PC gaming can be a very expensive hobby, with parts and pre-built PCs alike commanding a pretty penny. For some, the price is offputting and adds to the allure of console gaming.

Nevertheless, it is possible to get started without throwing away all of your money. There will be sacrifices to make, be that in hardware or ultimately the resolution, frame rate and detail settings in some of your games. Likewise, if you're looking to get into some eSports friendly titles like League of Legends or CS:GO, a PC in this price bracket will be plenty.

Here's a selection of machines that cost less than $500 that are worth taking a look at.

Note: We're only pricing the actual PC here at under $500 since a keyboard, mouse, and monitor is required for any desktop PC at any price point.

Alienware Alpha

Alienware Alpha

You can only get the base model and you'll need to use the voucher code provided by Dell on the store page, but you can get an Alienware Alpha mini-PC for $499.99.

That gets you an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 2GB NVIDIA GPU, but the RAM and processor at least are upgradeable in the future. You can't use Alienware's external graphics amplifier with this model, but it's a great little package to get into some less intensive PC gaming or even use in the living room.

There is also an alternative, and that's the Steam Machine model that is still sold in some places. This one doesn't run Windows but will probably allow you more powerful hardware to play your games, at the expensive of not being a full Windows PC.

See at Dell



This wild looking thing is a great starter rig for just under $500. You'll also get a keyboard and mouse thrown in too, which adds a little extra value to the package.

Inside the PC you'll find an AMD FX-4300 quad-core processor and R7 240 2GB graphics card, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive.

What you also get is a tempered glass side panel on the case and free lifetime tech support from the manufacturer. It's ripe for some future upgrades, too, while standing out from the crowd of black boxes.

See at Amazon

ASUS G20AJ (Certified Refurbished)


To hit a sub-$500 price point you'll be looking at a certified refurbished unit of the ASUS ROG G20, but aside from an older version of Windows to update, you're getting a lot of PC in this little box.

In our budget we're looking at an Intel Core i3 processor, NVIDIA GTX 745 graphics card, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hybrid drive for storage.

There's even an optical drive snuck in the front of what's a great little starter gaming PC.

See at Amazon

Lenovo Erazer X315


The Erazer actually started life at Lenovo's European sub-brand, Medion, but is now available with Lenovo on the box and looks pretty wild. It's a sizeable case which gives you room for upgrades in the future, but you'll find a pretty solid budget rig behind that glowing blue eye.

Inside you get an 8-core AMD A8-7600 processor paired with 8GB of RAM and an AMD R9 255 graphics card. You'll also find a 1TB hard drive paired, a mouse and keyboard in the box and a bunch of ports including an always on USB outlet for charging your phone.

It's also a great price, coming in around $60 under the $500 mark. It's pretty big, but it's also pretty big value.

See at Amazon