The Best $1,000 eSports Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build – June 2021
Critical Update: if you actually want to start gaming on a new PC any time before Fall 2021, you have three options: go for one of the very few pre-built PCs still on the market, or build up a system using the onboard graphics featured on Intel’s latest CPUs, or an older GPU that you have on hand. That’s because all new GPUs are sold out worldwide due to the ongoing cryptocurrency mining crisis. We present both pre-built and DIY options in this guide. Based on current estimates, we believe that GPUs will not be available at retail prices until September 2021 at the earliest.
While sales of PCs have been up and down over the past few years, there’s one area that’s growing at an amazing rate, and that’s eSports gaming PCs. What makes a gaming PC an eSports gaming PC? It’s simple: hitting the sweet spot on portability, price, and performance. This build will give you all that, along with the win in your next competition!
For June 2021, the $1,000 Slim Mini-ITX Build features Intel’s Core i5-11400, a six-core, 12-thread CPU that boosts to 4.4GHz offers tremendous performance for the price, along with very capable onboard graphics, which is priceless these days since GPUs are unavailable. Once GPUs restock, we recommend the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB for this build. In terms of storage, this build gets an ultra-fast 500GB PCIe-based solid-state drive, along with 16GB of DDR4-3200 RAM. Once you have all your new gear in hand, you’ll be installing it in the easily portable SilverStone ML08 chassis and powering it up with a 500W Gold-rated power supply. You can learn more about this build and ask any and all questions in our YouTube assembly guide!
We also list some of our very favorite peripherals for gamers looking for maximum performance at a fantastic price. Scroll all the way down to check them out! And 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.
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The Pre-Built Option
The Ultra-Compact Home PC –
MSI Trident 3 10SI-002US$1489Want a positively-tiny gaming system that will look great wherever you put it? Go for MSI’s Trident 3, which is under 9 liters in volume but packs in an Intel Core i5-10400F six-core processor, a GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB video card, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB solid-state drive, plus a 1TB hard drive.
The best part is that this system is tiny, about 2/3 the size of the DIY build we post below, and among the smallest gaming systems in the world!
The DIY Build
Intel Core i5-11400$210 The Guru’s Tip
This CPU includes a cooler, and for this build we recommend you use it.
ASRock H570M-ITX/AC$135 The Guru’s Tip
While you wait on a video card, you'll be able to use this board's HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort outputs to drive any high-resolution monitor.
Video Card –
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB$230 The Guru’s Tip
We anticipate that GPUs will not return to retail until at least September 2021 due to massive supply constraints and unprecedented demand.
Crucial 2x8GB Ballistix DDR4-3200 Black$88 The Guru’s Tip
One of the new features of Intel's 500-series chipsets is the ability to support DDR4-3200 RAM out of the box, which provides a nice speed bump!
Solid-State Drive –
WD Blue SN550 500GB NVMe$55 The Guru’s Tip
Due to this drive's M.2 form factor, it will slip right into the motherboard, taking up zero space in your case, and eliminating typical SATA cable clutter!
SilverStone ML08B$90 The Guru’s Tip
Note that this case has a maximum CPU cooler clearance of 58mm, and that's exactly the height of the optional cooler we recommend later in this guide.
Power Supply –
SilverStone SX500-G$100 The Guru’s Tip
This system will draw around 250W at load, meaning this unit will operate right in its sweet spot for efficiency.
Operating System –
Windows 10 Home USB Flash Drive$130 The Guru’s Tip
Windows updates W10 every six months, adding new features and enhancing security. Note that in the long run, Microsoft is almost certain to move to a yearly subscription plan, but buying a copy today locks in "permanent" ownership!
Low-Profile CPU Cooler –
Scythe Shuriken 2$40 The Guru’s Tip
In order to fit in a system, a cooler not only has to stay below the height limit of the case (which in this build is 58mm), it also has to clear standard-height RAM sticks, and most low-profile coolers don't, but this one does!
The Budget Gaming Keyboard –
Logitech G213 Gaming Keyboard$47 The Guru’s Tip
Note that while we really like wireless mice, we typically recommend wired keyboards unless you're shopping in the ultra-premium market, as wired keyboard don't need to move around much!
The Pro Gaming Mouse –
Razer Basilisk X HyperSpeed Wireless$46 The Guru’s Tip
This mouse is priced like bottom-basement clones, but has the specs to compete with the very best! Don't be fooled into buying the no-name gear for a few dollars less (or more!).
The Deluxe PC Headset –
Corsair HS70 BT$100 The Guru’s Tip
The best part of this headset is the included Bluetooth functionality, allowing this headset to be used with smartphones and tablets in addition to your PC.
The 24-inch 144Hz Gaming Monitor –
Acer XFA240$200 The Guru’s Tip
Once you've experienced a frame-synced image, you'll never want anything else!
Total Cost: $1038
The DIY Build
- CPU – Intel Core i5-11400 ($210)
- Motherboard – ASRock H570M-ITX/AC ($135)
- Video Card – Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB ($230)
- Memory – Crucial 2x8GB Ballistix DDR4-3200 Black ($88)
- Solid-State Drive – WD Blue SN550 500GB NVMe ($55)
- Case – SilverStone ML08B ($90)
- Power Supply – SilverStone SX500-G ($100)
- Operating System – Windows 10 Home USB Flash Drive ($130)