Welcome to the best gaming computers under $500 review feature. If you’re on the hunt for the best gaming desktop under 500 list, check out our review section below.

Top 3 Gaming Desktops Under $500

For the budget-minded consumer, navigating the sea of off-brands might seem to be a daunting proposition. There are a few familiar names scattered throughout, but if you’re unprepared picking a bum machine is as likely as not. Let’s sift the riff-raff, and stick with a few that are more than likely familiar to you already.

1. CyberpowerPC Gamer Ultra GUA470

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The CyberpowerPC Gamer Ultra lands firmly in the Budget category, as more than half the sellers offering it new on Amazon as of this writing price it less than $500. It’s a perfect springboard for future upgrades, offering an AMD A6-6400K APU with the Integrated Radeon HD 8470D, meaning that basic gaming is well in hand. Depending on the sort of games you’re looking to play, you may have to restrict the graphical settings to Low or Minimum, but it’s certainly a fair trade for the value.

It come stock with 4GB of DDR3 RAM, and for a little extra out-of-pocket you could double the RAM and add a dedicated graphics card, which would dramatically improve your in-game performance. The rig is rounded out by a 500 GB SATA III Hard Drive @ 7200 RPM, a 24X DVD-RW Dual-Layer drive, Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, a full copy of Windows 8.1, and eight USB ports to fit all your peripherals—two of which are USB 3.0 for the fastest transfer rates. As with most desktops, Cyberpower ships it with a keyboard and a mouse in the box, so all you’ll need is a monitor to rock and roll.

2. CybertronPC Patriot GM1293Acybertron-pc-patriot-best-gaming-computers-under-500

Not be confused with the aforementioned, the CybertronPC Patriot GM1293A ($499.99, on sale as of this writing for $479.99) is another strong contender in the Budget bracket. Though it might seem at first glance to be an “off” brand, the overwhelmingly positive customer reviews invite closer inspection, where you’ll find another versatile base to work with. Sporting an AMD A4-5300 APU, with an Integrated Radeon HD 7480D and a noteworthy 8GB of DDR3 RAM—all powering a full copy of Windows 8—it’s a great way to game that’s easily upgradable with a dedicated graphics card down the road.

It includes a 24X DVD-RW Dual-Layer drive, a full Terabyte of 7200 RPM SATA III hard drive storage and six USB 2.0 ports, giving you plenty of room for your games and your gaming equipment. The integrated 802.11 wireless-N connectivity means that you can set up the tower wherever it’s most convenient—but, if you’re a wired kind of consumer, the tower includes Gigabit Ethernet for blinding speed over the plug. Choose from four different colors of chassis accents to add some flair to your rig, and use the included mouse and keyboard if you don’t have any alternatives already. Add a monitor, and you’re good to go.

3. ASUS M32AD Desktop

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Rounding out our budget options is the ASUS M32AD-US029S ($449.00, on sale for $429.99 at the time of this writing). With an Intel i3-3227U, it doesn’t have quite the onboard graphical prowess that the AMD APU wields, but the integrated Intel HD 4000 ensures a basic capability for gaming, enough to keep you busy until you upgrade­ with a dedicated graphics card—if and when you should decide to do so.

Besides the CPU, the rig holds 4 GB of DDR3 RAM and a terabyte of 7200RPM storage to load up with games and media, as well as a full copy of Windows 8. There are five USB ports in this model, two of which feature blazing-fast USB 3.0 speeds, as well as integrated next-generation 802.11ac wireless for stellar transfer rates over the air and Gigabit Ethernet for unrivaled speed while hardwired.

Use the included 24X DVD-RW Drive to watch your favorite movies, or burn yourself a copy for home archive purposes. Field the included mouse and keyboard if necessary, and be sure to bring your own monitor. A solid machine—with the usual potential for modular improvements—by a generally well-respected brand.

Now that you’ve got the rig, it’s game time. Go forth and conquer — and remember, it’s all about the game.