The Best $2,000 ITX Gaming PC Build

This system is designed for gamers who want a compact system but aren't willing to sacrifice performance to get it. The $2,000 Ultimate Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build has all the power of a full-blown desktop gaming PC, packed into a compact, stylish case that's dwarfed by standard towers. Amazingly, there's no price premium to pay to get such a unique PC, making this PC a pretty good value too.

For December 2020, the $2,000 Ultimate Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build features Intel's awesome Core i7-10700K processor, which offers 8 cores, 16 threads, and the ability to clock all the way to 5GHz. Shockingly, it offers far more performance per dollar than anything AMD has on offer. Of course, you also need plenty of GPU power to get through the latest games, and that comes courtesy of Nvidia's recently-released GeForce RTX 3080 10GB, which was soft launched on September 17th. It blows by the previous king-of-the-hill, the RTX 2080 Ti, but for now, we recommend you get an older EVGA GPU as a placeholder, and register for a Step-Up to the 3080 via the EVGA website. It's a no-stress solution, allowing you to game today while everyone else mashes F5 for the rest of the year! But perhaps just as important as all this firepower is the new case, which truly defines this build. The Cooler Master NR200 brings high-end capabilities down to a compact size and a very reasonable price. With competitors only available from boutique manufacturers at twice the price, the NR200 stands alone. Inside, you'll be installing 16GB of fast DDR4-3600 RAM, a speedy 1TB PCIe-based solid-state drive, and our favorite cooler of all time, the Scythe Fuma 2. Keeping the system running is a compact 650W Gold-rated SFX power supply, which will have more than enough power for all the gear in this build.

To see past month's builds, just flip over to The Archive, and to see recommended accessories for this build, just scroll down to the bottom of this guide.

Throughout this guide, you'll see direct links to Amazon or Newegg for US readers, and Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, and Amazon Germany for readers in our regions. To support continued development of these guides, please use these links when you're ready to buy your ITX machine!

The $2,000 Ultimate Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build - December 2020

  • CPU:

    Intel Core i7 10700K @Newegg

    Coming in $100 below the price of last-gen's Core i9-9900K, the Core i7-10700K offers eight cores and 16 threads that can run above 5GHz, making it a true dream gamer's dream chip!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Remember, you need a new Z490 motherboard for this CPU - it will not even fit in older motherboards!

  • Motherboard:

    Gigabyte Z490I Aorus Ultra @Newegg

    This board has all the features you need for a high-end build, despite its reasonable pricepoint. It offers dual M.2 slots, built-in 802.11ax (WiFi 6) networking, 2.5Gbps LAN, and eight USB ports (including Type-C). And of course it supports overclocking of both the CPU and RAM, with a robust 90A power stage.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Make sure you don't buy an older Z390 motherboard - it will not support the socket 1200 processor used in this build!

  • Video Card:

    EVGA GeForce GT 1030 (Temporary Card)

    CRITICAL UPDATE: While Nvidia "launched" the well-reviewed RTX 3080 10GB video card for on Sept. 17th, it hasn't actually been available at retail since then. Given that we have no idea when Nvidia will actually deliver these GPUs in quantity, we suggest you take advantage of EVGA's generous 90-Day Step-Up program, allowing you to buy an older EVGA card now, and then immediately register it for a trade in to the $800 RTX 3080 FTW3 Ultra when it becomes available (we've factored the price into the budget). It really is a win-win for you: EVGA will give you the full retail value of the card when you trade it in for an RTX 3080, and you won't have to go without a system between now and when the 3080 ships! Alternatively, you can just use the onboard Intel video, although that won't get you any closer to having an RTX 3080 in your hands!

    The Guru's Tip:

    The 90-day Step-Up Program is open to residents of the US, Canada, and the EU. Just remember to register your card with EVGA within 14 days to qualify for the Step Up!

  • Memory:

    Patriot 2x8GB Viper Steel DDR4-3600 17-19-19 @Newegg

    To get the most out of your $2,000 Ultimate Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build, you want 16GB of RAM, and this kit comes in at a great price. And with a combination of serious speed (3600MHz) and serious timings (17-19-19), this isn't just a slow 3200 kit rebranded to sell at a higher price, it's the real deal!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Watch out for 3600 kits with CL18 timings... many are 18-22-22, making them pretty slow.

  • Solid-State Drive:

    XPG Gammix S11 1TB @Newegg

    For the $2,000 Ultimate Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build, we recommend the very fast Gammix S11 1TB, a PCIe 3.0 drive that offers read speeds of up to 3,500MB/s. It's the best drive available under $200! Note that Amazon often runs coupon deals on this drive, so look for one when you visit the product page!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that you'll need a jeweler's-type screwdriver to install this into the motherboard's bottom-mounted M.2 slot.

  • Case:

    Cooler Master NR200

    This amazing case is one of a kind. Coming in at 18 liters, it has space for just about every component you could imagine, and looks fantastic too! Just note that availability is extremely limited, and as of our latest update, it's only shipping in the US and Canada.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that Cooler Master also sells a more expensive "NR200P", which we strongly discourage you from buying. It has a tempered glass panel that not only cuts down on airflow tremendously, it also cuts into interior space, meaning you cannot use the CPU cooler we recommend in this guide.

  • Power Supply:

    SilverStone SST-SX650-G

    For the $2,000 Ultimate Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build, you need an SFX-class power supply, and this awesome 650W Gold-rated unit is our top pick. It's incredibly powerful for its size, with more than enough output to handle the ultra-high-end CPU and GPU featured in this build (including 4 PCIe power connectors - a single RTX 3080 can use up to 3 on its own!).

    The Guru's Tip:

    This PSU will have no problem handling any GPU you can install in this system, even the latest RTX 3000 series models!

  • CPU Cooler:

    Scythe Fuma 2

    Keeping a CPU cool in a compact case is always a challenge, but this high-powered slimline cooler from Scythe has what it takes to keep the hot-blooded eight-core CPU in the $2,000 Ultimate Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build cool. It's the highest-performance 120mm cooler on the market, bar none, and we've run the benchmarks to prove it - check them out right here!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This cooler is 155mm tall, which is absolutely the largest cooler you can fit in this build! We realize that this cooler sells out often, but unfortunately, there is no other air cooler we can recommend for this system. Its popularity among users of the NR200 chassis is one of the reasons it's nearly impossible to find in stock!

  • Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 on USB @Newegg

    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 is the USB 3.0 version of W10, which loads in under 5 minutes!

Optional Components

  • The Ultimate Wireless Keyboard:

    Logitech G915 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (Clicky)

    Logitech takes over the high-end keyboard market with its amazing ultra-slim G915, the only wireless, mechanical, RGB keyboard on the market. And it feels as good as it looks!

    The Guru's Tip:

    See our full review right here!

  • The High-End Gaming Mouse:

    Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro SE @Newegg

    We've tested dozens of mice over the years, and we have a new favorite model under the $100 pricepoint: the Dark Core SE from Corsair. With an ultra-high-end 18,000dpi sensor, amazing ergonomics that allows it to conform perfectly to your hand, plus the extreme bandwidth provided by the new Slipstream wireless system, this cordless mouse is a true dream come true. It also has some really trick looking RGB effects, if you're into that!

    The Guru's Tip:

    The SE version of the Dark Core RGB Pro adds Qi charging to its list of features, allowing you to use any Qi charging pad you have to give its battery a boost.

  • The Gamer's Dream Monitor:

    LG 27GL83A-B

    LG has taken the gaming market by storm, upending the race between Acer and Asus by offering superior monitors at lower prices. Using a high-quality IPS 144Hz 1ms panel bolstered by G-Sync, this is the ultimate high-end gaming monitor, despite undercutting those competitors by $100!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This model is significantly better than models with similar specs but which use TN panels.