SG13

This system is for gamers who don't want to compromise on gaming capability even in a small system. In fact, this system takes up barely 1/3 the space of a typical gaming desktop, despite packing in the same performance. That's perfect for gaming on the go or in your living room, making it 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, this is a totally legit high-end gaming PC, the equal of big towers that cost the same or more!

For September 2019, this build continues to feature the best puring gaming CPU on the planet, Intel's Core i7-9700K eight-core CPU, which can handle any game on the market to with ease. It's feeding the compact yet incredibly-fast AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT, the perfect GPU for high-end 1440p gaming, and the most powerful GPU that can fit in this tiny system. Also on the build list is 16GB of speedy DDR4-3200 RAM, along with the ultra-fast XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB PCIe-based solid-state drive, which has made SATA drives obsolete. Completing the build are some great small form factor components from industry leaders SilverStone, EVGA, be quiet, and Noctua; we turn to SilverStone for its compact SG13 chassis, EVGA for its new SFX-class 550W Gold-rated PSU, be quiet for its Shadow Rock LP cooler, and Noctua for its Redux 120mm case fan. We also recommend our favorite accessories for this build at the end of this guide, including a great wireless keyboard and mouse, so don't forget to scroll down to check those out!

We update this guide every month - feel free to flip over to The Archive to see how this components have changed over time. You can also learn how to build this PC by reading our step-by-step assembly guide, which will show you exactly to build a system in the unique SG13 case. You can even see the latest version in action, as built by one of our loyal readers! And remember that your use of our Amazon product links helps support continued development of this guide!

The $1,500 Ultra-Compact Mini-ITX Gaming PC - September 2019

    CPU:

    Intel Core i7-9700K

    There's simply no better pure gaming CPU available than the 9700K from Intel, especially now that the price has dropped $50! With 8 ultra-fast cores, plus good overclocking headroom, it will power through any game on the market with ease!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This CPU does not come with a cooler, so make sure to use the one we list later in this guide.

    Motherboard:

    Gigabyte Z390 I AORUS Pro WiFi

    This well-priced ITX board gets you tons of features for the price. It includes ultra-high-end audio, 802.11ac wireless networking, six USB ports (including a Type-C port), and dual M.2 slots for high-end SSDs (one on the front, one on the back).

    The Guru's Tip:

    Of course this board supports overclocking of the power-hungry Core i7-9700K, thanks to its robust 6-phase VRM!

    Video Card:

    MSI Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB

    The RX 5700 XT is the perfect match for this tiny system, thanks to its external exhuast  Beating even the previous-gen RTX 2070 at a much lower pricepoint, it is destined to become a price/performance legend!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Most GPUs are actually far too long to fit in this system. They absolutely must be 10.6" or shorter, which is considered reference size. All custom-cooled RX 5700 XT models will be too large for this build, so the reference design is what you want to use.

    Memory:

    Corsair 2x8GB Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 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 DDR4-3200 kit.

    The Guru's Tip:

    A year ago 16GB of high-speed RAM literally cost twice as much!

    Solid-State Drive:

    XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB NVMe

    A massive price war in the SSD market is leading to better values every month, and the SX8200 Pro 1TB is the best drive under $150 - by a long shot! It features TLC NAND and uses 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 this system, leaving space for up to three 2.5" drives. Just note that you'll need a jeweler's-type screwdriver to install it.

    Case:

    Silverstone SG13

    The SG13 is the smallest ITX case available from any major manufacturer. 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 very biggest name in the ITX industry, SilverStone. At under 12 liters, it's truly tiny, but packs a big punch!

    The Guru's Tip:

    We published a full hands-on assembly guide for this case - check it out to get up and running on your build!

    Fan:

    Noctua NF-P12 redux-1300 PWM

    The SG13 case doesn't include a fan, and with the powerful components in this system, we strongly recommend you pick up this excellent noise-optimized fan from Noctua, installing it in the SG13's front fan mount as an intake. It's designed for high-resistance applications, making it a great option for the tight confines of the SG13 case!

    The Guru's Tip:

    While the SG13 case has a mount for a 140mm fan, you can't install a fan larger than 120mm and still have room for a full-sized video card.

    Power Supply:

    EVGA Supernova 550 GM

    Just because we're using an ITX case that can theoretically fit ATX power supplies doesn't mean we actually want to fill this little case 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 550W, has more than enough power to support this system, which will draw just over 300W at load.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that you'll need the bracket below to mount this small PSU in the case we recommend. Also note that it can be installed with the fan up or down, and we recommend you install it with the fan up (facing the exterior of the case).

    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 SG13 case. Due to its large offset, it places the power supply all the way at the top of the case, making room for CPU coolers up to 83mm tall (up from the default 61mm).

    The Guru's Tip:

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

    CPU Cooler:

    be quiet! Shadow Rock LP

    This is the ideal cooler for this system, coming in at just 73mm tall, which will work perfectly as long as you use the PSU and bracket listed above (they provide 83mm of clearance). The Shadow Rock LP is not only very powerful, it's also ultra-quiet.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Due to the US tariffs on China, just about every cooler is going out of stock in the US, since they're all made in China. We are constantly updating this guide to ensure you can get your hands on a cooler that will fit!

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 Flash Drive

    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.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This USB 3.0 version of W10 will install in under 5 minutes!

Optional Components

    The Ultimate HTPC Lapboard:

    Corsair K63 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Lapboard

    Assuming you want to make the most of this system in your Home Theater room, we strongly recommend you pick up the best lapboard on the market, Corsair's K63. Featuring a wireless mechanical keyboard plus a mousing surface, it's truly one of a kind.

    The Guru's Tip:

    You can also buy the K63 wireless mechanical keyboard on its own, should you not need to use it from the couch.

    The Ultimate Wireless Gaming Mouse:

    Logitech G703 Lightspeed

    Hands down the best gaming mouse you can buy for under $100, the G703 is a true gaming-grade wireless mouse, perfect for use on the desktop or from the couch!

    The Guru's Tip:

    See our review of the G703 right here!

    The Bargain 144Hz FreeSync Gaming Monitor:

    Acer XF270HU

    Need a perfect high-performance monitor to pair with your game box? Then go for Acer's XF270HU, which offers up a 27" 2560 x 1440 TN panel, a 144Hz refresh rate, and FreeSync technology, which allows the monitor's refresh rate to be matched to the GPU's framerate, eliminating tearing and lag.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that this model can also be used with Nvidia GeForce cards, making more expensive G-Sync models obsolete. You'll be able to keep the XF270HU through many generations of new GPUs!