Unbeatable Black Friday Deals: Crafting a $500 Gaming PC

When building a $500 gaming PC, you often have to cut corners. But not during Black Friday. Building at this time of year is great. You can stack multiple good deals to get nicer parts at big discounts. Other months are sparser for deals, making it harder to roll together a kickass machine cheaply. And once again, you can put together a system capable of 1080p Ultra at 60fps for $500 or less—and you can still easily upgrade it down the road. All the parts are new and sold by first-party sellers, too. Need something different? You can scale up to a $700 1440p build or move down to a $350 720p build. Let’s dive into the details and I’ll explain.

The only “catch”? Things look similar to last year. (If you’re a returning reader, parts of this article may sound…familiar.) That’s not a problem with the deals, though—and these PCs are still badass.

Build notes
This motherboard may require flashing to a newer BIOS to work with Ryzen 5000 processors. You can request a free loaner boot kit from AMD for this purpose. A local computer shop may also be able to perform this service for a fee. Use promo code BFDAYWCYA747 at check out. Build this PC and you get a solid 6-core, 12-thread processor that supports PCIe 4.0; an ATX motherboard that supports RGB and ARGB fans and has plenty of PCIe expansion slots; 16GB of DDR4-3600 memory (Ryzen 5000’s sweet spot for RAM speed); a high-performing and popular NVMe SSD; on-board Wi-Fi and Bluetooth; and an attractive airflow case. The Windows 11 license is included, too, and the key is above board—the license comes from PCWorld’s affiliated shop. Oh, and you get a copy of Assassin’s Creed Mirage as a bonus with the purchase of the Intel Arc A750 graphics card.

Not shabby for a PC that comes in at about $550, and that you can soup up if you want flashier fans, more memory, more storage, or a faster CPU. The main caveat: You may need to flash the motherboard’s BIOS to a newer version before the Ryzen 5 5600 will work in it. (It depends on the BIOS version your unit ships with—P2.20 and later shouldn’t require this step.) AMD loans free boot kits for this purpose. A local computer store may also be able to perform this service for a fee. (Or a good, well-supplied friend could do this for free, if they like you.)

By the way—if you’re disappointed that this build feels like old hardware, it’s true many of this build’s core components launched two years ago or more. (Ryzen 5000 parts and the B550 chipset launched in 2020, and while Intel Arc A750 came out in 2022, it performs on par with the Radeon RX 6600, which is of a 2021 vintage.) The problem aren’t these deals, though. Hardware releases have slowed in the last couple of years, and what’s come out has generally been in the higher priced brackets. And even then, some launches have been downright minor. Fortunately, there was so much aggressive competing between AMD, Intel, and Nvidia that hardware from a generation back still kicks plenty of butt.

Areas for improvement
Storage: A 500GB SSD will fill up pretty quick, especially if you play big blockbuster AAA games. If you can afford it, buy the 1TB version of the Solidigm P41 ($50) instead. Additional fans: The Phanteks model listed above has only one included fan, so you can buy more fans yourself for optimal airflow.

Suggested upgrades: CPU Cooler: This build uses the 5600’s included stock cooler. But using a more powerful aftermarket air cooler will improve your temps and possibly performance if you live in a warm (or downright hot) location. Our recommendation would be a solid performer like the be quiet Pure Rock 2 ($35), which is on sale right now and comes with $5 promotional Newegg gift card. Memory: 16GB will work for many people who primarily game and don’t have a lot of things open at the same time. But DDR4 memory is cheap right now—great news for my fellow browser tab hoarders. Stepping up to 32GB of RAM is just $57 right now. Graphics card: This is more of a sidegrade. Intel has made big strides with its drivers since the launch of its Arc cards, but for people who’d prefer more polished experience, the Radeon RX 6600 is about the same price right now. No free game, though.

Power supply: Generally, you want the nicest power supply you can afford—but since this is an article about deals, I usually choose a more affordable one. You can look through this PSU tier list if you prefer a higher-rated one. Also, my suggested PSU lacks an additional 4-pin power cable—which is fine if you only plan to use the PC for gaming and productivity tasks. If you need more juice for, say, overclocking, upgrade your PSU choice.

Possible downgrade
Motherboard: You can save $25 by dropping down to this $60 ASRock B450 microATX motherboard. It still has Wi-Fi and support for RGB/ARGB fans, but be aware that you get fewer PCIe expansion slots and lose PCIe 4.0 support. Running this build’s SSD and graphics card in PCIe 3.0 is still plenty fast, though. You also need to flash the BIOS on this motherboard for it to be compatible with Ryzen 5000.

CPU: The Ryzen 5 5600 is a stronger performer all around—but if you don’t play games where CPU performance matters as much (e.g., AAA titles), you could save another $8 and drop down to the Ryzen 5 5500. The Ryzen 5 5500 doesn’t support PCIe 4.0 though, so this choice is best if you also drop the motherboard to the B450 model suggested above.

No Windows, B450 mobo variant – $505
If you must slash costs, you can drop down to a B450 motherboard (see above suggestion) and ditch Windows in favor of Linux. Just be aware that while Linux and Windows are closer in parity for gaming, they’re not equal yet.

Micro Center variant – $510

The $700 1440p Black Friday gaming PC build
This build comes in just a little over $700—though you could shave down the price even more if you really wanted. And you can pack in a heck of a lot more CPU performance if you’re able to build the alternative version of it. This motherboard may require flashing to a newer BIOS to work with Ryzen 5000 processors. You can request a free loaner boot kit from AMD for this purpose. A local computer shop may also be able to perform this service for a fee. Use promo code BFDAYWCYA747 at checkout. Use promo code TTNV567733B at checkout. Also includes a $10 Newegg digital gift card with purchase.

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