The Best $500 Home Office PC Build – October 2021

By Ari Altman | Published September 28, 2021 | Updated September 28, 2021

Rosewill FBM-X1Maximum Office Productivity for the Minimum Price!

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!

This Month’s Build, Powered by Intel

For October 2021, the $500 Home Office PC Build features Intel’s Core i3-10105 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 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.

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

    $550
    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 i3-10105

    $174
    While AMD ruled the budget sector for a while, Intel now owns it with the Core i3-10105, 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

    Gigabyte B460M DS3H v2

    $87
    This board is the perfect choice for a low-cost build. With four PCIe slots, five USB ports, four RAM slots, and four 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.

  • Memory

    Silicon Power 2x8GB DDR4 2666 Grey

    $54
    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 SN550 500GB NVMe

    $50

    Experience blazing-fast drive performance at a bargain price with WD’s Blue SN550 500GB solid-state drive. Utilizing the PCIe-interface and the NVMe protocol, it can achieve sequential speeds of up to 2,400MB/s, making it nearly five times faster than any SATA-based SSD, and orders of magnitude faster than a hard drive! To install this drive, affix it in the motherboard’s M.2 slot using a jeweler’s-type screwdriver.

    The Guru’s Tip

    Given that most 256GB drives cost the same or more than this one, it's an easy choice to go for 512GB!

  • Case

    Rosewill FBM-X1

    $31

    This compact, stylish case is an unbeatable value. It comes with a 120mm fan in front and an 80mm fan in the rear for great airflow, and is equipped with dual USB 2.0 plus dual USB 3.0 ports in front, along with audio in/out ports. Finally, the windowed side panel provides a nice view of the components inside.

    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!

  • Power Supply

    EVGA 450 BR

    $30
    With 450W of power and Bronze-rated efficiency, this is a great power supply for this build. Plus, this model offers unmatched quality at its pricepoint, and its backed up by EVGA’s industry-leading customer support. If anything ever goes wrong, they’ll have your back!
    The Guru’s Tip

    This is truly an amazing value!

  • 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

    Windows 11 is launching this year, and will be a free upgrade for all owners of Win10!

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!

  • 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 24-inch Small Office Monitor

    Sceptre E248W-19203R

    $140

    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

    $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

    $74
    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!

Pin It on Pinterest