The Best $500 Home Office PC Build – September 2022

By Ari Altman | Published August 23, 2022 | Updated September 15, 2022

Thermaltake H17Maximum 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 low-cost video cards are nearly extinct, this office PC’s built-in video means you can get your system up and running without wasting a dime!

This Month’s Build, Powered by Intel

For September 2022, the $500 Home Office PC Build features Intel’s Core i3-10100 quad-core, 8-thread processor with clockspeeds up to 4.3GHz. It offers tremendous value, particularly because it has built-in graphics, which saves you a whole lot of money if you’re just using this system for home office use.

Also on board are 16GB of RAM and a 512GB 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 a compact micro-ATX case and powered by a 430W power supply, which provides plenty of headroom for big upgrades. We’re even able to include built-in wireless networking, thanks to a great price on a great motherboard with integrated WiFi.

Perhaps the best thing about this build is that it offers plenty of opportunity for upgrades down the line thanks to the roomy interior, industry-standard components, and capable power supply. We’ve listed some of our top recommendations for upgrades, including a hard drive and gaming-grade video card, later in this guide!

The DIY vs. Pre-Built Question

In addition to the DIY PC build we profile in this guide, we 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 great pricing on components and Windows software, translating to excellent overall value for the home or small office PC user. At this point, you get about the same amount of performance per dollar building your own versus buying a pre-built office PC, so if you don’t have extra time to spare, buying a pre-built PC is a sensible choice.

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 Budget Home Office PC

    HP M01-F1120 Desktop (AMD 4300G)

    $440
    Wow, just wow! Thanks to great specs, the latest HP Desktop will no doubt be a PC you can use for years to come. It’s equipped with the AMD Ryzen 3 4300G quad-core, 8-thread CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, an 8X DVD burner, 802.11ac WiFi, and even an SD card reader. Plus, it has Microsoft Windows 11 pre-installed.
    The Guru’s Tip

    For around the same price as the DIY builds we spec out below, this one comes ready to go, out of the box. The performance is comparable, with the main benefit of the DIY build being double the RAM, while the pre-built PC offers built-in WiFi plus a keyboard and mouse.

The DIY Option

  • CPU

    Intel Core i3-10100

    $103
    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 cooler includes a cooler, so there's no need to purchase one. And take note: do not buy the 10100F, which sounds similar, but has no built-in graphics and won't work in this build!

  • Motherboard

    ASUS Prime B560M-A AC

    $100
    This board is the perfect choice for a low-cost build. With three PCIe slots, six USB ports (including a Type-C port), four RAM slots, 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 is its DisplayPort and HDMI ports, which will allow you to use the built-in graphics on the Intel chip we recommend.

  • Memory

    Oloy 2x8GB DDR4-2666 C19

    $49
    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

    Given that 16GB doesn't cost much more than 8GB, it's a clear winner in terms of future-proofing!

  • Solid-State Drive

    Silicon Power 512GB NVMe

    $36
    You simply can’t do better for the price than this value-packed SSD, which uses the speedy PCIe 3.0 interface and TLC NAND to vastly outperform all the SATA drives that sell for around the same amount! Note that to install this drive, you’ll affix it in an M.2 slot on your motherboard using a jeweler’s-type screwdriver.
    The Guru’s Tip

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

  • Case

    Thermaltake H17

    $52
    The H17 offers plenty of features plus a sleek style at a bargain price. With venting in front and on top and a 120mm exhaust fan, you get performance and looks, plus the three USB ports up front provide more convenience than typical budget cases!
    The Guru’s Tip

    Low-cost cases sell out quickly as manufacturers prefer to focus on higher-priced models. So grab this if you can!

  • Power Supply

    Thermaltake Smart 430W 80+

    $30
    With 430W of power on tap, 80% efficiency at load, and a 5-year warranty, this power supply offers exceptional value and plenty of headroom for this system!
    The Guru’s Tip

    This is an exceptional deal coming from a major, trusted manufacturer!

  • Operating System

    Windows 11 Home USB

    $139
    Windows 11 take everything people loved about Windows 10, and then takes it to 11! It adds significant under-the-hood changes to make it faster and more secure, and of course, the interface is sleek too!
    The Guru’s Tip

    Windows 11 took a while to arrive at retail after launching as an update for existing users, but now that it's here, it's what you want on your new system!

Optional Products

  • Hard Drive

    Seagate BarraCuda 2TB

    $48
    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.

  • Video Card

    EVGA GeForce GTX 1650 Super 4GB SC Ultra

    $200
    This powerful and efficient GPU offers 4GB of fast GDDR6 VRAM and an ample cooler to keep noise and temps down, making it perfect regardless of how much you push it!
    The Guru’s Tip

    Equip your office system to game with this compact yet powerful graphics card - it will fit perfectly in this system!

  • The Basic Wireless Keyboard/Mouse Combo

    Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo

    $28
    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!

  • The 24-inch Small Office Monitor

    Sceptre E248W-19203R

    $111
    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 PC Speakers

    Creative Pebble 2.0

    $19
    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 these, you'll use a 3.5mm cable for audio and USB for power, both to your PC. No connection to the wall required!

  • Webcam

    Logitech C920x Pro HD Webcam

    $70
    Need to use your PC for video conferencing? No problem! Just add this high-quality 1080p webcam from Logitech, which includes a built-in microphone. Just remember that if your monitor doesn’t have built-in speakers, you’ll also need stand-alone speakers for web conferencing to work. We’re amazed at the number of people who use headphones for video conferencing when it’s so much more professional to use gear attached to your PC, rather than your head!
    The Guru’s Tip

    We advise you not to buy any Logitech webcams from third-party sellers. They are likely to be used or counterfeit.

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