Fractal

This system is designed for gamers who want a compact system but aren't willing to sacrifice performance to get iit. This box has all the power of our $2,000 Premium ATX Build 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 May 2019, this build continues to feature Intel's most powerful mainstream processor, the amazing Core i9-9900K. It's an eight-core, 16-thread beast that can easily be overclocked to 5GHz using the potent liquid cooler that we recommend for this build. It's backing up Nvidia's ultra-fast GeForce RTX 2080 8GB video card, which can easily drive any 4K or VR title. Also on the build list is 16GB of high-speed RAM, an ultra-fast 1TB PCIe-based solid-state drive, and a compact 650W Gold-rated power supply. Topping it all off is one of our favorite ITX cases, the Fractal Design Core 500. At just 20 liters, it's truly compact, yet can fit practically any gaming gear you can think of.

For help building this system, check out our hands-on assembly guide. And 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. To support continued development of these guides, please use the purchase links we provide when you're ready to buy your ITX machine!

The $2,000 Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC - May 2019

    CPU:

    Intel Core i9-9900K

    The Intel Core i9-9900K is an eight-core, 16-thread CPU with more than enough power to push modern games to maximum framerates. It can boost up to 5GHz on a single core out of the box, and with the cooler we recommend in this guide will easily run at 5GHz on all cores with some simple overclocking!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This CPU has been selling out on a regular basis, and when it's out of stock for more than a few days at Amazon, we will switch our product links to B&H Photo Video.

    Motherboard:

    Gigabyte Z390 I AORUS Pro WiFi

    This great board features dual M.2 slots (one in front, one underneath), built-in 802.11ac wireless networking with Bluetooth, and six USB ports, including a Type-C port.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Remember, you really do want to stick with a Z390 board for the 9900K processor. While Z370 boards can potentally support it, they likely won't have the proper firmware out of the box.

    Video Card:

    EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 XC Gaming 8GB

    For this build, we recommend the ultra-fast RTX 2080 8GB, which has more than enough power to run any game even at 4K, and has built-in ray tracing cores to enable next-gen effects in upcoming games! This model adds to the fun with a big factory overclock and an advanced cooling system that still comes in at the compact 10.6" reference length, allowing more room for cable management.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that we've specifically selected a model with a dual-slot, rather than triple-slot cooler, because thicker coolers won't fit in the ITX case used for this build.

    Memory:

    Corsair 2x8GB Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 Black

    To get the most out of this system, you want high frequency DDR4, and we recommend this high-speed DDR4-3200 kit in a 2x8GB configuration, which hits the sweet spot in terms of price and performance. It will help eliminate any bottlenecks in getting data to your CPU.

    The Guru's Tip:

    We go with a non-RGB kit here since you won't be able to see the interior once the system is buttoned up. Low-profile RAM like this kit also makes CPU cooler installation easier.

    Solid-State Drive:

    XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB NVMe

    A massive price war in the SSD market has led to a huge price drop on SSDs, and the SX8200 Pro is the very fastest drive you can find for under $200. Using the PCIe interface to full effect, it easily beats every SATA drive ever released, even those that fall into its price range.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This M.2 drive will slot right into the motherboard - no cables required!

    Case:

    Fractal Design Core 500

    This awesome 20-liter case from Fractal Design may be small, but that doesn't mean it doesn't bring a whole lot of performance and style to the table. It has a silent 140mm fan, plus plenty of space for high-end gear, like the powerful CPU cooler and graphics card used in this system. And to get you off on the right foot, we've put together a full assembly guide for this case right here!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that due to the use of a liquid CPU cooler in this build, we strongly recommend you flip the orientation of the rear fan from the stock exhaust setup to an intake. That will feed cooling air directly into the CPU's radiator, while also helping push hot air from the video card out the top of the case.

    Power Supply:

    Seasonic SSR-650FX

    There's no better power supply for this build than this 650W unit. It's fully-modular, which means you'll only use the cables you need, and at 140mm long, it's the most compact ATX unit on the market. It of course offers Gold-rated efficiency (which means 90% at 50% load), and is backed by an incredible warranty.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While the case we recommend is spec'd to fit much larger PSUs, in practice, it can't. Learn why in our hands-on builder's guide!

    CPU Cooler:

    Corsair Hydro Series H60 2018

    Keeping a hot-clocked CPU cool in a compact case is always a challenge, but this awesome liquid cooler from Corsair delivers the performance you crave. It offers massive cooling capacity, equal to the largest air coolers on the market, but packed into a sleek, attractive format. Learn more about it in our hands-on review!

    The Guru's Tip:

    If you're more interested in silence than all-out performance, we recommend you go for the Noctua NH-U14S air cooler. It will perform nearly as well, while being a lot quieter than the H60.

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

Optional Components

    The Ultimate Gaming Keyboard:

    Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 Rapidfire Low Profile

    This is the very best gaming keyboard on the market, bar none, thanks to its use of the brand-new, Corsair-exclusive Cherry MX Speed Low Profile switches.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Learn more in our hands-on review of this awesome keyboard.

    The Ultimate Wireless Gaming Mouse:

    Logitech G703 Lightspeed

    Need a great gaming mouse? Look no further than this wireless model from Logitech, which offers performance that beats most wired mice! Read our full review here!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Make this mouse even better with Logitech's Powerplay charging mat, which will allow you to use without ever plugging in to charge!

    The Gamer's Dream Monitor:

    Acer XB271HU

    Pair your new gaming PC with a high-refresh rate G-Sync monitor for unmatched smoothness. This big 27" model features a 2560 x 1440 IPS panel that operates at up to 165Hz for stutter-free performance.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Thanks to its Nvidia  G-Sync capability, this monitor will sync its refresh rate to the frames per second generated by your Nvidia GeForce video card, offering ultra-smooth gaming no matter how intense the action gets!