The Best $2,500 Ultra-Extreme Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build – May 2021

By Ari Altman | Published May 6, 2021 | Updated May 6, 2021

Critical Update: if you actually want to build an ultra-high-end Mini-ITX PC any time before July 2021, you have two options: build one up and use Intel’s onboard graphics for the time being, or use an older GPU you have on hand. That’s because GPUs are sold out worldwide due to the latest cryptocurrency mining crisis.

If you’re looking for a no-holds-barred extreme Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build in a sleek, compact chassis, this is the one for you! Our $2,500 Ultra-Extreme Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build might be dwarfed by standard towers, but it can easily keep up with them thanks to its truly extreme components. And amazingly, there is virtually no price premium for getting a system of this caliber down to a portable size, making this PC a pretty good value too.

For May 2021, the $2,500 Ultra-Extreme Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build continues to feature the Intel Core i9-10850K, an incredible 10-core, 20-thread CPU that lays down the law when it comes to gaming. Thanks to recent price cuts and great availability, it’s an obvious choice for a gaming PC, and it has the added benefit of built-in graphics, meaning you can actually get your PC built up while you’re waiting for GPUs to restock! The 10850K is supporting the incredible RTX 3080 10GB GPU from Nvidia, which obliterates previous-gen cards at a surprisingly-reasonable price. The only problem: it hasn’t been available at retail since its launch on Sept. 17, 2020, and we believe it will continue to be unobtainable until at least Summer 2021, if not longer.

Also on board is an amazingly-fast 2TB PCI-based solid-state drive, 32GB of high-speed DDR4-3600 RAM, and a massive 240mm liquid CPU cooler, which allows this mini-ITX rig to stay as cool as the big boys! Keeping the PC running is a 700W Platinum-rated power supply, and housing the system is the classy SilverStone SG15, which comes in at under 20 liters despite the capacity to hold all this gear, and more importantly, keep it all cool! Learn more about this awesome system and ask all your questions in our YouTube review of the similar SG14:

To support continued development of this guide, please use the affiliate links we provide in the guide. We provide links to Amazon or Newegg in the US, and our Amazon links will auto-convert for our readers in Canada, the UK, and parts of the EU, with regional substitutions made automatically where necessary.

Required Components

  • CPU

    Intel Core i9-10850K @Newegg

    $395
    The Core i9-10850K is the absolute value leader among ultra-high-end CPUs, offering up ten cores and 20 threads that can run above 5GHz, making it a true dream gamer’s dream chip. In most games, it will provide the exact same performance as any chip from AMD, regardless of cost, and it outperforms newer 8-core chips from Intel as well. At its current price, it’s a clear winner!
    The Guru’s Tip

    You need a socket 1200 motherboard for this CPU - it will not even fit in older motherboards!

  • Motherboard

    Asus ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming

    $260

    Featuring the lastest 1200 socket, this board has great features like eight USB ports (including Type-C and a Type-C header), 802.11ax (WiFi 6) wireless networking, dual M.2 PCIe slots, ultra-high-end sound, and 8+2-phase power.

    The Guru’s Tip

    We recommend a Z490 board over Z590 boards for this system's CPU because 500-series boards will shut off one M.2 slot (a technical problem Intel clearly didn't have time to work out!). 

  • Video Card

    EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 FTW3 Ultra @EVGA

    $890
    Nvidia launched the greatest GPUs of all time with its new RTX 3000 series, which blows away all previous video cards, including the once mighty RTX 2080 Ti. The RTX 3080 offers 30% higher performance for a lot less money, which is an unprecedented generational leap. This EVGA model is among the coolest-running, quietest, and best-looking models on the market, and it comes with unparalleled customer service.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Note that one of the advantages of the case we recommend for this build is that it can actually fit huge GPUs like this one!

  • Memory

    G.Skill 2x16GB Ripjaws V DDR4-3600 Black @Newegg

    $200

    For serious PC users, you practically can’t have “too much” RAM. That being said, we think 32GB of RAM is going to be a perfect start for all but the most extreme cases, and this 2x16GB kit will get you there, while offering ultra-high speeds too!

    The Guru’s Tip

    This kit offers awesome 16-19-19 timings, which are far better than what you get with most competing 3600 kits, including ones that are much more expensive!

  • Solid-State Drive

    XPG SX8200 Pro 2TB

    $270
    Harnessing the power of cutting-edge TLC V-NAND, the NVMe protocol, and the PCIe interface, this SSD provides amazing speed, along with an incredible 2TB of capacity! Just note that you’ll need a jeweler’s-type screwdriver to install it.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This M.2 drive will slot right into the motherboard - no cables required!

  • Case

    SilverStone SG15 Black

    $165
    This awesome 20-liter case allows you to max out an ITX build while still remaining very compact. It features a modern layout perfect for large video cards and powerful CPU coolers, optimizing not just for fit but for performance. The cooling in this case is exceptional, and the aluminum panels and high-quality filters definitely put it in a class by itself!
    The Guru’s Tip

    Learn more about building up this ITX case in our full review of the similar SG14 model shown at the top of this guide!

  • Power Supply

    SilverStone SX700-LPT

    $157
    This 700W power supply has more than enough capacity to handle anything you can pack in this system. And thanks to its Platinum-rated efficiency, big 120mm fan, and zero-fan mode, it will also stay cool and quiet.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Just note that you must use the adapter below to mount this PSU in the case we recommend, as the case only includes standard ATX mounting holes. We strongly recommend an SFX-class unit over an ATX unit for this build because it provides more room for airflow inside the chassis and it comes with much shorter cables, which is a much better choice for a compact build.

  • Adapter

    SilverStone PP08

    $13
    This nifty little component is what allows you to use an SFX-class power supply in this build, despite the case having only an ATX power supply bracket.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Note that the adapter is offset, allowing you to provide more space between the PSU and another heat-generating component, like the video card.

  • CPU Cooler

    SilverStone PF240-ARGB

    $99
    To keep the a powerful CPU cool, we recommend nothing less than this 240mm liquid cooler, which will provide exceptional performance and sweet looks!
    The Guru’s Tip

    In a compact case, the ability to dump heat outside the case, rather than get it trapped inside, makes a huge difference. Just one thing to note: you should mount this cooler with the hose outlets at the back of the case. It doesn't look as slick, but we tried it the other way, and trust us, it's just too close to the fans for comfort!

  • Operating System

    Windows 10 Home USB Flash Drive

    $130
    Windows 10 was a big step up from Windows 8.1, and Microsoft continues to support Windows 10 users not only with regular security updates, but with major content releases every six months. And the USB version installs in under 5 minutes, meaning you can get right into using your system!
    The Guru’s Tip

    Windows 10 on USB sells out often. You can also get W10 via download - all you need is an 8GB or bigger flash drive to load the image onto.

Optional Products