1,250

If you want the sleekest high-powered ITX gaming system on the planet, this is the guide for you! This build we profile here may be compact, but it can pack in lots of impressive gear. It features a slim Raven RVZ02 chassis from SilverStone that allows you to build a system the size of a game console, but with far more power. The secret sauce is a proprietary PCIe riser system, which can squeeze in even the largest of dual-slot video cards by mounting them on their side - a creative solution to an otherwise vexing problem in slim cases. 

For December 2018, this build continues to feature AMD's value-packed Ryzen 5 2600 six-core CPU, which maintains its massive price dominance over Intel's CPUs, which continue going up in price. Thank you, AMD! With the ability to be overclocked to 4GHz and beyond, this 12-thread workhorse is an absolute bargain. On the gaming side, we go for the GeForce GTX 1070 8GB video card, a powerful yet efficent gaming GPU. Also on board is 16GB of DDR4 RAM as well as a fast 1TB solid-state drive. Pack all this gear into the slim SilverStone Raven chassis, power it up with a silent 450W Gold-rated power supply, and you'll be ready for any gaming or HTPC challenge!

To see how this build compares to past months, just flip to The Archive. And for help building your new PC, simply turn to our step-by-step assembly guide!

The $1,250 Slim Mini-ITX Gaming HTPC - December 2018

    CPU:

    AMD Ryzen 5 2600

    As prices rise dramatically on all of Intel's current CPUs, AMD is giving consumers a gift with huge price cuts on its awesome line of Ryzen processors. Thank goodness for competition! AMD is now the only game in town when it comes to a buying a great mid-range processor. We suggest you head straight for the Ryzen 5 2600, a six-core, 12-thread powerhouse that can be easily overclocked to 4GHz with just a bit of tuning, even using the included 55mm-tall cooler included in the box!

    The Guru's Tip:

    At stock settings, this CPU is massively efficient, which makes it a great pick for a small system.

    Motherboard:

    Gigabyte B450 I Aorus Pro WiFi

    This affordable B450-based motherboard is a perfect match for the Ryzen 5 2600. It includes six USB ports, built-in 802.11ac networking, and a slick front-mounted M.2 slot with built-in heatsink. While this board has video ports, you'll be using a video card for video output in this system.

    The Guru's Tip:

    We know some readers are still trying to save a few bucks by going with B350-based boards. Our recommendation: don't do it. There's a chance B350 boards won't have the proper firmware to support a Ryzen 2000-series CPU!

    Video Card:

    MSI GeForce GTX 1070 AERO ITX 8G OC

    The GTX 1070 is the perfect GPU for this build: fast, efficient, and quiet. And thanks to a recent discount, it comes in at an amazing price - this won't last!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that many GTX 1070 models will be too wide to fit in this build, so stick with our recommendation here.

    Memory:

    Ballistix 2x8GB Sport LT DDR4-2666 SR

    For this build, we're going with a generous helping of RAM to make sure you never get bogged down while multi-tasking. 16GB will truly be more than enough for anything you can throw at this system!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that to get this kit to run at its rated speed, make sure to select the enhanced memory profile in the motherboard's UEFI.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Crucial MX500 1TB 2.5"

    Thanks to the huge price war going on in the SSD market, you can now get class-leading speed and massive capacity at a bargain-basement price. This 1TB is now selling for well below what 500GB drives sold for a year ago!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Thanks to this drive using the M.2 form factor, it will slip right into the motherboard, taking up zero space in your case!

    Case:

    Silverstone Raven RVZ02B-W

    Silverstone has done some serious engineering work here, and there's simply nothing else like it on the market today. With the inclusion of a custom-designed riser card allowing the use of any dual-slot video card on the market, we consider this case a true bargain. Learn how to build up your system by reading our step-by-step High-End ITX Assembly Guide, which used this exact case!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This case is so slim that it actually has insufficient headroom for many aftermarket coolers, even of the slim variety. Luckily, the stock 55mm-tall AMD cooler slips right under this case's 58mm CPU cooler limit!

    Power Supply:

    Corsair SF450

    Using a 92mm fan that runs at lower RPMs and noise levels than previous 80mm-based power supplies, this Gold-rated, fully-modular power PSU may be pint-sized, but it packs in the power. With 450W on tap, plus dual PCIe power cables to support any video card on the market, it's a perfect match for this build.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This PSU even shuts down its fan at idle, allowing it to operate in complete silence!

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 Flash Drive

    Win 10 is better than Windows 8.1 in every conceivable way. Thank goodness Microsoft listened to critics and came up with an OS that's actually easy to use!

    The Guru's Tip:

    With Microsoft preparing a new Fall Update to W10, the USB version has sold out at Amazon, so going with a third-party seller on Amazon is your best bet.

Optional Components

    Optical Drive:

    LG GUD0N Slim DVD Drive

    We've moved optical drives to "legacy" status in all of our builds, and most of our SFF systems don't even have room for them. But you actually can install a slim-line optical drive in this build, and this LG drive is your best option if that's your preference. It's high-quality and affordable. 

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that you'll need a slimline SATA adapter (described in detail below) to connect it to your power supply, as it was originally designed for laptops.

    Cable:

    Startech Slim-Line SATA Adapter

    You'll need this adapter to use the slim-line optical drive listed above. That's because the power connector on the drive, designed to interface with a laptop peripheral bay, is much smaller than the SATA power connectors on standard desktop power supplies.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that this adapter also serves as a power cable extender, which makes hooking up multiple drives in the Raven case a lot easier!

    Hard Drive:

    Seagate FireCuda 2TB Hybrid Hard Drive

    If you need more storage for media or a huge game collection, you can't do better than Seagate's Firecuda. It runs quietly, thanks to its moderate 5400RPM rotational speed, and yet outperforms every other 2.5" hard drive due to the 8GB of solid-state cache it has on board.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that this system does not support 3.5" desktop-class hard drives unless you forego putting a video card in the video card bay.