The Best $1500 High-End Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build – October 2021
Due to the ongoing cryptocurrency mining craze, it’s currently impossible to buy video cards at retail prices. You therefore have two options if you want to game now. Either buy a pre-built PC or build up a new PC using a GPU selling for over the retail price. We present both options in this guide. At this point, we do not believe any current GPUs will return to MSRP. It’s more likely that prices will not reset until next-gen GPUs launch in late 2022.
Serious Gaming Power in a Tiny Box!
Are you a gamer who wants extreme gaming capability in a tiny package? Then the $1,500 High-End Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build is for you! This system takes up barely 1/3 the space of a typical gaming desktop while packing in the same performance. That’s perfect for gaming on the go or in your living room, making this small form factor PC a great pick to take to the local eSports tournament or for showing off the latest virtual reality title to your friends. In other words, despite its compact size, the $1,500 Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build is a totally legit high-end gaming PC, the equal of big towers that cost the same or more!
This Month’s Build, Featuring AMD and SilverStone!
For September 2021, this build features the awe-inspiring AMD Ryzen 5 5600X 6-core, 12-thread CPU, which offers exceptional gaming performance at a fantastic price! It will be mounted in a cutting-edge B550-based ITX motherboard with all the bells and whistles. This combo will be supporting the GeForce GTX 1660 6GB, which thanks to its compact size, will slip easily into this tiny PC. It packs plenty of power, and unlike most GPUs, is actually available for purchase (on good days!).
Also on the build list is 16GB of speedy DDR4-3600 RAM, along with a quick 1TB PCIe-based solid-state drive, which has made SATA drives obsolete. But the defining component of the $1,500 Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build is the legendary SilverStone SG13 chassis, which has no equal in terms of price or compactness-per-dollar (yeah, we just made that up, but it’s real, trust us!). Amazingly, this tiny chassis has room for a 500W power supply and SilverStone’s impressive PF120 liquid cooler, which easily puts all low-profile air coolers to shame. We know because we’ve tested it! Want to learn more about this build or ask questions? Then check out our YouTube video walking you through how to build this PC!
We also our favorite accessories for the $1,500 Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build at the end of this guide, including a great keyboard and mouse, so don’t forget to scroll down to check those out! Note that in our buyer’s guide below, we have dedicated links to Amazon or Newegg for our US readers, and the Amazon links will auto-convert for readers in Canada, the UK, and many countries in the EU. Your use of these product links is the only thing that will keep this site going!
The Pre-Built Option
The High-End Mini PC –
ZOTAC Magnus ONE 10400/RTX 3060$1800
HOT DEAL – GRAB IT IF YOU CAN! This pre-built system is simply amazing, not just in terms of performance per dollar but also performance per liter! Coming in at an insanely-small 8 liters, the Magnus One packs an epic punch. It starts with Zotac’s custom-designed GeForce RTX 3060 Mini video card, which only Zotac is able to offer. Then you have an Intel Core i5-10400 6-core, 12-thread processor, along with 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 512GB solid-state drive, and a 1TB hard drive. It’s all running through a custom Zotac mini-ITX motherboard, equipped with the latest enhancements, including Killer AX1650 WiFi 6 , Bluetooth 5, and Killer 2.5Gbps Ethernet. Yeah, you could just call this a Killer box!The Guru’s Tip
The RTX 3060 GPU in this PC, which is unavailable at retail, is nearly 50% faster than the one we spec in the DIY build below. Luckily Zotac manufacturers GeForce cards, so getting them direct from Zotac is no problem!
The DIY Option
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X$310 The Guru’s Tip
This CPU comes with a cooler, and while it would fit in this build, it will run hot. We recommend a liquid cooler later in this guide.
ASRock B550M-ITX/AC$147 The Guru’s Tip
ITX motherboards are always in short supply, so if you see this in stock, don't hesitate to grab it!
Video Card –
Zotac GeForce GTX 1660 6GB$449 The Guru’s Tip
This is the perfect card for this system, thanks to its dual-slot design (the limit of the case), and compact length. Yes, it's selling for above the MSRP right now, but that's better than being completely unavailable, like most GPUs.
Crucial 2x8GB Ballistix DDR4-3600 C16 Black$85 The Guru’s Tip
This kit will make the most of the Zen 3 platform, maximizing the speed of the "Infinity Fabric" for optimal performance.
Solid-State Drive –
XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB NVMe$100 The Guru’s Tip
Thanks to this model's sleek M.2 design, it requires no cables, and will literally take up no space in the $1,500 Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build.
SilverStone SG13$52 The Guru’s Tip
To get the most out of this case, we recommend an optimized configuration using a smaller power supply and adapter bracket, both listed below. This will give you much more room to install a high-performance CPU cooler.
Power Supply –
SilverStone SX500-G$115 The Guru’s Tip
You'll need the adapter below to use this power supply in this build.
SilverStone PP08$15 The Guru’s Tip
You can mount your PSU with the fan facing up or down. Facing the fan down will draw more heat out of the chassis but put a bit more stress on the PSU. We think it's a fair tradeoff.
CPU Cooler –
SilverStone PF120-ARGB$83 The Guru’s Tip
We recommend you mount this cooler with the fan as an intake, right up against the front panel, pushing air in through the radiator. That has the added benefit of allowing you to see its cool ARGB effects!
Operating System –
Windows 10 Home USB Flash Drive$130 The Guru’s Tip
Windows 11 is coming soon, and it will be a free update to all Windows 10 users!
Video Card –
Zotac GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Twin Edge 8GB$910 The Guru’s Tip
If you want to build a serious ITX gaming PC today, this is the GPU you want. It's what we originally intended for this build when it was announced, but of course the price has gone up since then. It's the most powerful GPU that will fit in the SG13 case, and is over 2x faster than the GPU we listed earlier in this guide. It adds about $500 to the cost, but that's just 33% more for 200% better gaming performance. That's a value in our book!
The Budget Gaming Keyboard –
Logitech G213 Gaming Keyboard$47 The Guru’s Tip
You can control the RGB effects of this keyboard using Logitech's GHub software.
The Pro Gaming Mouse –
Razer Basilisk X HyperSpeed Wireless$37 The Guru’s Tip
Whether you're using your PC from a desk or the couch, this is the perfect mouse!
The 27-inch G-Sync Gaming Monitor –
Gigabyte M27Q$300 The Guru’s Tip
Gigabyte has recently entered the monitor market, and is really making a splash with its awesome value per dollar!
The Budget Wireless PC Headset –
SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless$74 The Guru’s Tip
We figure if you're building a small PC, it's very likely going to be tucked far enough away from you that using a wired headset will be a no-go!
Total Cost: $1475
The DIY Option
- CPU – AMD Ryzen 5 5600X ($310)
- Motherboard – ASRock B550M-ITX/AC ($147)
- Video Card – Zotac GeForce GTX 1660 6GB ($449)
- Memory – Crucial 2x8GB Ballistix DDR4-3600 C16 Black ($85)
- Solid-State Drive – XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB NVMe ($100)
- Case – SilverStone SG13 ($52)
- Power Supply – SilverStone SX500-G ($115)
- Adapter – SilverStone PP08 ($15)
- CPU Cooler – SilverStone PF120-ARGB ($83)
- Operating System – Windows 10 Home USB Flash Drive ($130)
- Video Card – Zotac GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Twin Edge 8GB ($910)
- The Budget Gaming Keyboard – Logitech G213 Gaming Keyboard ($47)
- The Pro Gaming Mouse – Razer Basilisk X HyperSpeed Wireless ($37)
- The 27-inch G-Sync Gaming Monitor – Gigabyte M27Q ($300)
- The Budget Wireless PC Headset – SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless ($74)