The Ultimate $3,000 Mini-ITX Content Creation PC Build – June 2021

By Ari Altman | Published May 26, 2021 | Updated May 26, 2021

With the exponential growth of the content creation market, the demand for compact, workstation-class PCs is growing, and the $3,000 Content Creation PC Build is the ultimate choice for serious content creators. This system might be dwarfed by standard towers, but it can easily keep up with them thanks to its 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 June 2021, the $3,000 Ultimate Mini-ITX Content Creation PC Build offers a number of updates, but one thing we stick with is the highly-refined Sliger S620 chassis, the best case for your portable workstation! It’s tiny at just 16.3L and yet can hold the highest-end gear you could ever want in a PC! Of course, this build’s strengths go more than skin deep; inside it’s packing the powerful AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, a 12-core, 24-thread CPU that puts everything Intel offers to shame. It’s joined by a GeForce RTX 3080 10GB GPU for application acceleration duties, plus 32GB of DDR4-3600 RAM. Also on board are a brand-new 1TB PCIe Gen 4 drive sporting transfer speeds of over 7,000MB/s, plus a 2TB PCIe Gen 3 drive, giving you 3TB of ultra-fast storage and plenty of options for swap space and content storage. To keep things cool, this system uses a 240mm liquid CPU cooler, offering immense cooling capacity along with low noise operation. Powering the system is a quiet and ultra-efficient 700W Platinum-rated power supply. Learn more about this build and post your questions in our full review of the unique Sliger S620 case!

To support continued development of this guide, please use the links we provide in the guide. For readers in the US, we list either Amazon or Newegg links, and our Amazon links will auto-convert for readers in Canada, the UK, and parts of the EU, with automated substitutions made by region where necessary.

Required Components

  • CPU

    AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

    $681

    AMD had already taken the lead against Intel in the multi-core race with its Zen 2 processors, and then it went and blew the lid off with its Zen 3 processors. The Ryzen 9 5900X is a fire-breathing 12-core, 24-thread processor that is both the world’s best gaming CPU and the best value among high-end content creation CPUs. Truly one CPU to rule them all!

    The Guru’s Tip

    Yes, this is selling for a bit above its original MSRP, but that's because it was simply too great a value, and even at its current selling price, it's still the best pick for this build.

  • Motherboard

    Gigabyte B550I Aorus Pro AX

    $190
    This 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.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This is the ITX board we chose for our ITX test system!

  • Video Card

    EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 XC3 Black @EVGA

    $800
    CRITICAL UPDATE: The RTX 3080 definitely has the performance you want for this build, it’s just a matter of when you can get one. Due to limited production by Nvidia and tremendous demand from cryptocurrency miners, the 3080 sells for 2-3x its MSRP on eBay.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Our latest guess is that high-end GPUs will re-enter the retail market near the end of Summer 2021.

  • Memory

    Crucial 2x16GB Ballistix DDR4-3600 C16 Black @Newegg

    $188
    For this build, you need lots of high-speed RAM, and this 32GB DDR4-3600 kit will do the trick! It not only offers a high frequency, but also has tight 16-18-18 timings that most other 3600 kits can only dream of. Just note that being a commodity, RAM is highly susceptible to price fluctuations, and we are witnessing a pretty rapid increase in prices right now.
    The Guru’s Tip

    We think 32GB is plenty for just about any user, but if you'd like to max out this system, feel free to step up to 64GB.

  • Solid-State Drive

    Samsung 980 Pro 1TB

    $200
    For storage, head straight for the 980 Pro 1TB drive from Samsung. It uses the new PCIe 4.0 interface provided on this system’s motherboard to massively accelerate I/O operations. But this isn’t just any PCIe Gen 4 drive, it’s the fastest PCIe Gen 4 drive!
    The Guru’s Tip

    This M.2 drive will work best in the upper slot, rather than the one on the backside of the motherboard.

  • 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

    Note that we're recommending a PCI Gen 3 drive here, as the rear slot you'll use for it doesn't support faster PCIe Gen 4 drives. But remember, this is your secondary drive, and it is still a very fast data drive!

  • Case

    Sliger S620 Mini-ITX

    $250
    Sliger hand crafts its unique Small Form Factor cases in Sparks, Nevada, and every one is built to order. No matter what color or materials you choose and how you accessorize your case, it will carry with it the DNA of a truly exceptional SFF case. Coming in at around 16.5L, it can fit the highest-end of components, and it’s even relatively easy to build in, which is not true of most SFF cases.
    The Guru’s Tip

    You can learn all about this case in our full review linked at the top of this guide!

  • Fan

    Scythe Kaze Flex 120mm Fan

    $14
    Scythe has been in the cooling business for decades, and we actually have some of their fans from the early 2000s still running in our systems! What makes the Kaze Flex and its predecessors so good are the high-quality fluid dynamic bearings Scythe uses, plus a durable and effective fan blade design.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Mount this to the bottom of the chassis blowing into the video card area. Based on our tests, this is by far the most effective setup.

  • 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

    This model also has some cool RGB effects.

  • Power Supply

    SilverStone SX700

    $171

    Offering tremendous 700W of power output and Platinum-rated efficiency in an ultra-compact package, the SX700 defies reality.  SilverStone practically invented the SFX class of power supplies, and it’s still the leader!

    The Guru’s Tip

    Note that the case we recommend really does need a power supply this small; even SFX-L units are a bit too big.

  • 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

    This USB 3.0 version of W10 will install in under 5 minutes!

Optional Products

  • The Typist's Gaming Keyboard

    Logitech G915 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (Clicky) @Newegg

    $234
    Best. Keyboard. Ever. And the only wireless mechanical keyboard with full RGB lighting on the market. This thing is a dream come true, so sleek, so responsive. Honestly, it’s in a class of its own.
    The Guru’s Tip

    We use this as our daily driver, and wouldn't trade it for anything!

  • The Ultimate Wireless Gaming Mouse

    Razer Basilisk Ultimate HyperSpeed

    $100
    Go for the best mouse in the business, period. Featuring a 20,000dpi sensor, Razer’s awesome HyperSpeed wireless system, and a perfect ergonomic design, this model can’t be beat! And in addition to its 100-hour battery life, it’s also incredibly light, at just 107g!
    The Guru’s Tip

    This mouse will run for up to 100 hours before needing a charge!

  • The 32-inch Professional 4K Monitor

    ViewSonic VP3268-4K PRO

    $736
    Want to pair your productivity rig with a stunning monitor? Look no further than the awesome VP3268-4K PRO from Viewsonic, a 32″ 4K IPS  monitor that achieves 100% Rec. 709 and sRGB color space, while also offering HDR10 certification!
    The Guru’s Tip

    While we like ultra-wides for productivity and gaming, content creators really are best off using a 4K monitor!

  • Solid-State Drive

    SanDisk 1TB Extreme PRO Portable SSD

    $200
    For a backup drive, we suggest something that almost any creative will appreciate: a blazing-fast, ultra-portable external SSD, which can be connected to the motherboard’s rear USB 3.1 Type-C port. The SanDisk Extreme Pro 1TB can hit transfer speeds of 2000MB/s, which matters a whole lot when you’re transferring files, which is what a secondary drive is used for almost exclusively. Most external SSDs are limited to 550MB/s due to the use of legacy SATA internals and USB 3.0 ports.
    The Guru’s Tip

    1TB not enough? Then go for the 2TB model!