The Best $1,000 eSports Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build – September 2021
The Super-Slim Powerhouse!
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!
This Month’s Build, Powered by Intel and Nvidia
For September 2021, the $1,000 Slim Mini-ITX Build features Intel’s Core i3-10100F, a four-core, 8-thread CPU that boosts to 4.3GHz and offers tremendous gaming performance for the price. We’re recommending you pair it with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 4GB video card for this build, which is plenty fast for any eSports title.
In terms of storage, this build gets an ultra-fast 500GB PCIe-based solid-state drive, along with 16GB of DDR4-2666 RAM. Once you have all your new gear in hand, you’ll be installing it in the easily portable SilverStone RVZ02 chassis, and powering it up with a 450W Gold-rated power supply. You can learn more about this build and ask any and all questions in our YouTube assembly guide featuring the nearly identical ML08 case.
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 Slim Gaming/HTPC –
Zotac MEK1 9400F/RTX 2060$1300
Want to jump into small form factor gaming but don’t want to build your own? Well, Zotac has the answer for you with its stylish MEK1. Powered by an Intel Core i5-9400F six-core CPU and the potent Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060, this system has serious gaming chops. Also onboard are 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 240GB NVMe solid-state drive, and a 1TB hard drive. Zotac also packs in perks like 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, dual Gigabit LAN, and full RGB lighting.The Guru’s Tip
This powerful system is a bit above the budget we set for this guide's DIY build, but it's actually an incredible bargain thanks to the much more powerful GPU... so grab one if you can!
The DIY Build
Intel Core i3-10100F$102 The Guru’s Tip
This CPU includes a cooler that is more than adequate, but if you'd like lower noise levels, go for the optional model listed later in this guide.
ASRock B460M-ITX/AC$147 The Guru’s Tip
All ITX boards are in short supply, so if you see this in stock, grab it.
Video Card –
Zotac GeForce GTX 1650 OC 4GB$300 The Guru’s Tip
In all likelihood, this GPU will be sold out when you're ready to buy, so just prepared to use an old GPU or backorder this one.
Crucial 2x8GB Ballistix DDR4-2666$80 The Guru’s Tip
ITX systems only have two RAM slots, so if you have a specific need for 32GB, you may want to go with a 2x16GB kit now, which you'll find on the same product page.
Solid-State Drive –
Samsung 980 500GB$60 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 RVZ02B$110 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 –
EVGA Supernova 450GM$70 The Guru’s Tip
This system will draw around 225W at load, putting it right in the sweet spot of this PSU!
Operating System –
Windows 10 Home USB Flash Drive$130 The Guru’s Tip
Windows 11 is launching in late-2021 and will be a free upgrade for all owners of W10!
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$38 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 Budget Wireless PC Headset –
SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless$80 The Guru’s Tip
This headset is as stylish as it is functional!
The 24-inch 144Hz Gaming Monitor –
Acer XFA240$190 The Guru’s Tip
Once you've experienced a frame-synced image, you'll never want anything else!
Total Cost: $999
The DIY Build
- CPU – Intel Core i3-10100F ($102)
- Motherboard – ASRock B460M-ITX/AC ($147)
- Video Card – Zotac GeForce GTX 1650 OC 4GB ($300)
- Memory – Crucial 2x8GB Ballistix DDR4-2666 ($80)
- Solid-State Drive – Samsung 980 500GB ($60)
- Case – SilverStone RVZ02B ($110)
- Power Supply – EVGA Supernova 450GM ($70)
- Operating System – Windows 10 Home USB Flash Drive ($130)
- Low-Profile CPU Cooler – Scythe Shuriken 2 ($40)
- The Budget Gaming Keyboard – Logitech G213 Gaming Keyboard ($47)
- The Pro Gaming Mouse – Razer Basilisk X HyperSpeed Wireless ($38)
- The Budget Wireless PC Headset – SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless ($80)
- The 24-inch 144Hz Gaming Monitor – Acer XFA240 ($190)