While this guide recommends the best Mini-ITX gaming PC you can build at an affordable price, we understand not everyone wants to go through the building process. With this in mind, The MSI Trident gaming PC is a great prebuild alternative in the small form factor category. This PC features a powerful i9-9900K CPU and an RTX 2080, taking care of all your gaming needs.
Our best Mini-ITX gaming PC build is for the space-conscious gamer with limited desk space or someone who just loves a clean looking setup. This may be a small form factor system, but the components offer big performance. This custom mini build is capable of 1440p gaming, with some incredible FPS counts thanks to the powerful CPU/GPU combination. So throw out your console, and let's get building this mini gaming rig.
With airflow, cooling, and affordability all improving over recent years, it is finally viable to build a mini-ITX gaming PC without breaking the bank or creating a mini oven. We haven't built this with a budget in mind, but we were aiming to keep this high-end build as cost-effective as possible, without compromising on performance.
Form Factor - While a small form factor PC build isn't everyone's concern, a Mini-ITX gaming PC is a great option for space-conscious gamers or users who are frequently on the move with their system. In the past, it would often be too costly and not worth the trade-off with limited component options suited to fit. Now though with many motherboard manufacturers offering excellent quality ITX boards, the mini build is certainly worth a look.
Performance - As mentioned, this PC is made to be powerful, and this machine's gaming performance alone is of stellar quality. Inside we see one fo the best price to performance CPUs on the market, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X. This multi-threaded CPU comes with 6 cores running at 3.6GHz out of the box and 12 threads. Furthermore, the processor can be overclocked to an impressive 4.4GHz for improved performance. This CPU won't let you down, and it also offers some workstation performance too!
Backing up the CPU is the highly regarded RTX 2080 Super graphics card, which will easily run any AAA game you throw at it in immense detail. This GPU will smash anything in 1080p but impressively has shown to perform well while playing in 1440p, without getting poor FPS counts on those demanding titles.
Reinforcing those strong components, we see a reliable, feature-packed motherboard. This mobo will handle overclocks without a sweat, giving you the reassurance you need to push this system to its full potential. To help boost the overall gaming performance, we have included 16GB of fast (3600MHz) RAM, which works hand in hand with the Ryzen 3rd-gen CPU. Lastly, a generous 1TB M.2 SSD has been included, to store your operating system, applications, and games on, while also saving on space.
AMD Vs. Intel - We wanted to get the absolute most out of this Mini-ITX build, so naturally went for AMD over Intel. This isn't to say Intel would be a bad choice. After all, they offer fantastic single-core performance for gaming and generally have cheaper ITX boards, but AMD's value is undeniable. You are simply getting more for your money with the AMD CPU, and the added benefit of multi-threading with your day to day tasks is always a great addition to any build.
How We Choose The PC Components
Our team has years of experience behind them, building PCs for a range of needs and budgets. All this knowledge, combined with hours of research, user feedback, and onsite benchmarking, is what goes into choosing the best components for our builds.
We look for value for money, how the components perform together, and focus on gamer’s needs to make sure our builds are the best your budget can buy.
We build all these PCs ourselves, in house, so trust us when we say we want to make them as good as possible. We actually use all these builds ourselves day-to-day in the WePC offices.
How We Test
We build each of our selected PCs from scratch to make sure all the parts we recommend work well together, fit into the selected case, and provide the best performance possible for the price range.
Once built, the PC’s are used in the office for everyday work as well as a range of games from light to heavy-duty. While we test, we also run benchmarking tests to see how well our builds perform, all while keeping an eye on the temperature of the components themselves.
We know how much some of our readers enjoy overclocking their PC’s, so we made sure to test that out too. So, you can feel safe knowing that these machines can be pushed beyond their basic capabilities. But, please make sure you know how to overclock before trying to over-task your builds.
The Best Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build Update:
AMD Ryzen 5 3600
Excellent price to performance and great overclocking are just two reasons why this CPU makes it into our Mini-ITX build.
NZXT Kraken X52 AIO Cooler
This AIO cooler from NZXT is the perfect cooling companion, keeping the CPU temps stable, even under a heavy overclock.
EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Super Black Gaming
A top quality RTX GPU, providing a high-quality gaming experience with ease.
EVGA 650W GQ
When it comes to power supplies, EVGA knows what they are doing. You get a PSU that is built to last, reliable, and efficient.
Gigabyte X570 I AORUS Pro WiFi
One of the best mini boards on the market and it supports the fast RAM too.
A superb Mini-ITX case from NZXT, with a spacious interior, excellent mounting options, and beautiful aeasthetics.
Small form factor gaming has never been better, this high-end Mini-ITX build has got you covered and features some of the best components available on the market.
AMD’s Ryzen 5 3600 is one of the most competitively priced CPUs on the market, making this a very popular 3rd-gen CPU. The 3600 features a base clock speed of 3.6GHz straight out of the box with boosting potential up to 4.2GHz. This processor isn’t just a great choice for gaming; with its six cores and 12 threads, you get some workstation performance to thanks to its multi-threaded nature.
We’ve run various benchmarking tests on the Ryzen 3rd gen lineup and found the Ryzen 3600 is the best performing CPU for the price. You can check out our YouTube channel and benchmarking videos here.
With this being a mini form factor build, things tend to heat up inside the case due to restricted airflow. With this in mind, we have selected NZXT’s very own Kraken x52 top prived all the cooling your CPU will need, overclocked or otherwise. This Kraken X52 cooler is the 240mm unit, with two 120mm fans and a very nice looking water pump. This cooler will work in conjunction with the cases fan hub, giving you greater control over your fans and CPU cooler.
A gaming PC is going to need a powerful GPU to start destroying those AAA titles. The RTX 2080 Super is a very powerful graphics card, and this EVGA model will not disappoint. With a base clock speed of 1815Hz and 8GB of memory, this has the specs to deliver.
Rest assured, gaming at 1440 and 1080p is a breeze for this powerful GPU, and the graphical detail you will get from this will impress.
This 16GB kit from Corsair offers more than enough for any computer, regardless of whether you go for AMD or Intel. This memory kit will enhance your gaming experience, streaming, and general computing tasks, as the fast speeds work together well with the multi-threaded CPU. This RAM kit, after being overclocked, is capable of running at 3600MHz, meaning with this speed, you are guaranteed never to be bottlenecked by your RAM.
For storage, we have opted for Samsung’s highly regarded 970 EVO Plus SSD. This M.2 offers lighting quick load times for your operating system, games, and a few applications at an affordable price. This is a high-quality SSD that is built to last, and 1TB of space is more than enough to get you going. With read and write speeds of 3,500MBs and 3,300MBs, respectively, you are not just getting something of high quality but quick too.
Every PC needs a solid power supply to bring efficient power to those components, and that is precisely what you get from this EVGA GQ PSU. This is a 650W model, giving you more than enough power and leaving some headroom for overclocking and future upgrades. A higher wattage than needed will also keep the fan quieter for longer, giving you better acoustic performance. The GQ comes with an 80+ gold rating and is semi-modular, giving you greater control over the cable management.
This mini-ITX build is going to need a reliable motherboard with overclocking capabilities. The Gigabyte Aorus X570-I is loaded full of features to give you more than just a great overclocking board.
This board comes with a direct 8-phase Infineon digital VRM solution and an extended heatsink to keep those thermals down when overclocking. We see WiFi and dual M.2 slots available. Furthermore, this is PCIe 4.0 ready and comes with a handy BIOS flash button too for easy updates. The two DDR4 DIMM sockets support up to 64GB of RAM if you ever decided to upgrade to that amount, and it can, of course, handle the fast speeds put out by the memory we have selected.
Overall a great mini-board and some RGB is the cherry on top.
The H210i comes from a line of successful cases that have barely changed over the years. This is constructed of steel and tempered glass and would look superb on anyone’s desk. Like NZXT’s larger form factor variants, this case is available in a variety of colors, and it is easily one of the nicest looking mini cases on the market.
The case features a handy PSU shroud, removable SSD options, and excellent cable management, all for a reasonable price. Furthermore, this case ca support some very creative water-cooled builds if you ever decided to go full aquatic in the future.
What better way to give your PC build some style than with the NZXT H210i?
Things To Consider
Now we have gone into detail about the components that make up this Mini-ITX build; it's time to consider a few things before making the purchase. We have outlined a few essential factors below that will assist you in making the correct decision.
The majority of builds on WePC are split into a variety of budget categories. Of course, there are a few of our custom builds that don't fit in with our main recommendations, but that doesn't mean a budget wasn't in mind. When putting these parts together, the main goal was to try and keep it around $1500, which for a high-end build such as this, isn't a bad price. The budget was merely a guideline, but it ensured greater thought about what would power this mini machine.
Upgradability & Future-Proofing
This Mini-ITX gaming PC is packed to the rafters with top quality components, but there are a few areas that can certainly be upgraded in the future, depending on your needs. One thing we made sure while making this was to leave you with some of the basic components that will enable you to improve this at a later date. The motherboard was chosen so that you could install a Ryzen 3000 CPU without the need of flashing the BIOS first. Furthermore, the motherboard supports overclocking and can handle the quickest RAM speeds out there.
This is a high-end gaming PC, so overclocking is certainly not a requirement. That being said, it is still nice to have the option to boost your systems overall performance without extra cost. So if you are someone who likes to squeeze every drop of juice out of your gaming PC then don't worry, we have you covered.
The RAM will naturally come at a lower speed as the advertised speed is simply letting you know what speeds you can clock it to. To get your RAM running at its best, you will need to go into the BIOS and XMP the RAM to 3600MHz.
Ease Of Building
Generally speaking, building a Mini-ITX gaming PC can be a greater challenge than your average build. This is due to the limited space for your cabling to go, meaning you are going to have to get creative when going down the ITX route. To combat the increased difficulty of this, we have gone for the NZXT H210i PC case, which, like its bigger siblings, is incredibly easy to build in. For a mini-ITX case, this feels spacious, giving you a bit more room to build in, and it doesn't have a sandwich layout or anything like that you see with other ITX cases, so it's just a regular build - shrunk down. This case fits the 240mm radiator towards the front of the case, and the panel easily comes off to reveal the bracket, so no worries there. You could go for an air cooler or even water-cool in this, but the recommended AIO cooler in this build will do wonders for your CPU temps.
A screwdriver was the only tool required to complete the build, but if you want to ensure you protect your components fully, then invest in anti-static equipment. It is worth noting that the cooler will come with a small tube of thermal pate for you to apply some fresh paste on your CPU. We advise wiping off the old thermal paste and applying a branded type like the ones from our best thermal paste roundup.
The components speak for themselves, and this an unquestionably good gaming PC, but that isn't all. Thanks to this mini PC's AMD multi-threaded processor and fast RAM, this PC can handle its self for some heavy-duty CPU tasks too. So if you need to do a bit of light rendering or 4K playback, then this Mini-ITX build will do a superb job.
The Best Mini-ITX build comes with a case that has aesthetics in mind, the NZXT H210i. Mini builds mostly look superb, but when there is tempered glass involved, it is important to pick the correct components, and cable manage thoroughly. The case features a fan hub that has two lighting channels on it, meaning you can easily add some NZXT HUE lighting to this if needed. The recommended cooler also is compatible with the case and has one of the nicest pump designs on the market. The board features some lighting, and the Corsair RAM is the RGB PRO version, giving you nice little touches of light through the build. You could pimp your build further with the inclusion of RGB fans, RGB strips, and NZXT's underglow lighting.
What Games Can This PC Run?
In this section, we’re going to tell you how this game should be able to run your favorite games.
- Fortnite - This build well exceeds Fortnite’s required specs- 4K60FPS at Max settings shouldn’t be a problem at all.
- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds - Unfortunately, PUBG still needs optimization work...while 4K will be achievable, you will need to turn down some settings to land at 60FPS.
- Monster Hunter: World - At max settings and 4K, this intensive title will push your system to its limits. Expect 30-40 FPS if you don’t turn anything down.
- League of Legends - League of Legends is optimized to run on low-spec PCs, so don’t even worry: 4K60 should be nothing for this PC build.
- Dota 2 - eSports titles in general are well-optimized (they have to be for accessibility purposes), so 4K60 shouldn’t be a problem here.
- Overwatch - Overwatch is a bit more intensive than the other aforementioned eSports titles, 4K60 should still be plenty achievable. You should also consider 1440p @ 144hz.
- Rainbow Six: Siege - At max settings and 4K, you should be able to easily achieve 70+ FPS with this build.
- Warframe - Warframe is pretty well-optimized, so at 4K and max settings you should be able to easily push 120+ FPS.
- Grand Theft Auto V - At 4K and Ultra settings, GTAV should be playable at anywhere from 70-100 FPS with this build.
- Team Fortress 2 - Despite being well over a decade old, Team Fortress 2 is still regularly in Steam’s most-played. Fortunately, the game should still be easily run on this PC setup at 4K and high settings, though if you play competitively you may want to turn some things down if you experience lag spikes.
Prebuilt Mini-ITX Gaming PC
If you are going for a Mini-ITX build, you are most likely an experienced PC builder, as these tend to be on the tricky side. Building a computer in a mid or even full-sized tower can have some people sweating, so we have included a small form factor prebuilt gaming PC. Take any stresses away with this MSI Trident prebuilt gaming PC that is roughly the size of a console.
Operating System & Peripherals
Since the budget only factors in the cost of the important components, we have included this section. Most people already have operating systems and gaming peripherals, but for those that don't, here are our top recommendations.
Note: These will raise the price of the build!
Mouse and Keyboard
Peripherals are crucial for casual and hardcore gamers alike. We have handpicked some of the best gaming hardware out there, to fully maximize your gaming experience.
If you’re prepared to pay the high price Zowie is asking for, you really can’t go wrong with the EC2-B Divina mouse in 2019. Sure they’re minimalistic in design, but they’re still built to an extremely high standard with a matched performance to boot. This is one of the highest-rated gaming mice available with its high-quality sensor and premium feeling switches. This mouse is a top pick for competitive players; you can see how it stacks up against its rivals here in our in-depth mouse guide.
Logitech G Pro Wireless
The Logitech G Pro Wireless isn’t just considered the best wireless gaming mouse available but can hold its own against its wired rivals also. With the G Pro Wireless, you get a well thought out design that includes a comfortable shape and removable side buttons. Pairing its design with arguably the best sensor on the market makes for some seamless gaming experiences. With a weight of only 80 grams, it feels lighter than air, and its high-end performance is matched by its fantastic battery life, a top pick!
For a high-end keyboard, we recommend the Logitech G915 wireless gaming board. This keyboard comes packed full of features and has the top-level build quality we have come to expect from Logitech. Logitech’s Lightspeed technology essentially makes this wireless board perform with even the best-wired keyboards out there. The board comes with three low profile switch options, Tactile, Linear, and Clicky, to suit everyone’s needs. The G915 is easily one of the best gaming keyboards out there at the moment.
SteelSeries QcK Gaming Surface
SteelSeries is well known for producing quality products, most notably the QcK Edge gaming surface. The QcK range from SteelSeries is very popular, and that’s largely down to the quality product and the results it achieves. SteelSeries balance control and speed well with this pad’s high thread count. The pad is one of the best and comes in a variety of sizes, and the base is completely rubber to prevent any slips no matter where your mouse is. This mouse pad is a must-have, but make sure your desk is big enough first! If you would prefer a hard mouse pad, then consider the Corsair MM600 as it offers a dual side, one for control and one for speed! Alternatively, if you are considering the Wireless G Pro from Logitech, then why not pair it with the amazing G Powerplay mouse pad also from Logitech. The G Powerplay mouse pad will enable the ‘endless battery’ from your G pro mouse as it wirelessly charges the device whenever it is switched on!
Razer V2 Mouse Bungee
This Razer bungee is a good purchase for those who want to eliminate cable drag and have a ‘wireless feeling wired mouse’ for gaming. If you have a wired mouse or plan on buying a wired mouse, then we recommend you to get a bungee and stop getting that cable caught on your desk or other peripherals. This is arguably one of the best quality bungees available and has to be considered.
To finish off your Mini-ITX gaming build, you are going to need a gaming monitor that lives up to this small beast’s potential. We have recommended two top-of-the-line monitors to suit different gamer’s needs. We advise going for the Acer Predator gaming monitor as it is the perfect 1440p gaming monitor for this build.
ASUS PG27UQ 27 Inch ROG Swift 4K HDR
ASUS PG27UQ 27″ isn’t just one of the best 4K monitors on the market; it’s one of the best gaming monitors money can buy! Not only does this monitor give true 4K resolution in full HDR, but it does this at a staggering 144hz refresh rate and a minuscule 4ms response time. This G-Sync monitor is the perfect collaboration between performance and is a top monitor pick for any gamer.
The ultimate monitor to go with the king of builds.
Acer Predator XB271HU bmiprz 27"
If the first monitor pick is a little out of your budget for a gaming monitor, then consider the Acer Predator XB271HU bmiprz 27″. This 1440p resolution monitor has an IPS display just like the more expensive Asus monitor and also boasts a refresh rate of 144Hz. This monitor can be overclocked to 165Hz depending on your preference, and it’s G-Sync compatible, which makes it a great anti screen tearing option.
If you’d like a monitor with the fastest refresh rate possible, then check out our Top 240Hz monitors.
VR still isn’t cheap, though. Be prepared to shell out an extra $500 or more for a VR headset! Still wondering what VR to get? Check out our VR headset guide here!
Games and general entertainment are going to require some high-quality sound. We have put together a few top recommendations for headphones and microphones below.
Mackie CR Series 3" Creative Reference Multimedia Monitors
SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless Gaming Headset
We are going to need a top-class pair of headphones with the Mini-ITX build. The SteelSeries Arctis Pro’s are sublime, and they feel built to last. The dual wireless technology provides you with lossless audio for gaming, and they feature a range from 10 to 40,000MHz, giving you stunning realism and clarity.
We’ve opted for the Audio-Technica M30x headphones as they have excellent build quality, superb comfort, and awesome sound output. Solid pair of headphones for audio lovers!
Blue Yeti USB Microphone
Record and stream with excellent sound quality from the Blue Yeti, the ultimate USB Microphone. The Yeti USB mic is ideal for podcasting, YouTube, streaming on Twitch, and music. The Yeti does not require any driver install, you can simply plug it into your computer’s USB port, and you’re ready to go.
For a more budget option, consider the Antlion Audio attachable boom microphone.
MORE: Best Gaming Microphone
Some gamers out there may not want to rely on the motherboard’s built-in Wi-Fi, that’s where an ethernet cable comes in.
High-bandwidth and low-latency applications need ethernet cables to perform at their best, so go ahead and buy an ethernet cable. Wi-Fi can cause your performance, both in-game and on your network, to suffer.
Install OS Via USB
To save yourself money on shipping an OS and buying a disc drive, use any old 4GB+ USB drive you have around the house. (Or grab a cheap one from a friend.)
Invest In Antistatic Equipment
Buy an anti-static wristband, and use it properly. Failing to do so places you and your components at risk of static discharge that can ruin your expensive components, and that’s the last thing you’d want after spending all of this time working toward the best $5000 gaming PC.
An anti-static mat may also help you by providing a safe surface for you to rest your components.
If you’re unsure how to use it, then we can tell you how to use an antistatic wrist strap properly.
Watch Our PC Building Guide
Our very own PC building guide, linked above, will walk you through the PC building process step-by-step. It’s one of our favorites, and as long as you mind your manual alongside it, your building process should go fairly smoothly.
Refer to this, and check our How to Build a Gaming PC guide for a more detailed PC building guide that addresses every newbie’s needs when building a PC - from choosing a build, installing the corresponding drivers, and maintaining the computer through the years.
Getting a great gaming experience out of this Mini-ITX build is easy; after all, it features some of the best gaming components on the market. This is a superb gaming PC for the money, and it will smash through those AAA games without breaking a sweat, while also giving you a solid general computing experience too.
We opted for AMD at the heart of this build purely for its multi-threaded capabilities and price to performance. This processor really rounds the build off well, giving you a mini PC that will stand the test of time.
Have you had a crack at our best Mini-ITX Gaming PC build? How did it go? The team here at WePC would love to see how your build went, so share your experience and pictures over at the WePC community.