Not everyone has the time or know-how to build their own PC, and that's OK. Manufacturers are happy to provide PCs ready to power on as soon as they arrive, and while standard and gaming rigs can get expensive, there's also a budget market that's home to some legit rigs. Here are the best I could find that don't cost more than $500.


Lenovo IdeaCentre 510A

Lenovo IdeaCentre 510A

Suited for productivity purposes around the house, the IdeaCentre 510A (about $390) has inside a seventh-gen Intel Core i3-7100 processor (CPU), 4GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB 7,200RPM hard-disk drive (HDD).

It isn't going to win any races and you won't be able to play modern games on ultra settings, but it has plenty of ports — including six USB-A 3.0 — and comes with a keyboard and mouse. If you don't have a ton of space next to the desk, you'll appreciate the slim design.

See at Lenovo

HP Pavilion 570

HP Pavilion 570

Coming in at the $500 mark is the Pavilion 570 from HP. It has inside the compact case a seventh-gen Intel Core i5-7400 CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB 7,200RPM HDD. Thanks to Intel HD Graphics 630 you can enjoy some light to medium gaming, but don't expect anything phenomenal.

This PC is more geared toward productivity, shipping out with a wired keyboard and mouse. There are three USB-A 3.0 ports, two USB-A 2.0 ports, and, looking to the future, one USB-C port. For a bit more multitasking power, this is the PC for you.

See at HP

Dell Inspiron

Dell Inspiron

The AMD version of Dell's Inspiron (about $500) offers a good amount of power for a very competitive price. Inside you get an AMD A8-7410 accelerated processing unit (APU) with Radeon R5 Graphics, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 1TB 7,200RPM HDD, all packed into a compact case.

If you like the look of this PC but prefer an Intel CPU, there's a $400 version available with a seventh-gen Core i3 and otherwise similar specs.

See at Dell

Acer Aspire TC

Acer Aspire TC

Acer loves making low-cost PCs, and they love to cram more hardware inside than the competition. The Aspire TC (about $500) is a great productivity machine and can even handle a bit of light to medium gaming on the side thanks to the Intel HD Graphics 630.

Inside is a seventh-gen Intel Core i5-7400 CPU, 12GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 2TB 7,200RPM HDD, and there's lots of room inside for upgrades down the line. If you need that extra bit of RAM or that extra 1TB of storage, this is a great option.

See at Amazon

More resources

Be sure to check out these links for more great pre-built buying options.