Best ITX Gaming PC

Critical Update: if you actually want to get a new PC any time before Summer 2021, you have two options: go for one of the very few pre-built PCs still on the market, or build up a system using the onboard graphics featured on Intel's CPUs.  That's because GPUs are sold out worldwide due to the latest cryptocurrency mining crisis. We present both options in this guide. Based on current estimates, we believe that GPUs will not be available at retail prices until July 2021 at the earliest.

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Are you a gamer who wants extreme gaming capability in a tiny package? Then the $1,500 High-End Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build is for you! This system takes up barely 1/3 the space of a typical gaming desktop while packing in the same performance. That's perfect for gaming on the go or in your living room, making this small form factor PC a great pick to take to the local eSports tournament or for showing off the latest virtual reality title to your friends. In other words, despite its compact size, the $1,500 Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build is a totally legit high-end gaming PC, the equal of big towers that cost the same or more!

For May 2021, this build features the value-packed Intel Core i5-10600K 6-core, 12-thread CPU, which offers more gaming performance per dollar than any other CPU on the market! It also has built-in graphics, which you will definitely need to use for a while. That's because every video card on the market is sold out right now, and this system needs a very specific one, the amazing new EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti XC. Thanks to its compact size, it will slip easily into this tiny PC and yet packs in more power than the last-gen RTX 2080 Super. While it launched in December 2020, we don't believe it will be available in reasonable quantities until Summer 2021 due to its immense popularity among cryptocurrency minders. In the meantime, you can use the built-in video on the Intel CPU to get your system up and running!

Also on the build list is 16GB of speedy DDR4 RAM, along with a quick 1TB PCIe-based solid-state drive, which has made SATA drives obsolete. But the defining component of the $1,500 Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build is the legendary SilverStone SG13 chassis, which has no equal in terms of price or compactness-per-dollar (yeah, we just made that up, but it's real, trust us!). Amazingly, this tiny chassis has room for SilverStone's impressive PF120 liquid cooler, which easily puts all low-profile air coolers to shame, along with a 500W power supply. Want to learn more about this build or ask questions? Then check out our YouTube video walking you through how to build this PC!

We also recommend our favorite accessories for the $1,500 Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build at the end of this guide, including a great keyboard and mouse, so don't forget to scroll down to check those out! Note that in our buyer's guide below, we have dedicated links to Amazon or Newegg for our US readers, and Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, and Amazon Germany for readers in other regions. Your use of these Amazon product links is the only thing that will keep this site going!

The $1,500 High-End Mini-ITX Gaming PC - May 2021

The Pre-Built Option

  • The Ultra-Compact Gamer:

    MSI Trident 3 10700F/RTX 2060 @B&H

    HOT DEAL - GET IT WHILE IT LASTS! With every single video card sold out at retail and unlikely to return until Summer 2021, going with a built PCs is the only way to score a gaming PC today. With this ultra-slim model from MSI, you're getting an Intel Core i7-10700F 8-core, 16-thread CPU, a GTX 2060 6GB video card, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD plus a 1TB hard drive, all for an amazing price!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This system comes in at 7 liters, which is shockingly small!

The Build-Your-Own Option

  • CPU:

    Intel Core i5-10600K

    Intel currently holds the bang-for-the-buck crown with its Core i5-10600K, a six-core, 12-thread CPU with max boost speed of 4.8GHz out of the box and the ability to overclock even further! It also keeps up with AMD's Zen 3 models, while coming in at a lower price with much better availability. Another huge advantage - it has built-in graphics, which AMD chips do not, and as we're going to repeat over and over again in this guide, you simply cannot buy video cards today due to the cryptocurrency mining crisis.

    The Guru's Tip:

    We're intentionally going with an Intel 10th-Gen over an 11th-Gen CPU, as it offers better gaming performance per dollar.

  • Motherboard:

    MSI MEG Z490I Unify

    This board has all the features you need for a high-end build. It offers up an 8-phase, 90-amp power section, dual M.2 slots, built-in 802.11ax (WiFi 6) networking, 2.5Gbps LAN, and six USB ports (including a Thunderbolt 3 Type-C port). It also has the 3-pin ARGB connector you need to control the sweet lighting built into this system's cooler!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Another advantage of going with Intel is that you can use this motherboard's HDMI, Displayport or Thunderbolt outputs for video if you need to hold off on getting a video card, for instance if you find that every single GPU on the planet is sold out!

  • Video Card:

    EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti 8GB XC @EVGA

    CRITICAL UPDATE: After months of waiting, we finally have a next-gen GPU that we can confirm will fit in this system, but you'll have to wait just a bit longer to get it! The EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti 8GB is more powerful than the last-gen RTX 2080 Super for around half the price, and more importantly, is just 8" long and 2 slots wide, meaning it fits perfectly in this system! While it launched in December 2020, we don't expect it to start shipping in quantity until Summer 2021 due to its massive popularity among cryptocurrency miners, so for now, you can build up your system using the graphics output built into the Intel CPU.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Almost every other RTX 3060 Ti on the market is either too long or too wide to fit in this system. Yes, we've considered all the options, and this is your best bet!

  • Memory:

    Crucial 2x8GB Ballistix DDR4-3600 C16 Black

    As with all modern CPU platforms, you need to use DDR4 memory, and to get the most out of it, you want high frequency DDR4. So we go with this awesome 2x8GB DDR4-3600 kit. DDR4-3600 is the sweet spot in terms of price/performance, and this kit has tight 16-18-18 timings to back up the high frequency!

    The Guru's Tip:

    We've skipped over RGB kits for this build, since you won't see the lighting once it's inside the chassis.

  • Solid-State Drive:

    XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB NVMe @Newegg

    By far the best drive at its pricepoint, the SX8200 Pro 1TB will make this system fly! It features high-quality TLC NAND and the ultra-fast PCIe interface, allowing it to blow past similarly-priced SATA drives!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Thanks to this model's sleek M.2 design, it requires no cables, and will literally take up no storage space in the $1,500 Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build. Just note that you'll need a jeweler's-type screwdriver to install it.

  • Case:

    Silverstone SG13 Type-C

    The SG13 is the smallest ITX case available from any major manufacturer, making it the clear choice for the $1,500 Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build. There are smaller "kick-started" cases out there, but they often come with a whole lot of "gotchas." The SG13, on the other hand, is supported by the biggest name in the ITX industry, SilverStone. At under 12 liters, it's truly tiny, but packs a big punch! Learn more about this case in our hands-on build video!

    The Guru's Tip:

    We've linked to the new USB Type-C version of this case, and the motherboard we recommend supports the standard.

  • Power Supply:

    SilverStone SST-SX500-G

    Just because we're using an ITX case that can theoretically fit ATX power supplies doesn't mean we actually want to fill the $1,500 Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build with a big fat box and lots of cables. So we instead recommend this awesome SFX unit. It's fully modular, offers Gold-rated efficiency, and at 500W, has more than enough power to support this system, which will draw under 400W at load.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that you'll need the bracket below to mount this small PSU in the case we recommend.

  • Adapter:

    SilverStone RL-PP08B Bracket

    This nifty little component is what allows you to fit both an SFX power supply and a powerful CPU cooler into the $1,500 Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build. Due to its large offset, it places the power supply all the way at the top of the case, providing far more space for the cooler we spec below!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Remember - SFX power supplies will not work in this build unless you use this adapter!

  • CPU Cooler:

    SilverStone PF120-ARGB

    Keeping a CPU cool in an ultra-compact system like the $1,500 Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build can be a challenge, but this high-powered liquid cooler has what it takes to get the job done. In our testing, a liquid cooler was far superior to any low-profile air cooler, and it's easier to install too! See it installed here!

    The Guru's Tip:

    For best performance, set this up as an intake, with the fan placed between the front panel and the radiator, oriented with the fan frame towards the inside of the case.

  • Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 on USB

    Windows 10 is by far the best OS for gaming, and Microsoft has proven that it's dedicated to improving Windows 10 regularly, with major updates arriving every Spring and Fall. Don't forget to pick up a copy for your $1,500 Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build!

    The Guru's Tip:

    The USB version of Windows often sells out. If you'd prefer, you can get the downloadable version. All you need to install it is an 8GB+ USB 3.0 drive.

Optional Components

  • The Budget Gaming Keyboard:

    Logitech G213 Gaming Keyboard

    Set yourself up right, while saving money at the same time, by going with Logitech's G213 gaming keyboard. It offers plenty of performance and comfort for a bargain price!

    The Guru's Tip:

    You can control the RGB effects of this keyboard using Logitech's GHub software.

  • The Pro Gaming Mouse:

    Razer Basilisk X HyperSpeed Wireless

    Offering cutting-edge performance, there's nothing like the Basilisk X for anywhere near the price. Ultra-sensitive sensor, Razer's awesome HyperSpeed wireless system, and perfect ergonomics. It's a great mouse!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Remember, you're getting a gaming-grade wireless mouse here for the same price as most wired mice!

  • The Budget Wireless PC Headset:

    Corsair HS70 BT

    Offering up plenty of style, convenience, and performance for the price, the HS70 BT headset from Corsair is the perfect companion for this compact PC.

    The Guru's Tip:

    These will even work with your smartphone, thanks to the built-in Bluetooth!

  • The Best 144Hz FreeSync Gaming Monitor:

    Gigabyte M27Q @Newegg

    Need a perfect high-performance monitor to pair with your game box? Then go for Gigabyte's awesome M27Q, which offers up a 27" 2560 x 1440 IPS panel with an insane 1ms response time, a 170Hz refresh rate, and G-Sync compatibility, which allows the monitor's refresh rate to be matched to the GPU's framerate, eliminating tearing and lag.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Gigabyte has recently entered the monitor market, and is really making a splash with its awesome value per dollar!