Best Budget $500 Gaming PC Build Vs Console 2019
The PC vs Console Gaming Debate in 2019
In 2019 the PC vs console debate is as hot as ever. Can a $500 PC rival the performance of a standard Xbox One or PS4? Absolutely. And that performance gap continues to grow while these platforms age. However, at the same time, console prices have come down substantially.
Perhaps a more interesting comparison is a $500 PC against the $400 PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.
The argument for the PC is that it gives you more flexibility. It's a computer that can be used for daily tasks, has a graphics card that can easily be upgraded, and has a myriad of popular online games unavailable on the console.
On the other hand exclusive games, multiplayer gameplay, joysticks, and ease-of-use still make consoles attractive to many gamers. Performance is a bit of an enigma. I'll dedicate more to that discussion below.
A Top Performing $500 Gaming PC for the Money in 2019
Before we go any further, let's take a look at a $500 PC to see how performance fairs against the Xbox One X and the PS4 Pro in 2019.
Graphical Equivalents (Best Comparison)
Xbox One X
RX 470 4GB
RX 580 or GTX 1060
Looking at the chart above and understanding the GPU market in 2019, you should be able to get a graphics card as good or better than the Xbox One X is offering into this $500 PC build.
Spend a $100 more and you get something far superior in the . That's the nice part about PC building. An upgrade doesn't need to wait on when Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo decide to release a new console. GTX 1660Ti
That being said, our budget of $500 is already over the $400 cost of the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. Plus, it doesn't come with any peripherals. Yet, you may find the price you pay for games on the PC to be a little more forgiving.
In the end, I felt that the $500 budget allowed you to get something really worth building that could last you a long time and play today's AAA titles. This PC does that and allows some flexibility in upgrading down the road.
Staying Within the $500 Budget of this Build:
If you want to stick to the $500 budget, you likely can't afford more than a RX 580. As the PS4 Pro has the performance of a low-end RX 470 this will put you well over that performance. As I mentioned above, you'll be matching the performance of the Xbox One X while having a superior processor.
The i3-9100F requires a dedicated graphics card and can certainly handle the RX 580 we're throwing at it. Take a look at our post on the best graphics cards for the money for additional information.
RX 580 vs GTX 1660Ti - $600 Version of this Build
If you want to exceed the performance of the Xbox One X or PS4 Pro, you'll need to be in the $600 range. The 1660Ti should give you an additional 15-35% performance increase vs the RX 580 (depending on the game you're playing).
The RX 580 can be used in a dual card configuration while SLI is not an option for the GTX 1660Ti. For energy efficiency and overclocking, the GTX 1660Ti is definitely my choice if you have the extra budget.
Either one of these cards is a good option moving forward and your choice may be influenced by whether you're planning on using AMD's FreeSync, NVIDIA's G-Sync, or whether you plan on upgrading a few years down the road with another card. The current pricing in your area may also be a big factor.
If you want our pick for a single card, it would be the GTX 1660 Ti here. The better performance across DX11 games is simply a bigger deal in 2019.
The Intel i3-9100F is Ideal for Budget Builds
A 4 core processor at around $90 that performs as well as previous generation i5's? What more could you ask for?
CPU PC vs Console Comparison
I've heard a lot of gamers talk about how you're getting a much better processor out of the PC here. It's true. However, at some level, it doesn't matter to the console player.
As long as the console plays the game no one really seems to cares. Framerate, resolution, smoothness, and detail all matter. However, consoles are built for these types of solutions. So, in my opinion, the CPU performance matters more on the PC side than the console as it's likely you'll use your PC for more than just gaming.
What CPU Should You Choose for a $500 PC Build?
The CPU releases from Intel and AMD over the past year have been stellar. With the priced at around $80 and the i3-9100 at just $90, PC gamers have much more capable low-priced options than ever before. Ryzen 3 3200G
The i3-9100F is the better performing gaming CPU and thus our choice. However, if you have a low budget and can't currently afford a GPU going with the 3200G will still allow you to play popular games like Fortnite.
Intel Coffee Lake i3-9100F vs Ryzen 3 3200G
While both of these processors have four cores, the i3-9100F is significantly faster in IPC. This leads to increased gaming performance. The Ryzen 3 3200G can be overclocked, however, the performance gap is still enough that I'm recommending the i3-9100 in most situations.
High-end performance users can spend as much on their motherboard as you may spend on an entire rig. That being said you don't need a super expensive motherboard in order to get a good performing gaming computer for $500.
A solid option in the $75 price range would be something like the . This would be used with the Intel version of this build. You'll find that in today's market a Micro ATX motherboard like this one has very few limitations. ASRock A320M-DGS motherboard
An 80+ Power Supply Around $30
With a $500 budget, we're trying to go max performance while still trying to maintain quality parts. While it may seem difficult to find a decent Power supply in the under or around $30 category there are a couple I'd recommend.
First and foremost are the EVGA 430W and 500W Bronze certified power supplies. I wouldn't rank these in the top tier; however, they're perfect for a budget and offer decent energy efficiency.
Finding a Cheap Case
For this build we've reserved about $30 for our mid tower gaming case.With current prices on the Rosewill Ranger, the Xion mATX (pictured), and Rosewill FBM-01, you should be able to find a decent case for that price.
Better yet, if you can find a case that's normally in the $50 range on rebate, you can typically get amazing value here.
While this case is more than you need if you're using a low profile card, it's better to err on the larger side for your case in the chance that you upgrade in the future and need to fit a larger card.
Here we're going with a 4x2GB configuration of DDR4. We're going with a Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB configuration that goes up to 3000MHz. The price difference between the cheaper options and this is minimal right now. So, we feel the additional performance is worth it. Here's a comparison of DDR4 kits for those trying to get the best value for their money.
Solid State Drive:
If you need more capacity than this, I recommend finding a traditional hard drive with a lot of capacity for storing files you don't use regularly.
PS4 Pro, Xbox One, and PS4 Performance vs Our $500 Machine
*$500 to $600 PC Build
Intel Core i3-9100F
ASRock B365M Pro4
G. Skill Ripjaws V 1x8GB
WD Blue 500GB M.2 SSD
EVGA 500W 80+or equivalent
DIYPC MA01 mATX
RX 580 or GTX 1660 Ti ($100 more)
First of all, the performance of the Xbox One and PS4 really aren't on par with what you'll get from our $500 build. I'd compare the PS4 to an HD 7850 and the Xbox One's graphical performance to an HD 7790. Yet, building a PC that would work that well for AAA titles for $300 would be very difficult.
PS4 Pro and Xbox One X Comparison
For the PS4 Pro, a good comparison would be low-end RX 470 on the low-end and the Xbox One X an RX 580 or the GTX 1060.
So, Who Wins?
Graphically, the PC and Xbox One X are similar while the PS4 Pro falls a bit behind. As the Xbox One X costs $100 less than our PC some may decide to go that route.
However, it's more complicated than that.
PC games you purchase are kept with you forever. In addition, cheap audio, and peripheral solutions certainly allow you to save money. Purchasing AAA titles on the cheap after they've been out for a while is also much more likely on the PC.
In addition, you don't pay for an online service with the PC. Over time this is a very big deal. What's more, you can upgrade your PC's graphics card over time as you'd like. That flexibility is worth a lot.
So, who truly wins? That's truly up to you. If you like to play on the PC, then likely you'll stay there. The same goes for the console.
However, much of the arguments that had plagued the console market certainly aren't present in 2019. High resolutions and details are available at an affordable price.
Which is your favorite?
Here's a previous poll we did with the PS4 and Xbox One and a $500 PC when they were a similar price. It's not as relevant today, but we'll leave it open so you can see how far we've come.
Performance of a PS4 or Xbox One vs. a $500 Gaming PC
Is it even close?
I was a console gamer as a kid and grew into a PC gamer exclusively. That sentence describes many of us.
It certainly describes my kids.
My son loves to play Xbox and PS4 because his friends do. It's the platform that makes the most sense for him. As he's gotten older, he's playing more and more on the PC. Games like Overwatch, Civ 6, and using an emulator for his phone apps are what he likes to do.
Ultimately, I feel that consoles have come a long way in the past year. When a PC and a console are similar in price, I'd always give the win to the PC. However, with unstable GPU prices and better graphical solutions available for the console at a fixed and cheaper price, it's definitely up for debate. What are your thoughts?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2013 Brandon Hart