When putting this build together, I wanted to build a Mini ITX PC that can play almost any game at 1440p at 60 FPS with Ultra settings. I allocated a budget of $1,200 and picked parts accordingly.
This is a Haswell build, but I’ve provided alternative options for Skylake, at a slightly higher price.
Thermaltake Core V1, $50
A small, affordable case that packs in all the features you’d want from a Mini-ITX case with ample ventilation and great modularity.
I know, I know. You are asking the same question many others had. “Ray, why haven’t you gone for a blower-style GPU in a Mini-ITX build? Wouldn’t it heat the case up?” Not really. The case is divided into two separate compartments. One for the GPU and the other for the rest of the components.
The GPU compartment has two case fans directly in front of the GPU that will exhaust most of the hot air out. Blower style cards (like the stock 980 Ti) are loud and noisy by comparison.
I would also like to mention that for some odd reason, EVGAs High-Tier FTW cooler is cheaper than their SC+.
Intel Core i5-4590, $200
I chose the i5-4590 over the i5-4690K and the i5-4460. The 4590 is 5-10% faster than the 4460 for just ~$10 more. The 4690K is $40 more expensive than the 4590, but it would also require a Z97 motherboard for overclocking, as well as a beefier cooler.
I decided to go for Haswell over Skylake because it currently offers more bang for the buck. However, for a future-ready build where you might want to upgrade the CPU down the line, Skylake is better.
Skylake alternative: Intel Core i5-6500, $205
You can use the stock CPU cooler, but it is loud and hot. You can opt for a Cooler Master Hyper TX3 for $19.
ASRock B85M Mini ITX, $60
This is a very barebones B85 ITX motherboard for an non-overclockable CPU. If you know you’ll want more features than what this provides, you might have to spend more money. You will also need to use a USB Wi-Fi adapter if you need Wi-Fi. However, this is very good for a pure gaming build.
Skylake alternative: ASRock H170M ITX/DL, $120
All memory is practically the same. It makes little difference to the performance of your build. Capacity is what matters. Other than that, just pick one that is either the cheapest or matches the color of your build.
Skylake alternative: AVEXIR CORE 8GB DDR4-2400, $50
120GB SSD for $45? Sweet. Plenty of room for your OS and most-used programs.
Seagate 1TB, $49
Lots of room for games and media files. Not sure that’s enough space? Get 2TB for a little more money.
A great PSU for the price, often available on discount for $55.
These will help exhaust air away from the GPU and out of your case.
This PC is a little gaming powerhouse, and should max out any PC game at 1440p resolution. For a slightly more powerful, smaller, different looking Mini ITX build, check out Orion’s sleek mini ITX gaming PC.
The total list price of this build on the day of publication was $1,221, but prices regularly vary. With a few discounts and rebates, you should be able to get it for less than $1,200.
Let us know if you have any questions or suggestions in the comments!