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The Best $500 Home Office PC Build – July 2021

By Ari Altman | Published June 30, 2021 | Updated June 30, 2021

Looking to build the best possible home office PC for $500? No problem! This guide lists all the parts you’ll need to put together a balanced computer that has the power to handle any office task. And luckily, while the gaming PC market has been turned upside down due to the lack of video cards at retail, this office PC’s built-in video means you can get your system up and running today, no waiting around!

For June 2021, the $500 Home Office PC Build features Intel’s Pentium Gold G6400 dual-core, four-thread processor. It offers a lot of value, particularly because it has built-in graphics, which saves you a whole lot of money and hassle if you’re just using this system for home office use.  Also on board are 16GB of RAM (which we now recommend as a minimum for any PC) and a 256GB PCIe-based solid-state drive, which is lightyears ahead of the hard drives you’ll find in most off-the-shelf office PCs. The $500 Home Office PC Build is housed in an ultra-compact case and powered by a cost-effective power supply. No matter what you use this system for, it will provide years of top-notch performance, along with plenty of opportunity for upgrades down the line.

We also recommend a pre-built PC for readers who want to get a fantastic system in the $500 price range and don’t have a strong interest in building their own PC. As it turns out, at this pricepoint, you actually don’t save money building your own, believe it or not!

Need to accessorize your new Home Office PC? Just scroll down to the end of this guide for our top picks, or check out our dedicated Monitor Buyer’s Guide, Speaker/Headset Buyer’s Guide, and Wireless Networking Buyer’s Guide!

Note that this guide provides direct links to Amazon, B&H, or Newegg in the US, and our Amazon links will auto-convert for readers in the UK, Canada, and the EU. with automated substitutions where required. If you decide to purchase any of the products we list, please use the links provided, which helps support continued development of these guides.

The Pre-Built Option

  • HOT DEAL! Wow, just wow! A budget desktop has finally hit the market with a super-fast solid-state drive instead of a super-slow hard drive. This is a revelation! Yes, indeed, for around $500, the latest Acer Aspire will no doubt be a PC you can use for years to come. It’s equipped with the Intel Core i5-10400 six-core CPU that boosts up to 4.3GHz, a sizeable 12GB of DDR4, that aforementioned 512GB SSD, an 8X DVD, 802.11ac WiFi, and even a cutting-edge USB 3.1 Type-C port.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This is one seriously-good deal. While it's around the same price as the DIY build we recommend below, it's also far more powerful, thanks to 3x more cores, double the SSD capacity, and built-in WiFi. That makes it a better buy overall unless you really want to build your own!

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The DIY Option

  • The Pentium Gold G6400 is the best CPU available at its price point. It offers two cores, four threads, and a speed of 4GHz. It also features onboard graphics, which means you don’t need a video card to run your system!
    The Guru’s Tip

    This CPU includes a cooler, so there's no need to buy a separate one!

  • This board is the perfect choice for a low-cost build. With four PCIe slots, five USB ports, four RAM slots, and six SATA ports, it gives the system room to grow. Plus it has a PCIe M.2 slot, which you’ll be taking advantage of with this build’s SSD!
    The Guru’s Tip

    Another awesome feature of this board is the built-in DVI, VGA, and HDMI ports, which will allow you to use the built-in graphics on the Intel chip we recommend.

  • This cost-effective 16GB RAM kit will give you plenty of capacity to use your PC to its fullest! While 8GB is passable, there’s a good chance that modern apps will use the entire amount, leaving nothing for your OS and slowing the system down to a crawl.
    The Guru’s Tip

    We want to be clear about something - we no longer think 8GB of RAM is enough for typical users, which is why we recently updated this build to 16GB.

  • There’s no better way to make a PC feel really fast than to equip it with a fast solid-state drive, and this PCIe-based model blows away the competition in terms of performance per dollar. Note that you’ll need a to install this drive in the motherboard’s M.2 slot. Luckily, no cables are required!

    The Guru’s Tip

    If you'd like a lot more storage capacity for media and other files, we suggest you get the hard drive listed in the optional products section of this guide.

  • The FBM-X2 offers plenty of features at a bargain price. It has two big 120mm fans for cooling, while three USB ports are easily accessible on top. It’s also very compact, thanks to the micro-ATX form factor. And most amazing of all is that included in the price is a pre-installed 400W power supply, which is perfect for this system!

    The Guru’s Tip

    Nearly all low-priced cases have sold out over the past few months, making this case's bargain price all the more amazing. Grab it while you can!

  • Windows 10 was a big step up from Windows 8.1, and Microsoft continues to support Windows 10 users not only with regular security updates, but with major content releases every six months. And the USB version installs in under 5 minutes, meaning you can get right into using your system!
    The Guru’s Tip

    The USB version of Windows 10 sells out often. You can actually save about $10 by going with the downloadable version from Amazon as long as you have an 8GB or larger flash drive available.

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Optional Products

  • Need wireless networking? Look no further than this ultra-high-speed 802.11ac PCIe-based card!
    The Guru’s Tip

    This card even has built-in Bluetooth, perfect for use with Bluetooth-enabled headsets and other devices!

  • If you need extra space for bulk storage of media like photos, videos, and music, add this bargain-priced 2TB hard drive to your build. Coming in at just $10 more than most 1TB drives, it’s a tremendous bargain.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Using an SSD for the operating system and main applications, along with a hard drive for data, provides an incredibly-responsive user experience along with plenty of storage capacity.

  • This monitor offers a 24″ IPS panel for great color and viewing angles, a 75Hz refresh rate for extra-smooth scrolling, as well as dual HDMI inputs and a VGA input. It even has built-in speakers!

    The Guru’s Tip

    To use the built-in speakers, connect the monitor to your PC with an HDMI cable, or alternatively a VGA cable plus an analog 3.5mm cable.

  • While you may have an old keyboard and mouse sitting in your desk, treat yourself to a new wireless setup from Logitech, the MK270!
    The Guru’s Tip

    This combo uses a single tiny USB receiver to connect both peripherals!

  • Need to do some teleconferencing? No problem, just pick up this high-quality USB webcam from Logitech!
    The Guru’s Tip

    We strongly advise you not to buy any of the no-name webcams that have flooded the market since the start of the pandemic, and we also advise you not to buy any Logitech webcams from third-party sellers. They are likely to be used or counterfeit.

  • Because desktop PCs, unlike laptops, don’t have internal speakers, we recommend you pick up Creative’s Pebble kit. Whether it’s music, You Tube videos, TV, or movies, Pebble will sound great.
    The Guru’s Tip

    To connect them, you'll use a 3.5mm cable for audio and USB for power, both to your PC. No connection to the wall required!

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Total Cost: $501

(as of June 30, 2021)
The Pre-Built Option
The DIY Option
Optional Products