The Best $500 Home Office PC Build – January 2022

By Ari Altman | Published December 31, 2021 | Updated December 31, 2021

InWin CJ712Maximum Office Productivity for the Minimum Price!

Looking to build the best possible home office PC for around $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!

This Month’s Build, Powered by Intel

For January 2022, the $500 Home Office PC Build features Intel’s Core i3-10100 quad-core, 8-thread processor. It offers tremendous 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 and a 500GB 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 microATX case with a built-in 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.

The DIY vs. Pre-Built Question

In addition to the DIY PC build we profile in this guide, we highly recommend you consider the pre-built PC we list as an alternative, even if you are committed to building your own PC. Why? Well, the answer is simple: OEMs get far better component and Windows software pricing than consumers, translating to a better overall value for the home or small office PC user. At this pricepoint, you actually don’t save money building your own, believe it or not!

Parting Thoughts

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 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

  • The Home Office Desktop

    Acer Aspire TC-1660-UA92

    HOT DEAL! Wow, just wow! You can get a budget desktop with a super-fast 512GB 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, 12-thread CPU that boosts up to 4.3GHz, a sizeable 12GB of DDR4 memory, that aforementioned 512GB SSD, an 8X DVD, next-gen 802.11ax wireless networking, Bluetooth 5.2, and even a cutting-edge USB 3.1 Type-C port.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This is one seriously-good deal, coming in around the same price as our DIY option, despite a more powerful CPU. It also includes built-in WiFi and a bundled mouse and keyboard. Basically, Acer is able to get much better prices than retail consumers, and it passes those savings on in this incredible bargain of a PC!

The DIY Option

  • CPU

    Intel Core i3-10100


    While AMD ruled the budget sector for a while, Intel now owns it with the Core i3-10100, which is simply unbeatable for the price, thanks to its 4 cores, 8 threads, and high clock speed. It doesn’t hurt that it has built-in graphics, unlike most of AMD’s offerings!

    The Guru’s Tip

    This CPU includes a cooler, so there's no need to purchase an additional one.

  • Motherboard

    MSI B560M PRO WiFi


    This board is the perfect choice for a low-cost build. With three PCIe slots, six USB ports, and six SATA ports, it gives the system room to grow. Plus, it has built-in wireless networking!

    The Guru’s Tip

    Another awesome feature of this board are the DisplayPort and HDMI port, which will allow you to use the built-in graphics on the Intel chip we recommend.

  • Memory

    Oloy 2x8GB DDR4 2666 Grey

    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 - while you can get by on 8GB, we think 16GB is what you'll want for the long term, and it doesn't cost much more to double up on RAM.

  • Solid-State Drive

    WD Blue SN570 500GB NVMe


    WD knocked it out of the park with its high-performance yet bargain-priced SN570. Optimized for excellent real-world performance thanks to WD’s years of SSD development, it easily keeps up with much more expensive drives. This 500GB model can provide sequential read speeds of 3500MB/s and write speeds of 2300MB/s.

    The Guru’s Tip

    Given that most 250GB drives cost the same or more than this one, it's an easy choice to go WD!

  • Case

    In Win CJ712 w/ 265W Power Supply


    This ultra-compact case from In Win will allow you to place your PC practically anywhere! It’s just 8 liters, which is about 1/5 the size of the typical desktop PC, and includes a built-in 265W power supply, making the build process super-simple. It has space for a micro-ATX motherboard, four low-profile expansion cards, and a hard drive.

    The Guru’s Tip

    Remember, we don't have a separate power supply in our buyer's guide because this case has one pre-installed!

  • Operating System

    Windows 10 Home USB @Newegg

    Windows 10 is the most popular operating system in the world, and Microsoft continues to support users not only with regular security updates, but with major content releases every year. Note that you can alternatively purchase the downloadable version. All you need on hand to use it is a USB drive with 8GB+ of capacity.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Windows 11 has launched, and it will be pushed out as a free update to all owners of Win10!

Optional Products

  • Hard Drive

    Seagate BarraCuda 2TB

    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.

  • The 24-inch Small Office Monitor

    Sceptre E248W-19203R


    This monitor offers a 24″ 1920 x 1080 panel, a 75Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling, a slim bezel for sleek looks, 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.

  • The Basic Wireless Keyboard/Mouse Combo

    Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo

    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!

  • Webcam

    Logitech C925-e Webcam

    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.

  • The Basic PC Speakers

    Creative Pebble 2.0

    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!

  • Wireless Card

    TP-Link Archer T5E AC1200/Bluetooth 4.2

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

    This card includes a low-profile bracket, which you'll need to attach to install it in the case used for this build.

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