Phanteks P400S

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 cost less than $500.

Lenovo IdeaCentre 510A

Lenovo IdeaCentre 510A

Suited for productivity purposes around the house, the IdeaCentre 510A (about $393) 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 3670

Dell Inspiron 3670

This $400 Dell Inspiron desktop PC has it all. Not only do you have the latest generation Intel Core i3 processor, but also 8GB DDR4 2400MHz, and a 1TB HDD, all packed into a compact case. An excellent base for a capable machine. Throw in an NVIDIA or AMD GPU and you can now play a bunch of PC games.

It's possible to move up to an Intel Core i5 processor and slightly speedier RAM for $549, just passing out $500 limit. Whichever you choose, there's no need to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro as Home will be more than enough for your needs. That is, unless you require a specific feature in Windows 10 Pro.

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.

Updated on July 06, 2018: We refreshed this list to ensure we're only offering the best desktop PCs for less than $500.