The Best $2,500 Ultra-Extreme Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build – September 2021
Go Big, but Build Small!
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.
This Month’s Build, Powered by AMD!
For September 2021, the $2,500 Ultra-Extreme Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build features the awe-inspiring AMD Ryzen 7 5800X 8-core, 16-thread CPU that lays down the law when it comes to gaming. The 5800X finally has something to do, now that you can actually grab one of AMD’s high-end GPUs at retail. We’re recommending the Radeon RX 6800 16GB, which matches Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3070 Ti, but is actually available!
Also on board is an amazingly-fast 1TB PCIe-based solid-state drive, 16GB of high-speed DDR4-3600 RAM, and a big 240mm liquid CPU cooler, which allows this mini-ITX rig to stay as cool as the big boys! Keeping the PC running is a 750W Platinum-rated power supply, and the big news this month is the switch to the trend-setting new Ssupd Meshlicious mini-ITX chassis, which comes in at under 17 liters despite the capacity to hold all this gear, and more importantly, keep it all cool!
You’ll find our recommendations for the best accessories for this build later in this guide. For all products, we provide links to Amazon, Newegg, or B&H 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. To support continued development of this guide, please use the affiliate links we provide in the guide.
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X$394Based on AMD’s revolutionary Zen 3 architecture, the Ryzen 7 5800X is a truly fantastic processor. It has 8 core and 16 threads all running from a single complex for maximum efficiency, with boost up to 4.7GHz. That means it’s actually the fastest processor available for single-threaded tasks, which many tasks still are.
Remember that this CPU does not have built-in graphics, so the video ports on the motherboard will not be functional.
Gigabyte B550I Aorus Pro AX$210This board has all the features you need for an ultra-high-end build, despite its reasonable pricepoint. It features dual M.2 PCIe slots, with the top slot supporting full Gen 4 speed, 2.5Gbps LAN, built-in 802.11ax wireless networking with Bluetooth, and six USB ports, including a Type-C port.
This is the board we use for our ITX test rig, and it's been flawless!
Video Card –
PowerColor Radeon RX 6800 16GB Red Dragon$1170
It’s time to get gaming again! This Radeon RX 6800 16GB has impressive gaming power, matching the RTX 3070 Ti, while actually being in stock and ready to game today! Sure, the price is above the original MSRP, but it’s pretty clear at this point that prices have been reset permanently, so rather than wait for a price drop that will never come, grab a great GPU today and get into your games!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!
Crucial 2x8GB Ballistix DDR4-3600 C16 Black$85To get the most out of your PC Build, you want 16GB of RAM, and this kit comes in at a great price. But more importantly, with a combination of serious speed (3600MHz) and serious timings (16-18-18), this isn’t just a slow 3200 kit rebranded to sell at a higher price, it’s the real deal!
We suggest skipping RGB kits for this build, as you won't be able to see the RAM from outside the case.
Solid-State Drive –
Samsung 980 1TB$130
There’s lots of competition in the SSD market, but SSD pioneer Samsung has put all the other mid-priced offerings to shame with its 980 1TB. It uses the speedy PCIe 3.0 interface and Samsung’s superior TLC NAND to vastly outperform every other PCIe 3.0 drive! To achieve performance any faster, you’d have to spend at least 50% more!The Guru’s Tip
This M.2 drive will slot right into the motherboard - no cables required!
SSUPD Meshlicious @Newegg$180
The Meshlicious, designed by industry veteran Lian Li and sold under its sub-brand SSUPD, offers amazing capacity and airflow in its compact 14.7-liter frame. It can fit triple-slot video cards up to 13.1″ long, and a 280mm liquid CPU cooler. The fully-meshed side panels come off easily thanks to push-pins, and the footprint of the case is tiny given the vertical layout. Note that this version includes a high-quality (and expensive) PCIe 4.0 riser card, and we think it’s worth the investment for use with modern high-end GPUs.The Guru’s Tip
This case specifies a PCIe version because it requires a "riser card", which changes the orientation of the video card as it relates to the motherboard. The video card does not plug directly into the motherboard, and the PCIe 4.0 version has a higher-quality riser card that supports the latest GPUs.
Power Supply –
Offering a tremendous 750W of power output and Platinum-rated efficiency in an ultra-compact package, Corsair’s SF750 sets the standard for ultra-premium SFX power supplies!The Guru’s Tip
While you can use a larger PSU in this case, we recommend the smallest possible unit to provide maximum airflow and cable routing space. Don't worry, this model has more than enough power!
CPU Cooler –
SilverStone PF240-ARGB$85To keep a powerful CPU build cool, this 240mm liquid cooler will fit the bill. It provides exceptional performance for the price, great compatibility with most systems, and sweet looks!
You'll likely want to set this up to exhaust heat out of the case, otherwise it will blow hot air into the GPU, which actually relies on the radiator fans for exhausting its own hot air.
Operating System –
Windows 10 Home USB Flash Drive$130Windows 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!
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.
The Typist's Gaming Keyboard –
Logitech G915 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (Clicky) @Newegg$250 The Guru’s Tip
This is the keyboard we've been using every day since it was released, and we'll never give it up!
The Ultimate Wireless Gaming Mouse –
Logitech G502 Lightspeed Wireless$124 The Guru’s Tip
We've been using this mouse since release, and it's been absolutely stellar the entire time!
The Deluxe PC Headset –
Corsair Virtuoso Wireless Headset$160 The Guru’s Tip
This headset is our daily driver, and it's never let us down!
The 34-inch Gaming Monitor –
MSI Optix MPG341CQR @Newegg$674 The Guru’s Tip
While 4K monitors get all the press, ultra-wides are where the real technological advancement is.
Total Cost: $2552
- CPU – AMD Ryzen 7 5800X ($394)
- Motherboard – Gigabyte B550I Aorus Pro AX ($210)
- Video Card – PowerColor Radeon RX 6800 16GB Red Dragon ($1170)
- Memory – Crucial 2x8GB Ballistix DDR4-3600 C16 Black ($85)
- Solid-State Drive – Samsung 980 1TB ($130)
- Case – SSUPD Meshlicious @Newegg ($180)
- Power Supply – Corsair SF750 ($185)
- CPU Cooler – SilverStone PF240-ARGB ($85)
- Operating System – Windows 10 Home USB Flash Drive ($130)
- The Typist's Gaming Keyboard – Logitech G915 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (Clicky) @Newegg ($250)
- The Ultimate Wireless Gaming Mouse – Logitech G502 Lightspeed Wireless ($124)
- The Deluxe PC Headset – Corsair Virtuoso Wireless Headset ($160)
- The 34-inch Gaming Monitor – MSI Optix MPG341CQR @Newegg ($674)