The Best $500 Home Office PC Build – January 2022
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!
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$550HOT 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.
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
Intel Core i3-10100$115 The Guru’s Tip
This CPU includes a cooler, so there's no need to purchase an additional one.
MSI B560M PRO WiFi$95 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.
Oloy 2x8GB DDR4 2666 Grey$53 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$55 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!
In Win CJ712 w/ 265W Power Supply$102 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$140 The Guru’s Tip
Windows 11 has launched, and it will be pushed out as a free update to all owners of Win10!
Hard Drive –
Seagate BarraCuda 2TB$55 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$140 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$25 The Guru’s Tip
This combo uses a single tiny USB receiver to connect both peripherals!
Logitech C925-e Webcam$70 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$18 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$35 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.
Total Cost: $545
The DIY Option
- Hard Drive – Seagate BarraCuda 2TB ($55)
- The 24-inch Small Office Monitor – Sceptre E248W-19203R ($140)
- The Basic Wireless Keyboard/Mouse Combo – Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo ($25)
- Webcam – Logitech C925-e Webcam ($70)
- The Basic PC Speakers – Creative Pebble 2.0 ($18)
- Wireless Card – TP-Link Archer T5E AC1200/Bluetooth 4.2 ($35)