Best $2,500 Ultra-Extreme Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build

If you're looking for a no-holds-barred extreme Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build in a sleek, compact chassis, this is the one for you! Our $2,500 Ultra-Extreme Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build might be dwarfed by standard towers, but it can easily keep up with them thanks to its truly extreme components. And amazingly, there is virtually no price premium for getting a system of this caliber down to a portable size, making this PC a pretty good value too.

For January 2021, the $2,500 Ultra-Extreme Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build continues to feature the very best new gear on the planet. First up is the Intel Core i9-10850K, an incredible 10-core, 20-thread CPU that lays down the law when it comes to gaming. There is no better gaming CPU available today! It's supporting the incredible new RTX 3080 10GB GPU from Nvidia, which obliterates previous-gen cards at a surprisingly-reasonable price. The only problem: it hasn't been available at retail since its launch on Sept. 17, 2020, so we recommend a couple of interim solutions later in this guide to hold you over until you can get your hands on one. Also on board is an amazingly-fast 2TB PCI-based solid-state drive, 32GB of high-speed DDR4-3600 RAM, and a massive 240mm liquid CPU cooler, which allows this mini-ITX rig to stay as cool as the big boys! Keeping the PC running is a 700W Platinum-rated power supply, and housing the system is the new SilverStone SG14, which comes in at under 20 liters despite the capacity to hold all this gear, and more importantly, keep it all cool! Learn more about this awesome system and ask all your questions in our YouTube review:

Want to see how this guide has evolved over time? Then check out The Archive! To support continued development of this guide, please use the affiliate links we provide in the guide. Not only do we have links to Amazon or Newegg in the US, we also provide dedicated links to Amazon in Canada, the UK, and Germany.

The $2,500 Ultra-Extreme Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build - January 2021

  • CPU:

    Intel Core i9-10850K @Newegg

    The Intel Core i9-10850K is the best gaming CPU you can buy, and while AMD's Zen 3 processors are competitive, they aren't even remotely available and will cost a whole lot more for similar performance when you can buy them! The 10850K has clockrates that are fine-tuned to provide the best sustained boost possible, meaning its 10 cores and 20 threads will work at optimum efficiency to give you the best framerates possible. That makes it better than the 10900K when under load.

    The Guru's Tip:

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

  • Motherboard:

    Gigabyte Z490I Aorus Ultra @Newegg

    Step up to a new generation of motherboards with this awesome Z490-based ITX model. Featuring the new Socket 1200, it supports new Comet Lake CPUs as well as Rocket Lake models coming in the Spring of 2021. And this board has great features like eight USB ports (including Type-C and a Type-C header), 802.11ax (WiFi 6) wireless networking, dual M.2 PCIe slots, ultra-high-end sound, and 8+1-phase power.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Remember, you cannot use older socket 1151 boards with the latest 10th-Gen Core processors.

  • Video Card:

    EVGA GeForce GT 1030 (Temporary Card)

    As of our latest update, the GPU of choice for this system, the GeForce RTX 3080 10GB, is entirely sold out. In fact, it's been sold out since the moment it was launched on September 17th, with only brief moments (as in seconds) when you could actually find it listed for sale. Save yourself the trouble of mashing F5 all day long and pick up an older GPU from EVGA, and then register it to trade it in for the RTX 3080 using EVGA's awesome 90-day Step Up program. The $800 RTX 3080 FTW3 Ultra is listed for Step Up, so it's literally as easy as registering within 14 days and then getting in queue for that GPU. When it's ready, EVGA will let you know, and you'll send in your old GPU for the new one. That way you can set up your system while everyone else panics! Alternatively, you can just use the onboard graphics of the Intel chip until a suitable GPU arrives in stock, but that could be a long time!

    The Guru's Tip:

    We've factored the price of the FTW3 Ultra into the cost of this full build, but your initial purchase price will be lower. The case we recommend for this system can fit any GPU, including the gargantuan RTX 3080 FTW3 Ultra!

  • Memory:

    Crucial 2x16GB Ballistix DDR4-3600 C16 Red @Newegg

    To get the most out of this system, you want high frequency DDR4, and we recommend this high-speed DDR4-3600 kit in a 2x16GB configuration, which allows you to seriously max out performance and capacity. It will help eliminate any bottlenecks in getting data to your CPU.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This kit offers awesome 16-18-18 timings, which are far better than what you get with most competing 3600 kits, including ones that are much more expensive!

  • Solid-State Drive:

    XPG SX8200 Pro 2TB @Newegg

    With this PCIe-based drive, you can max out the speed of your system, thanks to sequential speeds of up to 3,500MB/s!

    The Guru's Tip:

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

  • Case:

    SilverStone SG14

    This awesome 20-liter case allows you to max out an ITX build while still remaining very compact. It features a modern layout perfect for large video cards and powerful CPU coolers, optimizing not just for fit but for performance. The cooling in this case is exceptional!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Learn more about this triumph of an ITX case in our full review!

  • Power Supply:

    SilverStone SX700-LPT

    This 700W power supply has more than enough capacity to handle anything you can pack in this system. And thanks to its Platinum-rated efficiency and big 120mm fan, it will also stay cool and quiet. Another reason we strongly recommend an SFX-class unit over an ATX unit for this build is that it comes with much shorter cables, which is a much better choice for a compact build. It leads to a whole lot less cables to manage.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Just note that you must use the adapter below to mount this PSU in the case we recommend, as the case only includes standard ATX mounting holes.

  • Adapter:

    SilverStone RL-PP08B Bracket

    This bracket allows you to mount the slim SFX-L power supply above in the case's standard ATX power supply mounting holes.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that the adapter is offset, allowing you to provide more space between the PSU and another heat-generating component, like the video card.

  • CPU Cooler:

    SilverStone PF240-ARGB

    To keep the powerful Core i9-10850K, we recommend nothing less than this 240mm liquid cooler, which will mount to the side of the case and blow hot air out. It will provide exceptional performance and sweet looks!

    The Guru's Tip:

    In a compact case, the ability to dump heat outside the case, rather than get it trapped inside, makes a huge difference. Just one thing to note: you should mount this cooler with the hose outlets at the back of the case. It doesn't look as slick, but we tried it the other way, and trust us, it's just too close to the fans for comfort!

  • 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:

    Windows 10 on USB recently sold out at Amazon, which is likely because Microsoft is preparing its spring update release. You can also get W10 via download - all you need is an 8GB or bigger flash drive to load the image onto.

Optional Components

  • The Ultimate Wireless Keyboard:

    Logitech G915 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (Clicky)

    This is the very best gaming keyboard on the market, bar none, thanks to its use of Logitech's incredible proprietary low-profile switches. It makes for an ultra-slim, ultra-light keyboard, that also happens to be the only wireless mechanical keyboard on the market with RGB lighting!

    The Guru's Tip:

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

  • The Ultimate Wireless Gaming Mouse:

    Razer Basilisk Ultimate HyperSpeed Wireless

    Want the very best gaming mouse on the market? Look no further than this wireless model from Razer, which offers performance that beats all wired mice, thanks to its 20,000dpi sensor and cutting-edge Hyperspeed wireless system!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This mouse offers up to 100 hours of battery life!

  • The High-End Wireless Headset:

    Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless Gaming Headset

    Need a truly premium set of cans? Go for Corsair's awesome Virtuoso wireless headset, which offers better audio and better aesthetics than any other gaming headset on the market! To top it all off, it also has the best mic in the business!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Learn more about the Virtuoso in our full review.

  • The Ultimate 34-inch Widescreen Monitor:

    MSI Optix MPG341CQR

    Pair your new ultimate gaming PC with an ultra-wide high-refresh rate G-Sync-compatible monitor for unmatched smoothness and immersion. This big 34" screen features a 3440x1440 IPS panel that operates at up to 144Hz for stutter-free performance. It also has HDR400 and a 1ms response time.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While 4K monitors get all the press, ultra-wides are where the real technological advancement is.