The Best $500 Home Office PC Build – June 2021

By Ari Altman | Published May 27, 2021 | Updated May 27, 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 Core i3-10100 quad-core, eight-thread processor. It more than matches AMD’s best, and more importantly, 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.

Need to accessorize your new Home Office PC Build? Just scroll down to the end of this guide for our top picks! This includes a wireless networking card, a 24″ monitor, a professional-grade webcam, and other great accessories to round out your build. 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!

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

  • The Home Office Desktop

    Acer Aspire TC-895-UA92

    $550
    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 more powerful, thanks to 50% more cores, double the SSD capacity, and built-in WiFi, making it a better buy overall unless you really want to build your own!

The DIY Option

  • CPU

    Intel Core i3-10100

    $153
    While AMD has ruled the budget sector for a while, Intel has come roaring back, and its Core i3-10100 is simply unbeatable at the price, thanks to its 4 cores, 8 threads, and high clock speed. It doesn’t hurt that Intel’s CPUs are also in stock, while AMD has fallen prey to constant stocking problems. What a turn of events!
    The Guru’s Tip

    Please don't mistakenly purchase the Core i3-10100F, as it is definitely not the same thing. It doesn't have built-in graphics and will not work in this system!

  • Motherboard

    Gigabyte B460M DS3H v2

    $95
    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! 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.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This system uses the micro ATX form factor, also known as mATX, which is what this motherboard conforms to.

  • Memory

    Oloy 2x8GB DDR4 2666 Grey

    $75
    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.

  • Solid-State Drive

    Silicon Power 256GB NVMe

    $43

    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 jeweler’s screwdriver to install this drive in the motherboard’s M.2 slot. Luckily, no cables are required!

    The Guru’s Tip

    Feel free to choose a larger SSD if you know you need more capacity.

  • Case

    Rosewill FBM-X2-400 w/ Power Supply

    $58

    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!

  • Operating System

    Windows 10 Home USB Flash Drive

    $130
    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.

Optional Products

  • Wireless Card

    TP-Link Archer T5E AC1200/Bluetooth 4.2

    $35
    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!

  • The 24-inch Small Office Monitor

    HP 24mh IPS Monitor

    $125

    This stylish monitor from HP gives you everything you could want in a mainstream model at a great price. It has an IPS panel for great viewing angles, a 23.8″ screen size with an ample resolution of 1920 x 1080, a 75Hz refresh rate (making moving images look smoother than typical 60Hz models), plus height-tilt adjustment to provide an ergonomic position. In terms of connectivity, it has VGA, DisplayPort, and HDMI, and it even has built-in speakers!

    The Guru’s Tip

    To use this model's built-in speakers, connect it via an HDMI cable.

  • Hard Drive

    Seagate BarraCuda 2TB

    $55
    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 Basic Wireless Keyboard/Mouse Combo

    Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo

    $25
    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

    $81
    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

    $20
    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!