ML08

Black Friday Special! Save over $100 on this PC now!

If you want the sleekest high-powered ITX gaming system on the planet, this is the guide for you! This build we profile here may be compact, but it can pack in lots of impressive gear. It features a game console-inspired design, but of course allows you to build something far more powerful. The secret sauce is a proprietary PCIe riser system, which can squeeze in even the largest of dual-slot video cards by mounting them on their side - a creative solution to an otherwise vexing problem in slim cases. 

We completely revamped this build just for Black Friday 2017, featuring all the best deals on the best parts. This means you're getting way more for your money than you could all year! Yes, it's a bit over $1,200, but offers much better specs than our previous build. What's on the parts list? How about a Core i7-7700K quad-core processor that boosts to 4.4GHz, a GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, which offers an unmatched balance of performance and efficiency, a fast 525GB solid-state drive and 16GB of DDR4-3000. Finally, among many ITX cases, the SilverStone ML08 is truly the ideal pick for this build, with slim proportions and understated styling perfect for office or home theater use. 

For step-by-step instructions on how to build this system, check out our High-End ITX Assembly Guide. Remember to follow our tips on size limitations we set forth - there are some hard stops when it comes to the parts that can be used in these cases. By the way, to see previous versions of this build, just flip to The Archive. If you still have questions after reviewing this guide, stop by our Reader Forum, and if you decide to build up one of these systems, let us know and we'll add it to The Gallery!

The $1,200 Slim Gaming/HTPC ITX Build - November 2017

    CPU:

    Intel Core i7-7700K

    Black Friday pricing is in effect on this product! For the best performance in a slim PC, you can't do better than the awesome Core i7-7700K. It features four cores that run at an incredible 4.4GHz even under a full load thanks to the aggressive Turbo mode used by this processor.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Catch this deal while you can!

    Motherboard:

    ASRock Z270M-ITX/ac

    This motherboard offers plenty of features for the price. You get a top-mounted M.2 slot, eight USB ports, DisplayPort, dual HDMI ports, and 802.11ac networking built in.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that while this board supports overclocking, you'll be somewhat limited by the slim case's cooling in terms of pushing high voltage through your CPU.

    Video Card:

    Zotac GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Mini

    Black Friday pricing is in effect on this product! Due to its efficiency and effective fan design, the GTX 1060 will work extremely well in a slim PC, offering tremendous performance with very low noise and heat output. And with 6GB of VRAM, it's a great choice for both 1080p and 1440p gaming, and can even hold its own at 4K if you turn down a few quality settings. Of course, it has an HDMI 2.0 output, so you'll get full 4K at a full 60Hz.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The ML08 case we recommend can handle video cards up to 13" long, but extra-tall cards will have trouble fitting.

    Memory:

    Corsair 2x8GB Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000 Black

    Black Friday pricing is in effect on this product! For this build, we're going with DDR4-3000 RAM, which will provide a nice boost to the system's potent Core i7 processor, and is fully supported by this build's motherboard. Plus, the 16GB of capacity you get with this kit is enough for any foreseeable use for years to come!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that prices on DDR4 RAM have gone up dramatically in the past few months, due to a world-wide DRAM chip shortage. We expect prices to continue their climb through mid-2018, so this kit's price isn't going to last for long!

    Solid-State Drive:

    Crucial MX300 525GB

    Black Friday pricing is in effect on this product! Offering amazing performance at a very competitive price, this new drive from Crucial leverages its leading-edge 3D TLC NAND for exceptional performance at a great price.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Crucial has the best reputation for SSD reliability in the industry.

    Case:

    SilverStone ML08B

    Silverstone has done some serious engineering work here, and there's simply nothing else like it on the market today. With the inclusion of a custom-designed riser card allowing the use of any dual-slot video card on the market, we consider this case a true bargain. Learn how to build up your RVZ02 system by reading our step-by-step High-End ITX Assembly Guide.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This case is so slim that it actually has insufficient headroom for AMD's standard Wraith Spire cooler used on most Ryzen CPUs, which is 70mm tall, while you can't use coolers taller than 58mm in this case. Luckily Intel's stock cooler fits just fine.

    Power Supply:

    Corsair SF450

    Using a 92mm fan that runs at lower RPMs and noise levels than previous 80mm-based power supplies, this Gold-rated, fully-modular power PSU may be pint-sized, but it packs in the power. With 450W on tap, plus dual PCIe power cables to support any video card on the market, it's a perfect match for this build. It even runs in zero-RPM fan mode under idle conditions.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Our hands-on Slim ITX builder's guide used the SilverStone SX500-LG SFX-L power supply. We aren't recommending it here for two main reasons: its larger size makes cabling more difficult, and it's actually much louder at idle.

    CPU Cooler:

    SilverStone AR06

    The Core i7-7700K CPU does not include a cooler, so please remember to pick this great low-profile cooler up. You can learn more about the AR06 in our Low-Profile Cooler Shootout, where we named it the best compact cooler available! 

    The Guru's Tip:

    You should install the cooler with the heatpipes facing the top of the motherboard. That's because the motherboard will sit in an upside-down position when this case is vertical, and heatpipes should always face down if possible.

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 Download

    Win 10 is better than Windows 8.1 in every conceivable way. Thank goodness Microsoft listened to critics and came up with an OS that's actually easy to use!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This is the downloadable version of Windows, so you might want to pick up a USB 3.0 thumb drive if you don't have any spares laying around.

Optional Components

    Optical Drive:

    LG GTC0N Slim DVD Drive

    We're moving optical drives to "legacy" status in all of our builds, and most of our SFF systems don't even have room for them. But you actually can install a slim-line optical drive in this build, and this LG drive is your best option if that's your preference. It's high-quality and affordable. 

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that you'll need a slimline SATA adapter (described in detail below) to connect it to your power supply, as it was originally designed for laptops.

    Cable:

    Startech Slim-Line SATA Adapter

    You'll need this adapter to use the slim-line optical drive listed above. That's because the power connector on the drive, designed to interface with a laptop peripheral bay, is much smaller than the SATA power connectors on standard desktop power supplies.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that this adapter also serves as a power cable extender, which makes hooking up multiple drives in the Raven case a lot easier!