners unless you’re looking to stick tight to $500 or less (the latter is a possibility if you live near a Micro Center). Indeed, drop the graphics settings and you can go up to 1440p. You also get a sweet bonus of three free games, thanks to two AMD promotions.

As typical for suggested gaming PC builds, the cost of the mouse and keyboard is not included in the listing. But for the picky ones out there, you can mentally add another $33 for a cheap mouse And mechanical keyboard to the total.

Build notes

Also available from B&H at the same cost, or for $5 more at New egg.
This motherboard requires flashing to a newer BIOS before it will work with Ryzen 5000 processors. You can request a free loaner starter kit from AMD for this purpose. A local computer store may also be able to perform this service for a fee.
The price is later $20 Mail Discount. The MIR must be submitted within 21 days of purchase.
Promotion valid with the purchase of a qualifying AMD CPU from AMD, Amazon, Micro Center or Newegg.
Promotion valid with the purchase of a qualifying AMD graphics card from AMD, Amazon, Micro Center or Newegg.

This system gives you a build with a solid 6-core, 12-thread processor, a micro-ATX Wi-Fi motherboard that supports RGB and ARGB fans, 16GB of DDR4-3600 memory (the sweet spot of the Ryzen 3000 and 5000 for RAM speed), our top recommendation for NVMe Gen 3 SSDs, a Tier B-rated power supply on this respected listand a solid case for airflow. And yes, Windows 10 license is included, no cheating here. (Full disclosure: I was tempted to do this.) The key is from PCWorld’s affiliated software store, so that’s normal.

Oh, and again, this build also comes with three (technically four) bonus games. This is A lot for a build between $500 and $600. Remember the pre-build mentioned above? It has a weaker lower core count processor, a much weaker graphics card, half the memory (and slower memory), and no free software. This build smokes it, even without RGB fans.

The main caveats? You need to flash your motherboard BIOS to a newer version before the Ryzen 5 5500 will work. You can request a free loaner starter kit from AMD for this purpose. A local computer store may also be able to perform this service for a fee. (Or a good friend for free, if he likes you.) This build also only supports PCIe 3.0, but SSDs and graphics card that run at speeds of that standard will still be very fast for a long time.

Areas of improvement
Storage: A 500GB SSD will fill up pretty fast, especially if you play blockbuster AAA games. If you can afford it, buy the 1TB version of the Crucial P3 ($63) instead.
Additional Fans / Alternate Case: My original choice, this $53 DIY PC case, included several RGB fans but sold out by Black Friday proper. (This is why you should start tracking deals in late October.) Its replacement only has a fan included. You can buy more fans yourself for optimal airflow, which will give you control over the performance, or you can pay about $10 more for the Bitfenix Nova Network, equipped with four RGB fans. Suggested Updates:
Memory: 16GB will hold the job for a lot of people who mostly game and don’t have a lot of things open at the same time. But if you’re a browser tab hoarder (hello), stepping up 32GB of RAM ($80) isn’t much more expensive right now.
Motherboard: An ATX motherboard will support multiple expansion cards, such as an internal game capture card and/or sound card. Newegg has these $100 Gigabyte B450 Aorus Elite, $105 ASRock B450 Steel LegendAnd $120 Gigabyte B450 Aorus Pro Wi-Fi models that are worth a look.
Storage: Whether you stick with the suggested 500GB SSD or upgrade to a 1TB model as your boot drive, it doesn’t hurt to have even more storage available. This $47 Seagate Barracuda 2TB HDD it runs at 7,200 rpm, making it a faster option. (For a turntable, by the way.)

Alternatives

Micro Center Variant – $483 Trade in this one $130 Ryzen 5 3600 CPU + Gigabyte B450M Wi-FI motherboard combo (available in-store only), opt for this one instead $50 Montech X1 boxand ditch the Windows 10 license for Linux, and you’ve got yourself a nice gaming PC under $500.

Even if you keep Windows, you’ll still be sitting at $533 total, which is cheaper overall. That said, if you’re extremely lucky, your Micro Center may have it this $80 2TB NVMe Gen 3 M.2 SSD available. Scraping Windows would pay to fit into your build instead of the Crucial P3 and quadruple your space. Speeds are better on the P3, though.

Bare-bones variant – $508 If you need to cut costs, you I could switch to this $70 motherboard with no Wi-Figet off at 8GB of memoryand install Linux instead for a $70 savings. Don’t nerf the RAM so much, though. Saving that $10 isn’t worth it.

The $700 1440p Black Friday gaming PC build

Build notes

This motherboard requires flashing to a newer BIOS before it will work with Ryzen 5000 processors. You can request a free loaner starter kit from AMD for this purpose. A local computer store may also be able to perform this service for a fee.
Promotion valid with the purchase of a qualifying AMD CPU from AMD, Amazon, Micro Center or Newegg.
Promotion valid with the purchase of a qualifying AMD graphics card from AMD, Amazon, Micro Center or Newegg.

This 1440p build sports a 6-core, 12-thread processor supporting PCIe 4.0, an ATX card capable of powering RGB and ARGB fans, 16GB of DDR4-3600 memory (the Ryzen 3000 and 5000’s sweet spot for RAM speed ), our top recommendation for NVMe Gen 3 SSDs and a solid case with airflow. A Windows 10 license is also included and comes from PCWorld’s sister software store. Additionally, it qualifies for three bonus games. Thanks AMD.

At this price point, cutting corners with a cheaper CPU just doesn’t make sense. Better to invest a little more money to future-proof PCIe 4.0 support. And reducing memory and storage capacity seems stingy.

The only caveat here is the power supply – if you’ve got the money, upgrade to something with more longevity and a higher wattage, like this one $80 Thermaltake GF1 80+ Gold template. It will survive this build (probably another one after that as well) and support a more robust graphics card later if you want. Also, you will need to flash the BIOS before the Ryzen 5 5600 will work in the motherboard.

Suggested Updates:
Memory: Have you ever come across a browser tab that you didn’t leave open? Taking it one step further 32GB of RAM ($80) doesn’t cost much more.
Storage: 2TB SSDs don’t cost much more right nowand if you want to go breakneck speed, PCIe Gen 4 models are at all-time lows.

The $390 Fortnite Black Friday gaming PC build

Build notes

Was available on 11/22/22. Now available on Amazon for $120.
This motherboard requires flashing to a newer BIOS before it will work with Ryzen 5000 processors. You can request a free loaner starter kit from AMD for this purpose. A local computer store may also be able to perform this service for a fee.
The price is later $10 Mail Off. The MIR must be filed by 30/12/2022.
Promotion valid with the purchase of a qualifying AMD CPU from AMD, Amazon, Micro Center or Newegg.
Promotion valid with the purchase of a qualifying AMD graphics card from AMD, Amazon, Micro Center or Newegg.

If you just need a computer for Fortnite and other light gaming, the Ryzen 5 5600G and its powerful integrated graphics can handle that burden easily. It’s a much better APU-based system than previous budget Black Friday gaming PC builds, and it also has built-in Wi-Fi.

But as configured, it’s quite limited. The power supply will limit you to budget graphics cards, should you want to upgrade to a discrete GPU in the future. And the amount of RAM and storage unit is relatively low. The highly recommended updates would be the Cooler Master MWE 550W 80+ White Non-Modular ($35) and 16GB DDR4-3600 RAM ($45). Total new cost: $413, which is still very affordable for a system you can upgrade further down the road with little fuss.

The cheapest possible gaming PC for Black Friday

This is for my friends, who like to see how deep I can cut right down to the bone.

Build notes

The price is later $10 Mail Off. The MIR must be filed by 30/12/2022.
Promotion valid with the purchase of a qualifying AMD CPU from AMD, Amazon, Micro Center or Newegg.

This modest 4-core, 8-thread CPU notably lacks a graphics card. Is it a gaming PC in the strictest terms? No, but that’s actually what the pandemic has reduced us to in 2021 and 2020. Think of this build as a reflection of how times have gotten better. Even if you can’t play it, you still get a free game with Ryzen 5 4500.

More, GeForce Now is a great service (and one we’ve talked about many times elsewhere on the site). If you can play games for free on a productivity PC for this reason, who can argue with such cost savings?

And before anyone asks, yes, I could have cut deeper. You can get under $300 by dropping down to 256GB of storage and choosing a cheaper case with no mesh front panel. But that’s asking people to suffer in the long run, and I don’t believe it.

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