Have you been browsing gaming PCs on multiple websites and stores, disappointed at the high-end prices that are way out of your budget range? Are you scared that opting for a cheaper alternative may result in compromising on the quality? Or even ending up with a gaming system with poor graphic resolutions and a speed that makes playing online games an unpleasant experience? If these are questions you’ve been thinking about recently, you have come to the right place.
Here in this article, we are going to delve deeper into the various features and qualities of a relatively low-cost, specifically $500 Gaming PC, and decide if it is worth the price or not. Does lower price always mean settling down on mediocre and substandard quality? Let’s find out.
Price Range of a Good-Quality Gaming PC
Before we start listing down what to expect in a low-range gaming PC, it is important to have a general estimate of the cost of a mid-range one. Nowadays most average gaming PCs cost between $800- $1200 and they work fairly well for the typical gamer. However, it also depends on the kind of games that you want to play. Games such as Fortnite or League of Legends might require merely an above-average system to work smoothly in higher resolution. Whereas if you plan on streaming or playing virtual reality games at high settings, it might require a more advanced PC.
Every PC needs the following to operate at its optimum level:
- A powerful Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) for good-quality graphic settings and resolution
- A strong processor that can run for hours without overheating
- An efficient Random Access Memory that has a minimum capacity of around 8 GB or more
These parts form their most fundamental components. Thus, going for a mere $500 gaming pc means reducing the price allocated to each part, which may subsequently result in poorer quality and a displeasing gaming experience.
The Average Price of Each Component
Now that we have covered the most important parts of a gaming PC, it is time to discuss their average prices and the potential advantages and drawbacks you might face if you go for a low-budget option.
Central Processing Unit (CPU)
The CPU is an integral part of any PC. Regarded as the “brain” of the computer it is responsible for decoding the instructions that RAM sends and executing them. Its quality is characterized by the ‘cores’ it possesses which allow it to carry out its tasks. Thus, the higher the core count, the more instructions it can process at the same time. This determines its overall performance as well.
The lower-cost CPU that you opt for, the slower the processing of its programs is likely to be. Thus, if you play any high-intensive games on it, it may overheat and lead to other dysfunctions. Moreover, the average CPU costs around $200. Though they may not be able to compete with their high-end counterparts, they are still good at their job.
Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
A GPU’s function includes the manipulation and alteration of memory to speed up the creation of images on a monitor screen. It is another significant part of a gaming PC because without it, the animation of the game would be lagging, leading to an unsatisfactory gaming experience.
The more expensive the GPU, the better the graphics and resolution will be. The average GPU costs around $150- $200. Although you may find a satisfactory GPU within that range, it will most probably not be good for certain games and offer you just enough visuals to merely continue playing.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
RAM is responsible for the running of multiple applications simultaneously. This means the efficient and smooth functionality of your game while other backgrounds and concurrent apps do not cause any stutters.
Most experts recommend an 8 GB minimum RAM for a gaming PC to operate without any pauses or delays. Moreover, popular games such as Fortnite Battle Royale, Player Unknown’s Battleground (PUBG), Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA 5), and Assassin Creed: Odyssey can all be played within an 8 GB RAM, which costs around $37 and above.
Solid State Drives (SSD)
SSDs are a type of hardware for storing data. Higher storage will allow you to keep more games, multimedia files, music, and videos on your PC. In case of a new software upgrade, the computer will easily manage it without lagging or slowing down. In contrast to this, lesser storage slows down your computer and demands the deletion of files to run again.
Moreover, many games require a specific storage capacity, below which they cannot be played. For example, many AAA games require standard storage of 100 GB. SSDs cost around $20 and above, depending on where you get them from.
Note: It is important to mention that there are no definitive rules here. The allocation of money to each part depends on your usage and the games you want to play. This is just a general estimation of the important components to give you a fair idea of what to expect when weighing the various options that you come across.
Which One is Better Within the Price Range: Custom PC or Prebuilt PC?
Now you’ve weighed out your options and reached the conclusion that a $500 gaming PC suits your gaming needs and requirements, let’s briefly discuss the two options we have while purchasing one: building a gaming PC or getting a pre-built one?
Building a gaming PC has 2 major advantages that supersede a pre-built one. It is
- Relatively inexpensive
- Offers better quality
This is because the overall price of building a gaming PC does not include extra expenses such as the cost of labor etc. It is a much more cost-efficient and easy option, especially if you’re only interested in an entry-level gaming PC without many advanced specifications.
Upgradation is relatively easier and inexpensive. Assuming that you’re well-aware of the components and their assemblage, you’ll find it easier to understand their replacement and installation whenever the need for an upgrade arises.
You can incorporate a better and more efficient cooling system. Most prebuilt PCs have a low-quality cooling system for gamers since they are made on assembly lines with their components crammed together in a tight space. This affects the airflow which results in them being unfit for most gamers.
You might make a mistake that is costly to recover. Since you’re not an expert, you can misallocate the cost and end up with a gaming PC that does not work very efficiently.
If you’re not well-versed in the tech world, you might end up with parts that do not function well together. This may lead to disruptions that you will not know about until later on.
Purchasing a PC made by a technician that has years of specialization in his field sounds easy. All you do is search for online reviews of ones within your budget, go to a store, and get one. But for the sake of comparative analysis, let’s still weigh our options here.
There are fewer chances of mistakes regarding the integration of its parts. Since it is developed by a professional, you need not worry about the faulty assemblage of its parts.
It is much more convenient to get one. They’re easily accessible at most stores and you can always get a decent warranty that lasts for years.
It is expensive and relatively lower quality. This is because you essentially pay extra money for the cost of labor that has gone into its development and manufacturing, which can sometimes come at the expense of the quality of its parts.
A pre-built PC offers you minimal control and customization. Changing individual parts that do not suit your needs may be an expensive and time-consuming task.
See? Though the amount may seem small, you can still benefit from a qualitative value return if you analyze all options. Choosing a $500 gaming PC does not have to be a compromise on either the performance or the quality. It all depends on your personal preferences as a gamer. If your purpose is to stream and play advanced games on it, it might not be rewarding for you. However, if you’re just looking for a good time enjoying Call of Duty, it will prove to be worthwhile.