Manta

If you want a no-holds-barred extreme PC without the bulk, this system is the one for you! This build has all the power of our $2,500 Extreme 4K ATX Build packed into a compact, stylish case. While it's big compared to most Small Form Factor systems, it's dwarfed by standard towers, despite being able to go toe-to-toe with them. And amazingly, there is no price premium for getting a system of this caliber down to a portable size, making this build a pretty good value too. And in case you're wondering, it can absolutely crush any game available on the leading VR platform, the HTC Vive, making it a perfect companion for a new VR setup!

For April 2017, this build features the powerful Core i7-7700K quad-core CPU, which runs at up to 4.5GHz out of the box, along with the brand-new GTX 1080 Ti 11GB video card, the fastest GPU in the world. To keep everything running at peak levels, this system features a Corsair 240mm liquid CPU cooler to allow maximum 5+ GHz overclocks on the Core i7-7700K, along with 32GB of DDR4-3200 memory, and the rip-roaring duo of a Samsung 960 Evo 500GB as the OS drive and a Crucial MX300 1TB for data. Wrap it up in the top-of-the-line NZXT Manta case, and you have the ultimate ITX gaming machine!

Interested in discussing this build? Then hop over to the Forum to post your thoughts!

The $2,500 Ultra-Extreme Mini-ITX PC - April 2017

    CPU:

    Intel Core i7-7700K

    There's no faster chip for gaming than the brand-new Kaby Lake-based Core i7-7700K. With a 4.2GHz base clock and Hyperthreading on board, it will make quick work of any game you throw at it. It actually operates at 4.4GHz with a quad-core load, and and can be overclocked to a minimum of 5.0GHz using the liquid cooler we recommend later in this guide!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Remember, the 7700K does not come with a cooler in the box, so an aftermarket cooler isn't optional... it's required!

    Motherboard:

    MSI Z270I Gaming Pro Carbon AC

    This board features the new top-of-the-line Realtek ALC1220 audio, a full-length M.2 slot on the rear of the board, Intel wired networking, and 802.11ac wireless networking with Bluetooth. In addition, it offers HDMI, DisplayPort, digital audio out, and six USB ports, including a USB 3.1 Type-C port.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Please be forewarned: the similar Asus Z270I Gaming board will not work properly with this system. Asus removed the USB 2.0 header from its board, which means you can't use the Corsair liquid CPU cooler we recommend.

    Video Card:

    GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB Founders Edition

    With the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, Nvidia is offering Titan X-caliber performance at a much more palatable price. It's easily the biggest video card release since the GTX 1080, which hit the market in May 2016. You want 4K gaming capability? This card will bring it!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that this card, which was released on March 10th, is going to be in high demand for a long time.

    Memory:

    Corsair 2x16GB Vengeance LED DDR4-3200 White

    With the Skylake platform, you need to use DDR4 memory, and to get the most out of it, you want high frequency DDR4. For the Ultimate ITX Gamer, we go with ultra-high speed DDR4-3200 in a 2x16GB configuration.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Like all DDR4 memory, this kit will default to 2133MHz. Enable the XMP profile in the motherboard's UEFI to unleash this kit's full potential. In our recent Gamer's Bench investigation, we found that on Intel's recent platforms, DDR4 speed really does matter!

    Solid-State Drive:

    Samsung 960 Evo 500GB PCIe NVMe M.2

    Step up to next-gen performance with Samsung's awesome 960 Evo. Harnessing the potential of the NVMe protocol and the PCIe interface, it's up to 5x faster than SATA drives, including its predecessor the 850 Evo.

    The Guru's Tip:

    If you want only the best, step up to the new PCIe-based Samsung 960 Pro M.2 drive, which is even faster, especially in sustained I/O activity.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Crucial MX300 1TB

    On data duty, we go with Crucial's well-priced MX300 1TB drive. It's plenty fast to hold all your games or other large files.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This drive has a trick up its sleeve - it's actually a 1050MB drive, but referred to as 1TB for marketing purposes.

    Case:

    NZXT Manta

    This awesome case from NZXT brings unmatched style and function to the ITX arena at an incredible price. No, it's not exactly small for an ITX case, but it is high performance. It comes equipped with dual 120mm fans in front, and a 120mm in the rear, with space for a big radiator on top.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This case is available in a variety of colors, all from the same link provided above.

    Power Supply:

    EVGA Supernova 650 P2

    Just because we're using a slightly larger ITX case for this build doesn't mean we want to fill it full of cables. So we go with the best Platinum-rated power supply on the market, the P2 from EVGA. It's fully-modular model, which you definitely want in an ultra-high-end mini-ITX system. It offers all the quality of more expensive units, but with a size and power rating matching the needs of this machine. 

    The Guru's Tip:

    Given that you'll never be using a second video card in this system, you simply cannot utilize more than about 400W with this build under even extreme circumstances (seriously!). But assuming you want to crank it to 11, we're suggesting a 650W unit, just to play it safe!

    CPU Cooler:

    Corsair Hydro H100i v2 Liquid Cooler

    Keeping a CPU cool in a compact case is always a challenge, but this awesome 240mm-class cooler from Corsair is most definitely up to the task. It will easily keep your CPU temperatures under control while also providing cooling for the rest of the system.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This cooler will connect to the motherboard in two ways: via a USB 2.0 header and a fan header, which provides for both power and control.

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 Flash Drive

    Windows 10 wipes away all the bad memories left behind by Windows 8, improving enormously on the user interface, and bringing with it some important performance tweaks under the hood.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This version of Windows 10, on a USB 3.0 flash drive, will install in just five minutes!