ML08

PC usage has been dropping for years, but there's one area that's growing at an amazing rate, and that's e-Sports gaming. After years of publishing guides for building traditional gaming PCs, we've decided to finally put together a guide dedicated to competitive e-Sports gamers. What that means is hitting the sweet spot on portability, price, and performance. This build will give you just that, along with the win in your next competition!

For November 2018, this build runs on the potent Intel Core i5-8400 six-core CPU, which will have no trouble driving any eSports title to maximum framerates. It can boost to 4GHz right out of the box. To push your pixels, we suggest the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, which consistently beats its AMD Radeon competition when it comes to eSports titles. Also included in this build is 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a fast 500GB solid-state drive to make sure your games load up in no time. To keep this system portable, it's based on the mini-ITX format, using a compact single-slot motherboard, ultra-slim SilverStone case (with included carry handle!), and a 450W SFX power supply. Together, these components will provide an unbeatable e-Sports system at the $1,000 pricepoint. By the way, we also have some great budget-friendly accessories listed later in this guide, including our top picks for keyboard, mouse, and 144Hz monitor.

Need help building your rig? Then check out our Step-by-Step Assembly Guide! If this build isn't quite what you're looking for, we have a feeling we have another solution that will for for you, so just flip over to our Introduction to Small Form Factor PCs to learn more about our other compact options.

We use Amazon's real-time pricing engine, so prices in this guide are always up-to-date. We also include local Amazon links for our readers in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany, 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 $1,000 eSports ITX Gaming PC Build - October 2018

    CPU:

    Intel Core i5-8400

    You can't get a better gaming CPU around the $200 pricepoint than the Core i5-8400. It has six cores that can boost to 4GHz, making it unstoppable when it comes to e-Sports gaming. It's a serious powerhouse, and even includes a cooler that will fit perfectly in this system.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Intel's recent production delays have translated to a low stock on all its CPUs, so you may need to backorder this model.

    Motherboard:

    Gigabyte B360N WIFI

    This board is one of the most affordable ITX models on the market, yet comes packed with features. It has six USB ports, dual HDMI ports, dual Ethernet ports, and most importantly, built-in wireless networking. 

    The Guru's Tip:

    You need an Intel-based 300-series motherboard to support the processor used in this build.

    Video Card:

    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Windforce

    The GeForce GTX 1060 is the perfect GPU for this system, offering excellent gaming performance in a compact, efficient package. Because most e-Sports titles don't have ultra-demanding graphics, it doesn't make sense to spend a ton of money on a high-end card.

    The Guru's Tip:

    We'd suggest you stick to the 6GB version of the GTX 1060, as the 3GB model just isn't up to par for gaming.

    Memory:

    Patriot 2x4GB Signature DDR4-2666

    For serious e-Sports gaming, you definitely want 8GB of RAM, but that's not all: it also has to be fast. That's why we go with this 2666MHz kit, the highest speed this system's motherboard will support!

    The Guru's Tip:

    While most eSports titles don't demand that much RAM, if you'll be streaming simultaneously, we recommend you jump up to a 16GB RAM kit.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Western Digital Blue 3D 500GB M.2

    Thanks to massive price drops on SATA-based SSDs, you can now get more solid-state capacity than ever before. So for the data drive in this system, we recommend the Blue 3D 500GB from WD. It will easily hold a big collection of gaming titles.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The last thing you want to do is load last in competition, so don't bother with hard drives for this system!

    Case:

    SilverStone ML08B-H

    The ML08B-H is custom-designed for portability. It's ultra-slim, lightweight, and has a built-in carry handle.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This case doesn't include any fans, but that's what makes it so small. The CPU, GPU, and power supply all have their own fans that get direct access to outside airflow when mounted in this case, so it's as good as if it were wide open!

    Power Supply:

    SilverStone ST45SF-V3

    You need an SFX-class power supply for this build, and our recommendation is this affordable fixed-cable model from Silverstone. Packing in 450W, it will have no trouble powering up this rig.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While SFX-L models can fit in this system, we recommend SFX to make more room for cabling.

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 Flash Drive

    Windows 8.1 was fast, stable, and secure, but it had a user interface that drove most people crazy. Windows 10 built on all the performance improvements of Windows 8.1 while bringing back a functional start menu, similar to Windows 7, but with enhanced functionality. Microsoft also released DirectX 12 alongside its latest operating system, a graphics programming interface that is giving developers new ways to tap into hardware to provide unprecedented levels of image quality.

    The Guru's Tip:

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

Optional Components

    Portable Gaming Keyboard:

    HyperX Alloy FPS Pro Tenkeyless MX Red

    The best eSports keyboard hands down is the Alloy FPS Pro from HyperX. Packing in Cherry MX Red switches, while dropping the number pad for portability, this keyboard offers supreme performance at an affordable price.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Perhaps the best part of this keyboard is the fact that its USB cable is detachable, which makes it far more portable than other models. 

    The Pro Gaming Mouse:

    Logitech G403 Prodigy Gaming Mouse

    Score one of the very best gaming mice on the market at an exceptional price with the G403. Ultra-light at just 90g, this model has a fantastic sensor and a great ergonomic shape for hours of game time.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Want to go wireless? Step up to the Logitech G703!

    The 24-inch 144Hz Gaming Monitor:

    Acer XFA240

    For the price, there's simply no better gaming monitor on the market than the XFA240. Its 24" 1920 x 1080 panel provides a 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms latency to give you lighting-fast reflexes.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While this monitor only supports frame-syncing on Radeon GPUs, it supports 144Hz gaming on any GPU, and that's what you're getting it for. G-Sync monitors cost nearly twice as much.