There’s a negative perception about gaming PCs that makes many people hesitant about buying one. Many people believe in the myth that you need to spend $1000 to get a decent gaming PC.

A decade ago this may have been true. However, there has never been a better time to become a PC gamer than now.

Granted, buying a gaming PC isn’t cheap, and the very best do cost over $1000, but if you just want to play a game smoothly, there’s no need to look at the very best. In fact, a sub-$500 gaming PC would get the job done. These days, it isn’t hard to find PC parts for your gaming rig at dirt-cheap prices.

A few years ago, there was no such thing as a budget gaming PC that could run games like Crysis or Skyrim. All that has changed. As PC parts have become cheaper, so has the PC gaming experience. The attitude toward budget PCs is starting to change. Those in the gaming community are starting to embrace the power of sub-$500 rigs and recommend them to new gamers.

With that in mind, going for the cheapest parts comes with some compromises. A sub-$500 machine will NEVER run like a high-end PC. You won’t be able to max out all the settings in some of your favorite games. You won’t be able to play at the highest resolutions in some of your games. You won’t be able to run some games at a solid 60FPS.

But those are all luxuries that don’t drastically improve the game.

Budget PCs are designed so you can play a game smoothly without lag. You may not be able to tweak all the fancy schmancy settings in some games like on high-end computers, but at least the game is playable, right?

So here are some tips to note when building a sub-$500 gaming rig. The motherboard is where all the PC parts fit together. The cost of the motherboard depends on your CPU and whether you want to overclock your CPU. The motherboard has to be compatible with your CPU or else your PC turns into waste. The CPU is the brain of your computer. It’s what determines whether your PC will run like a cheetah or a turtle. The more cores a CPU has, the faster it becomes, and the more expensive it is. Some great budget CPUs are the AMD FX-6300 6 Core Black Edition and the Intel Core i3-4160. Both of these CPUs will offer solid performance for low prices.

Another great tip to follow is spending more on the CPU and less on the graphics card. Typically, if you replace your CPU, you may need to replace your motherboard, which is another headache in its own right. If you spend more on a CPU and less on a graphics card, you’re guaranteeing yourself a CPU that will last you for a solid amount of years. You can always replace your graphics card on the fly.

Speaking of graphics cards, it’s the second most important PC component. It’s what displays an image on your monitor and it handles all the rendering in games. Some great cards that offer stellar performance include the Radeon R7 250X (HD7770) and the GeForce GTX 750 TI.

If building a gaming PC for under $500 seems like a daunting task, don’t worry! Pre-built gaming-PCs exist all over the Internet, such as the CyberpowerPC Gamer Ultra GUA880. The days of spending $1000 on a gaming PC are over. It’s time to give budget PCs the respect they deserve.