Best $500 mini-itx home office pc build

If you want to build the best ultra-compact small office or work-from-home PC possible for just $500, this is the guide for you! Based on the mini-ITX form factor, it packs in everything you need, and nothing you don't. This ensures that your new PC Build can be tucked away anywhere or put on display as a conversation starter!

For November 2020, the $500 Home Office Mini-ITX PC Build features Intel's budget-friendly Pentium Gold G6400, a dual-core, four-thread CPU that runs at an impressive 4GHz. It uses the latest Socket 1200 standard, and despite its low price, it also has built-in graphics. To ensure that you have a flawless computing experience, this system features 16GB of DDR4 RAM, up from the 8GB used in previous builds, along with a 512GB PCIe-based solid-state drive, up from 256GB in past builds. This drive uses the M.2 form factor, which slips right into the motherboard, minimizing cable clutter and providing tremendous responsiveness. The system is housed in the ultra-stylish and compact In-Win Chopin case, which includes a 150W power supply, and can even fit dual 2TB hard drives, listed in the optional upgrades section at the end of this guide. To set up a complete home office system, don't miss our recommendations for a keyboard, mouse, and monitor at the end of this guide.

You can browse the various past versions by flipping flip to The $500 Home Office Mini-ITX PC Build Archive. As always, please keep in mind that your use of the links we provide below helps support further development of these guides.

The $500 Home Office Mini-ITX PC Build - December 2020

  • CPU:

    Intel Pentium Gold G6400

    The brand-new Pentium Gold G6400 is the best CPU available at its price point. It offers two cores, four threads, and a speed of 4GHz, plus a onboard graphics. It even includes a CPU cooler in the box, which will fit perfectly in this system.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This CPU uses Intel's latest Socket 1200 standard, meaning you can use the newest motherboards, providing a great upgrade path. Just make sure you don't mistakenly buy a Socket 1151 board.

  • Motherboard:

    ASRock B460M-ITX/ac @Newegg

    This board is the perfect backbone for a compact system. It offers both HDMI and DisplayPort video outputs for the built-in graphics, along with four USB ports. It also has a full-length M.2 slot, which you'll be using for this system's solid-state drive. Finally, it packs in WiFi and Bluetooth, making it a true all-in-one solution.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Triple check that you are buying a socket 1200 motherboard before you choose any ITX model other than the one we recommend. 

  • Memory:

    Corsair 2x8GB Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 @Newegg

    For this build, we recommend this economical DDR4-2666 kit, and specifically 16GB, which will provide plenty of capacity for any task.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Given that many apps today require at least 8GB, and the built-in graphics chip will reserve some of the RAM for its own use, we cannot recommend a cheaper 2x4GB setup for this system.

  • Solid-State Drive:

    XPG SX8200 Pro 512GB NVMe

    There's no better way to make a PC feel really fast than to equip it with a fast solid-state drive, and this PCIe-based model blows away the competition in terms of performance per dollar. Better yet, thanks to big price drops, we can now equip this tiny build with a 512GB drive, up from 256GB, which will be more than sufficient for most users for years to come.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Of course, you can always go with the 1TB version of this drive listed on the same product page.

  • Case:

    InWin Chopin with 150W Power Supply

    This is our all-time favorite low-cost mini-ITX case! It features a built-in 150W power supply, plus space for dual 2.5" drives and a CPU cooler up to 47mm tall (which is what this build's CPU includes). And the aluminum exterior gives it a seriously-premium look!

    The Guru's Tip:

    The 150W power supply allows you to upgrade over time to higher-powered CPUs. The Pentium CPU we recommend will use quite a bit less than 100W at load.

  • Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 on USB @Newegg

    Windows 10 was released way back in July 2015, yet Microsoft is adding new features to it all the time, with complete OS updates every spring and fall. It's a truly stable, powerful OS, and one that will go down in history as a true success story, much like the pioneering Windows 95.

    The Guru's Tip:

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

Optional Components

  • Hard Drive:

    WD Blue WD20SPZX 2TB 2.5"

    Want to turn this tiny system into a home server? No problem - just add this high-capacity 2TB hard drive to your build!

    The Guru's Tip:

    You can of course also use this system's 2.5" bays for SSDs, and a great choice is the Crucial MX500 1TB - it will be a whole lot faster than a hard drive!

  • The Basic Wireless Keyboard/Mouse Combo:

    Logitech Wireless Combo MK270

    Complete your system with this incredibly-economical wireless keyboard and mouse system from Logitech!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This combo uses a single tiny USB receiver, ensuring you'll still have plenty of USB ports left over for other devices.

  • The 24-inch General-Purpose Monitor:

    Sceptre E248W-19203R

    Offering mind-blowing value in the mid-range segment, this monitor packs in all the features you've come to expect from $150+ monitors, but for a lot less money. That includes a high-quality 24" panel with a 75Hz refresh rate, a 1920 x 1080 resolution, and built-in speakers. 

    The Guru's Tip:

    This model can accept HDMI or VGA inputs, but not the common DVI input.