best small office pc build

Want to build the best work-from-home or small office PC with a budget of just $750? Then this is the guide for you! For April 2021, this system is better than ever, thanks to the huge upgrade provided by Intel's new Core i5-11400 processor. It offers 6 cores and 12 threads, with performance 20% higher than previous-generation CPUs. But even better is the tremendous leap in performance offered by its built-in graphics, which is now twice as fast. That's a critical feature these days, given that you can't possibly by a video card at a reasonable price. Great built-in video is a critical feature that AMD's comparable CPUs lack. That makes the 11400 the perfect match for a high-end home office PC build on a budget! Also onboard are 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a fast 512GB NVMe solid-state drive. Giving this system its sleek profile is the ultra-compact SilverStone ML09 case, our favorite slim case of all time, and providing the power is a quiet 300W Bronze-rated power supply. Despite this system's tiny size (just 7 liters!), it can fit plenty of upgrades, including a low-profile video card (should you ever need to add a gaming-grade model), a Blu-Ray drive, and up to four 2TB hard drives, bringing the total capacity to over 8TB including the SSD! Learn more about this build, which is truly one of our favorites, in our YouTube overview, and then post all your questions in the YT comments section:

To see previous versions of the $750 Home/Small Office PC Build, simply flip to the PC Build Archive. By the way, any PC needs a good set of peripherals to get the most out of it, so definitely scroll down to the end of this guide to see our favorite accessories.

Throughout this guide, we provide direct Amazon or Newegg links for our readers in the US, plus links to Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, and Amazon Germany for other readers, making regional substitutions as necessary. If you decide to purchase any of the products listed below, please use the links provided, which helps support continued development of this guide.

The $750 Home/Small Office PC Build - April 2021

  • CPU:

    Intel Core i5-11400

    There simply is no better CPU under $200 than the new Core i5-11400 six-core, 12-thread processor. One of its huge advantages over AMD is that it has built-in graphics, unlike any of AMD's current six-core CPUs available at retail, which means there's no need to spend money on a video card for typical office PC use. And with this 11th-Gen processor, you're getting the most advanced graphics Intel has ever offered, with performance double that of the previous-gen, and equivalent to video cards costing $100 (if you could find any in stock at this point!).

    The Guru's Tip:

    This CPU includes a 47mm-tall cooler that will fit in this system, but we recommend a much quieter model later in this guide.

  • Motherboard:

    ASRock B560M-ITX/ac @Newegg

    You get a lot for your money with this new B560-based mini-ITX board. It boasts built-in 802.11ac networking, Bluetooth, four USB ports, and an M.2 slot for the modern solid-state drives, like the one we recommend in this guide. And thanks to the 11th-Gen Core CPU we recommend, it also easily supports up to 4K monitors at 60Hz using its DisplayPort or HDMI 2.0 port!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This board can also support next-gen solid-state drives using the PCIe Gen 4 interface, although for this build, we don't recommend spending the extra money on a Gen 4 drive.

  • Memory:

    Crucial 2x8GB Ballistix DDR4-3200 Black

    For this build, we're going with 16GB, which will ensure you never run out of memory. And thanks to the 3200MHz speed of this high-quality kit, you'll also get a bump in performance!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Intel's latest platform allows a maximum speed of 3200MHz, which is why we're going for that speed here. That is a huge bump up from the previous gen, which maxed out at DDR4-2666.

  • Solid-State Drive:

    XPG SX8200 Pro 512GB NVMe

    Get fantastic speed at an amazing price with this 512GB NVMe drive. It features TLC NAND and the cutting-edge PCIe interface for great performance that will make your $750 PC Build feel ultra-responsive.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This drive will fit right into the M.2 slot on the motherboard we recommend, and to make installation easy, you'll want a jeweler's-type screwdriver.

  • Case:

    SilverStone ML09B

    Silverstone has done some serious engineering work here, and there's simply nothing else like it on the market today. Despite its compact dimensions, the ML09 can fit a mini-ITX motherboard, a low-profile dual-slot video card, four 2.5" drives, and an SFX power supply. It's amazing!

    The Guru's Tip:

    To get tips on how to build it up, check out our hands-on review.

  • Power Supply:

    SilverStone SX300

    This ultra-compact, Bronze-rated SFX PSU is a perfect fit for this build, offering just the right amount of output for an efficient build like this one.

    The Guru's Tip:

    SilverStone actually recommends fixed cables, rather than removable cables for the ML09 case, as the single cable output is easier to route around the case's 2.5" drive cage.

  • CPU Cooler:

    Noctua NH-L9x65

    While not strictly required, this cooler will make your PC a whole lot more pleasant to use. The cooler included with the Intel CPU is capable of maintaining a safe operating temperature, but only by running its fan at high speeds. So if your system will be right next to you on your desk, you'll want this upgraded cooler from Noctua.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This cooler measures 65mm tall, which means it will fit perfectly in the case, which has 70mm of clearance. You'll need to remove the pre-installed fan that comes mounted in the case, but the resulting cooling and noise levels will be far superior.

  • Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 on USB @Newegg

    Windows 10 is by far the best OS Microsoft has ever produced, and it's updated ever Spring and Fall with major new feature releases and security enhancements.

    The Guru's Tip:

    If the USB version is ever sold out, you can get the downloadable version from Amazon, which can be installed using any 8GB or larger USB drive.

Optional Components

  • Hard Drive:

    WD Blue WD20SPZX 2TB 2.5"

    If you have a large media collection, you'll want a high-capacity hard drive, and we recommend the latest version of WD's Blue 2TB drive. You can add up to four of these drives to this system, for a total of 8TB of storage!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Given that a lot of HTPC users are switching to streaming content, we no longer view a large hard drive as mandatory, especially in a lower-cost HTPC like this one.

  • The Basic Wireless Keyboard/Mouse Combo:

    Logitech Wireless Combo MK270

    Want a great keyboard and mouse to go with your new PC? Then go for Logitech's MK270. This kit includes both a wireless keyboard and wireless mouse, and the price is unbeatable!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This combo uses a single USB receiver to communicate with both devices, meaning you have plenty more USB ports left over!

  • The 24-inch General-Purpose Monitor:

    BenQ GW2480 24" IPS

    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" IPS panel for great color and viewing angles, a 1920 x 1080 resolution, and built-in speakers.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This model can accept HDMI, DisplayPort, or VGA inputs, but not the older DVI input. Note that only the HDMI input will carry sound to the speakers, so that's what we recommend.

  • Webcam:

    Logitech C925-e Webcam

    If you are going to be using this system for work, you'll want a webcam, and this is the one to get. Logitech has finally been able to restock its popular line of webcams, which means you should bother with the no-name knock-offs that flooded the market.

    The Guru's Tip:

    If you don't have speakers already, you'll need to buy the ones below to use for video conferencing.

  • Bargain Speakers:

    Creative Pebble 2.0

    A perfect set of home office speakers at a nearly unbelieveable price, this is a product we've purchased for our personal use on several PCs!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Despite their name, these are definitely larger than a pebble!

  • Optical Drive:

    UJ-260 Internal Slim Blu-Ray Burner

    Tap into your catalog of DVD and Blu-Ray discs with this slimline Blu-Ray burner, which can read CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Rays, and can write to all of them as well. A few restrictions you'll need to keep in mind though: (1) you have to use the stock Intel cooler, not the upgraded one we list in this guide, (2) the burner takes the place of the case fan, and (3) you have to add the SATA adapter listed below. Note that slim Blu-Ray drives are quickly disappearing from the market, which means we'll soon be pulling this from the build. Optical drives are going the way of the floppy drive, folks!

    The Guru's Tip:

    To play commercial movies, you'll need licensed software, and we recommend Cyberlink PowerDVD 20.

  • Cable:

    CableCreation Slim-Line SATA Adapter

    To connect the Blu-Ray drive, or any slim optical drive, you'll need this adapter, which converts the drive's laptop-style power connector for use with a desktop-class power supply.

    The Guru's Tip:

    These adapters are becoming harder to find in stock, given that the drives they support are also becoming less common. We anticipate that in the near future, they'll be pulled from the market entirely.