This system is for gamers who want a compact system, but simply aren't willing to sacrifice performance. This box has all the power of our $2,000 Premium ATX Build packed into a compact, stylish case that's dwarfed by standard towers. Amazingly, there's no price premium to pay to get such a unique PC, making this PC a pretty good value too.

For January 2019, this build steps up to Intel's new powerhouse processor, the Core i7-9700K, an eight-core beast that can easily be overclocked to 5GHz using the potent liquid cooler that we recommend for this build. It's backing up Nvidia's ultra-fast GeForce RTX 2080 8GB video card, which beats even the prior-gen king, the 1080 Ti. Also on the build list is 16GB of high-speed RAM, a fast 1TB PCIe-based solid-state drive, and a 650W Gold-rated power supply. Topping it all off is one of our favorite ITX cases ever, the Fractal Design Core 500. At just 20 liters, it's truly compact, yet can fit practically any gaming gear you can think of.

For help building this system, check out our hands-on assembly guide. And to see past month's builds, just flip over to The Archive, and to see recommended accessories for this build, just scroll down to the bottom of this guide. To support continued development of these guides, please use the purchase links we provide when you're ready to buy your ITX machine!

The $2,000 Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC - January 2019


    Intel Core i7-9700K

    The Intel Core i7-9700K is an eight-core CPU perfectly designed to push modern games to maximum framerates. It can boost up to 4.9GHz on a single core out of the box, and with the cooler we recommend in this guide will easily run at 5GHz on all cores with some simple overclocking!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This CPU does not include a cooler, so make sure to pick up the awesome liquid cooler we list later in this guide!


    Gigabyte Z390 I AORUS Pro WiFi

    This great board features dual M.2 slots (one in front, one underneath), built-in 802.11ac wireless networking with Bluetooth, and six USB ports, including a Type-C port.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Remember, you really do want to stick with a Z390 board for the 9700K processor. While Z370 boards can potentally support it, they likely won't have the proper firmware out of the box.

    Video Card:

    EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 XC Gaming 8GB

    For this build, we recommend the brand-new RTX 2080 8GB, which has more than enough power to run any game even at 4K, and has built-in ray tracing cores to enable next-gen effects in upcoming games!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that we've specifically selected a model with a dual-slot, rather than triple-slot cooler, because thicker coolers won't fit in the ITX case used for this build.


    Corsair 2x8GB Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000

    To get the most out of this system, you want high frequency DDR4, and we recommend this high-speed DDR4-3000 kit in a 2x8GB configuration, which hits the sweet spot in terms of price and performance. It will help eliminate any bottlenecks in getting data to your CPU.

    The Guru's Tip:

    We go with a non-RGB kit here since you won't be able to see the interior once the system is buttoned up. Low-profile RAM like this kit also makes CPU cooler installation easier.

    Solid-State Drive:

    XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB NVMe

    A massive price war in the SSD market has led to a huge price drop on SSDs, and XPG has vaulted to the top when it comes to high-end PCIe SSDs, easily beating Samsung at its own game. The new SX8200 nearly matches Samsung's far more expensive 970 Pro for less than the mid-range 970 Evo. It's fueled by the PCIe interface, NVMe protocol, and cutting-edge 3D TLC NAND.

    The Guru's Tip:

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


    Fractal Design Core 500

    This awesome 20-liter case from Fractal Design may be small, but that doesn't mean it doesn't bring a whole lot of performance and style to the table. It has a silent 140mm exhaust fan, plus plenty of space for high-end gear, like the powerful CPU cooler and graphics card used in this system.

    The Guru's Tip:

    See our full assembly guide for this case right here!

    Power Supply:

    EVGA Supernova G3 650W

    There's no better power supply for this build than the G3 650 from EVGA. Fully-modular, which means you'll only use the cables you need, and at 150mm long, it's among the most compact ATX unit on the market. It of course offers Gold-rated efficiency (which means 90% at 50% load), and is backed by an incredible warranty.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While the case we recommend is spec'd to fit much larger PSUs, in practice, it can't. Learn why in our hands-on builder's guide!

    CPU Cooler:

    Corsair Hydro Series H60 2018

    Keeping a hot-clocked CPU cool in a compact case is always a challenge, but this awesome liquid cooler from Corsair delivers the performance you crave. It offers massive cooling capacity, equal to the largest air coolers on the market, but packed into a sleek, attractive format. Learn more about it in our hands-on review!

    The Guru's Tip:

    If you're more interested in silence than all-out performance, we recommend you go for the Noctua NH-U14S air cooler. It will perform nearly as well, while being a lot quieter than the H60.

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 Flash Drive

    Windows 10 wipes away all the bad memories left behind by Windows 8, improving enormously on the user interface, and bringing with it some important performance tweaks under the hood.

    The Guru's Tip:

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

Optional Components

    The Ultimate Gaming Keyboard:

    Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 Rapidfire Low Profile

    This is the very best gaming keyboard on the market, bar none, thanks to its use of the brand-new, Corsair-exclusive Cherry MX Speed Low Profile switches.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Learn more in our hands-on review of this awesome keyboard.

    The Ultimate Wireless Gaming Mouse:

    Logitech G703 Lightspeed

    Need a great gaming mouse? Look no further than this wireless model from Logitech, which offers performance that beats most wired mice!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Make this mouse even better with Logitech's Powerplay charging mat, which will allow you to use without ever plugging in to charge!

    The 32-inch 1440p G-Sync Monitor:

    Acer Predator Z321QU bmiphzx

    Pair your new gaming PC with a high-refresh rate G-Sync monitor for unmatched smoothness. This huge 32" model features a curved 2560 x 1440 panel that operates at up to 144Hz for stutter-free performance.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Thanks to its Nvidia  G-Sync capability, this monitor will sync its refresh rate to the frames per second generated by your Nvidia GeForce video card, offering ultra-smooth gaming no matter how intense the action gets!