The Best $600 Home Office Mini-ITX PC Build – November 2022
Build It Small, Build it Fast!
If you want to build the best ultra-compact small office or work-from-home PC possible for just $600, this is the guide for you! Based on the mini-ITX form factor, this system offers plenty of configuration options without the bulk. This ensures that your new PC Build can be tucked away anywhere or put on display as a conversation starter!
This Month’s Build, Powered by Intel
For November 2022, the $600 Home Office Mini-ITX PC Build features Intel’s power-packed Core i3-12100, a quad-core CPU that’s 50% faster than its predecessor, the 10100! The 12100 also has built-in graphics, which means you don’t need a separate video card, which is crucial in a system so small that a video card won’t fit!
To ensure that you have a flawless computing experience, this system features 16GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, rather than the 8GB of slower RAM used in most larger pre-built systems, which means you’ll never run out of memory. The build also features a 512GB PCIe-based solid-state drive for amazing performance and plenty of capacity. It uses the M.2 form factor, which slips right into the motherboard, eliminating cable clutter and simplifying the build experience.
The system is housed in a stylish and compact InWin Chopin case. Despite its slim dimensions, the case can fit dual 2TB hard drives, listed in the optional upgrades section at the end of this guide, allowing you to turn this system into a great low-cost media server! The case also includes a 150W power supply, which provides plenty of headroom for component upgrades down the line.
To set up a complete home office system, don’t miss our recommendations for a keyboard, mouse, monitor and other accessories at the end of this guide. Throughout our guides, we provide Amazon links for our US readers, which will auto-convert for our readers in Canada, the UK, and parts of the EU. As always, please keep in mind that your use of the links we provide below helps support further development of these guides.
Intel Core i3-12100$150While AMD ruled the budget sector for a while, Intel has come roaring back, and its Core i3-12100 is simply the best CPU ever released anywhere near its pricepoint, thanks to its 4 cores and 8 threads based on the cutting-edge Alder Lake architecture.
This CPU comes with a 47mm-tall cooler, which will fit perfectly in this build! By the way, make sure you don't inadvertently buy the 12100F, which has no video capabilities and will not work in this system!
ASRock B660M-ITX/AC$120This low-cost mini-ITX board is the perfect option for a compact PC build. It uses socket 1700, which provides compatibility with the latest Intel CPUs, and includes a PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 slot for fast solid-state drives, dual RAM slots, and four USB ports. It even has built-in 802.11ac wireless networking, making it a tremendous value!
The HDMI 2.1 port on this board can handle resolutions up to 4K, and the Displayport 1.4 output can support resolutions up to 8K!
G.Skill 2x8GB Ripjaws V DDR4-3200$53Because games and other applications can take serious advantage of RAM speed on the latest CPUs, we’re spec’ing a fast DDR4-3200 kit for this build. The Ripjaws V set looks awesome and comes in at a lower price than all of its competition!
Given that many apps today require at least 8GB, and the built-in graphics chip will reserve some of the RAM for its own use, we cannot recommend a cheaper 2x4GB setup for this system. Even worse would be the typical OEM 1x8GB allotment, which operates in the slow single-channel mode. Two sticks of RAM is the way to go!
Solid-State Drive –
Silicon Power 512GB NVMe$33You simply can’t do better for the price than this value-packed SSD, which uses the speedy PCIe 3.0 interface and TLC NAND to vastly outperform all the SATA drives that sell for around the same amount! Note that to install this drive, you’ll affix it in an M.2 slot on your motherboard using a jeweler’s-type screwdriver.
512GB is more than enough capacity for any PC intended for basic home office tasks, and given that this drive costs about the same as most 250GB drives, it's a simple choice!
InWin Chopin$99This is our all-time favorite low-cost mini-ITX case! It features a built-in 150W power supply, plus space for dual 2.5″ drives and a CPU cooler up to 47mm tall (which is what this build’s CPU includes). And the aluminum exterior gives it a seriously-premium look!
The included 150W power supply is more than sufficient for this system, which will draw under 100W at load. That means it provides headroom for upgrades down the line!
Operating System –
Windows 11 Home USB$139Windows 11 take everything people loved about Windows 10, and then takes it to 11! It adds significant under-the-hood changes to make it faster and more secure, and of course, the interface is sleek too!
Originally released only as an update for existing Win10 users, Windows 11 hit retail in April 2022 and is definitely the best OS to use in a modern system.
Hard Drive –
WD Blue 2TB 2.5″$65 The Guru’s Tip
You can of course also use this system's 2.5" bays for SSDs, but we figure that most people adding extra storage to this system will need it for photos, music, and data, rather than for apps, and hard drives are still far cheaper than SSDs.
The Basic Wireless Keyboard/Mouse Combo –
Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo$28 The Guru’s Tip
This combo uses a single tiny USB receiver, ensuring you'll still have plenty of USB ports left over for other devices.
Logitech C920x Pro HD Webcam$70 The Guru’s Tip
You'll also need speakers for video conferencing, so if you don't have a monitor with built-in speakers (like the one above), make sure to add the speakers below.
The Basic PC Speakers –
Creative Pebble 2.0$19 The Guru’s Tip
Despite the name, these are far larger than a pebble!
The 24-inch Small Office Monitor –
Sceptre E248W-19203R$104 The Guru’s Tip
We recommend connecting this monitor to your PC with an HDMI cable, which will provide both display and sound.