How To Build A Mini ITX Gaming PC, Ready To Own 2016?

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Want to know how to build a mini ITX gaming PC? It’s a good thing to know how because it allows for more room and reliable portability.

A mini ITX PC can pack an extremely powerful punch, for this specific build I kept the budget on the higher end of things, if you’d like to see mini ITX builds at any other budget then let me know in the comments if you’d like to see that and I’ll see what I can do! 🙂

 

An Amazing Mini Build


This specific build is going to amaze you if you happen to put it together.

This build is ready to run almost any game coming out in 2015 on the high/max graphical settings and more than likely on high settings throughout 2016 and beyond.

You may want to think about upgrading the GPU far down the road but that’s about it, unless you wanted to upgrade your processor at some point for a CPU that can overclock, but this CPU at its stock speeds are just fine for today’s gaming demands.

If you want to run games like Dragon Age: Inquisition, Far Cry 4 and Grand Theft Auto V on the higher graphic settings with optimal performance then you’re going to really enjoy this build! It is purely for the hardcore gamer, and you can also do other things as well such as video editing, etc!

Everything is an extremely tight fit but I guarantee you that all of these parts are 100% compatible with each other and you’ll enjoy the build if you’re looking for a gaming ITX PC.

 

How To Build A Mini ITX PC


It’s one thing to build a normal sized PC, but building a mini PC is just a tad bit different.

First thing that is obviously different is the tighter work space. Be ready to be fitting things together is a tighter space than regular PC building.

I’ve embed a video below that best explains the process of putting together an ITX mini build.

This video by Dans Tech takes you step by step through the process of building a mini ITX PC. It’s not the same exact case, but the process is still the same.

 

Optimal Parts For The Best Experience


 

Last Updated: July 20th, 2016

 

mini Case – Cooler Master Elite 130

mobo MotherboardASUS H81I-PLUS Mini-ITX

cpuProcessorIntel Core i5-4590

 gpu Video Card – EVGA GeForce GTX 970 4GB SSC Gaming ACX 2.0+

 ramRAM – Crucial 8GB Single

psu Power Supply – EVGA 600W Bronze

hdHard Drive – Seagate 1TB

cd CD Drive – Asus 24x DVD-RW

 

Final Price: $781.21

 

And again, if you’d like to see some other mini builds at other budget ranges, then just let me know!

I may just add them into this post somewhere?

 

Details


For a CPU, the i5-4570 is an awesome choice and you get the most power per dollar spent here. With it being a quad core and its current clock speed, it’s just a great future-proof CPU for gaming!

The GTX 970 video card is a pretty awesome card. Witcher 3, GTA V and Dying Light would be some great examples that would look and run great with this card. And the card is just the right size to fit nice and snug inside the mini ITX case.

The motherboard is a pretty expensive part and for good reason. It comes with wifi connectors that way you’ll be able to connect to any local wifi connection, I’m pretty sure that the cables come with the motherboard in the box but if they don’t then just let me know and I’ll point you to some connectors that would work fine!

Also let me know if you’d rather go with a different motherboard that is a little cheaper, keep in mind that you’d need to go with a wireless network adapter if you went that route as the lower priced, compatible motherboards for this build will not come with internal wifi.

I always get asked why my build only have 1 8GB stick instead of 2 4GB sticks, and I’ll tell you why. There is only a slight hair of a difference performance wise when it comes to comparing a single stick to double sticks for 8GB total RAM.

That, and my builds are focused on the future of gaming and computing in general. If you have to end up adding more RAM in order to run a game (which is inevitable, someday RAM usage will be more than 6GB-8GB) then you’re not going to have any room to upgrade because of two sticks, hence why I recommend picking a single stick up then adding another 4-8GB on another stick down the road when you feel like you need it.

500 watts of power is going to do fine as well since you won’t be doing any CPU overclocking, this i5 doesn’t have that feature. If you want a CPU with overclock then you’ll have to either upgrade down the road to an i7 that is overclockable or you could go with an i5-4690k instead of the other i5 I have listed here. It is overclockable and this motherboard is more than capable of an overclocked CPU.

 

 

Operating System And Internet Connection


Now as far as an operating system, you have a few routes that you could go.

You could go the traditional route of grabbing a copy of Windows 10 or you could go with a different kind of operating system, which I definitely understand doing if you just don’t have enough room in your budget for Windows.

If that is the case, then I highly recommend checking out Ubuntu, a Linux based operating that is 100% free and open source. There are a lot of customization options ready and available to you if you decide to go with Ubuntu. The only downfall to this route is that not every game on Steam is compatible with Linux and it is kind of a hassle to get them to work, but you can definitely get games such as Skyrim to work on Ubuntu.

Steam is also making their own operating system known as SteamOS, which will also apparently be free of charge and compatible with every Steam game ever released, so definitely keep your eyes peeled for that.

Basically, go with Windows if you have the budget available for it. If you don’t, then just throw Ubuntu on it until you have the budget or who knows, maybe you’ll end up wanting to keep Ubuntu! It’s your choice!

You’ll also need a way to connect to the internet. Since you’re going with a mini build I’m assuming  that you’ll be mobile with it so a direct connection via ethernet might not be what you’re looking for – though that’d definitely give you the best possible connection.

You’ll need a network adapter of some sort to connect wirelessly. There are also some mini motherboards that have built in wifi, just ask me about one in the comments area and I’ll link you to one that’d be a good choice!

windows 10 64bit Windows 10 64bit – Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64bit

81CsUmlJ+iL._SL1500_ USB Wireless Network Adapter – Panda 300Mbps Wireless N USB Adapter

The above links will take you to a 64bit version of Windows 10 and to a USB wireless adapter that I just know works well. Again, if you’d rather have a motherboard with built in wifi, just let me know in a comment and I’ll link you to one that’s compatible!

 

To Conclude


All in all I hope that I’ve helped you understand how to go about building a mini ITX gaming PC. The video in the post is sure to help a ton!

So what do you guys think of this build?

Are you looking for a different budget range?

Let me know in the comments below! 😀

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54 Responses to How To Build A Mini ITX Gaming PC, Ready To Own 2016?

  1. San says:

    Hello Colton,

    Great article on how to build a Mini ITX gaming PC. Interesting fact you pointed out is the free Linux OS, I was unaware they had a free one out there. I will be checking it out, I will be back to let you know what I found out.
    I also like the recommendation to get Windows 7 and wait for Windows 10 upgrade to come out. I am waiting to see just how free it will be.
    Great site, I am book marking you for the future when I get ready to build my next computer, do you do build desktops for multi media processors and hosting?

    San

    • Colton P says:

      Hello San,

      Thank you! Yes Linux is great, the best part about it is that it is open-source as well so there are a bunch of different ways to customize your experience. And as far as Windows 10 for free, well there’s no waiting about it San! Microsoft came out and said that everyone that has a legitimate copy of Windows will get Windows 10 for free for the first year that it is out, then it will be retailing for about $120 there after. It’s looking like it’s going to be a great operating system, especially for gamers!

      And awesome, thanks for the bookmark! I plan on doing all sorts of different PC builds such as computers for hosting and music recording PCs, stay tuned! 😉

  2. Nigel says:

    Hey Colton, nice write up. I’m assuming this is in US dollars correct? I’m in Australia so cost would be different here.
    Also, could this build be used for CAD drafting work. Cheers

    • Colton P says:

      Hey there Nigel,

      Yes, these parts are in US dollars from Amazon US. And as far as CAD drafting work, this build is more than capable. A program like AutoCAD would run flawlessly!

      Hope I’ve helped, if you have any other questions about the build just let me know, I’m all ears!

  3. Stuart G says:

    Hi and thanks for the vid. I’d like to build a pc similar and it’s really nice to see someone show the steps like this.

    My question is to ask if you can recommend a tower-type but as small as possible case that would fit this build.

    Thanks,
    Stuart

  4. Tyler K says:

    Looks good. Would this be able to support some gaming in 1440p or would/could I upgrade it at some point to do so? I was wondering how it would compare to this http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonevangelho/2015/05/16/school-of-tech-building-a-400-mini-itx-gaming-pc-is-fine-but-what-can-i-build-with-800/

  5. Jeff K. says:

    Great stuff .. thanks again for the guidance Colton ..

  6. Drew says:

    Would a build like this fit an SSD in addition to the HD? I am a huge fan of running at least 240gb on a solid state for my favorite games and OS with the 1TB for everything else.

  7. Drew says:

    Sorry for the Double post but would you be able to recommend an AMD build for the mini ITX format?

    I am really interested in creating one of these.

    • Colton P says:

      Drew,

      Could you shoot me an e-mail via the About Me portion of the site here?

      I’ll be able to get a specific build going for your through e-mail, it’s a lot easier to communicate for me for specific builds in that way!

  8. Drew says:

    So I went with this set up. I have the parts on order and can’t wait to build it

    CPU – AMD a10-7850k @ 3.75Ghz
    Case – Corsair 250D Mini iTX
    HDD-Seagate 1TB drive @7200RPM
    HDD Primary -Samsung 256GB SSD
    M/B – Gigabyte GA-F2A88XN- WiFi
    RAM – G.Skill Ripjaw X 2xGB @ 2400MHz (could not find a good single 8 gig chip but this was on sale for under 70 bucks)
    Power – Clooer Master G650W – Semi Modular
    GPU – Sapphire Radeon Nitro R9 390 8GB GDDR5

  9. Josh O says:

    Is there maybe a cheaper way to make this? I would love to have this and maybe leave it hooked up to our TV and have some controllers and play pc games on the TV.

    • Colton P says:

      Hey Josh,

      This is definitely the ideal build for a mini gaming setup. Unfortunately, unless you want to start sacrificing power, there’s no a whole lot you can do to make it cheaper. Mini ITX builds run a little more expensive than traditional builds.

  10. Miles says:

    Any chance of a 400 dollar-500 dollar mini itx build?

    • Colton P says:

      Hey Miles,

      I’m not sure if it’d be worth it or not… I don’t think that there would be enough power behind it in the $500 range.

      Head over to my About Me and contact me by e-mail, I’ll see what I can do for a specific mini build at that price range for you!

  11. Jason says:

    Hello Colton, Love your build, but you said that there are cheaper alternatives for non-wifi motherboards, what are they? I’ve researched a few myself, but given that I’ve never built a pc, I thought ask before purchase anything. Other than the seating for the processors and the dimensions, what else do you look for? Thank you.

  12. Drake says:

    I am looking into building one of these mini ITX systems.

    what is your take on going with DDR 4 memory and 6th Gen intel processors? Is it worth to spend the extra bit of money now to ensure you are future proof for a long time coming?

    Case – xigmate octans black mini ITX case
    CPU – i5-6500 @ 3.2Ghz
    SSD – Kingston 240GB
    HD – WD Black 1TB
    MB – Gigabyte GA-7170N
    RAM – G.SKill Aegis DDR4 (2x8GB) 2400Mhz
    VC – Evga GTX 960 4GB
    PS – EVGA SuperNOva 750 G1 80 Plus Gold

    I’ve been quoted 1,400 CND for this. What is your take on value and is it worth the extra right now to ensure I’m future proof with a 1151 socket and the DDR 4 ram?

    • Colton P says:

      Drake,

      If you’ve got the room in your budget then that’d be more optimal – yes. It’s best to go with the newest technology if you can afford to do so.

      The power per dollar spent is a bit lower but there is value in the future-proof of the new technology… so again, if you have the room in your budget then I’d highly recommend doing so.

      By the way, I’m not sure you’ll need a 750W power supply – especially since you won’t be able to overclock the CPU. You could save a bit more by getting less power. You won’t have to upgrade for a good while with a build like that so that much power isn’t necessary.

      • Drake says:

        Thanks! That is really helpful. Do you think a 600W modular power supply would be sufficient for this build?

        • Colton P says:

          No problem man and yeah, that’ll honestly be the most optimal choice in my opinion.

          • Drake says:

            Thanks for the tip on the Power Supply! After a small hiccup as they don’t put the dimensions of a supply on the box I ended up with an extended ATX power supply. Luckily enough the store was extremely helpful as I was the first customer they had to try for a mini itx build. I managed to find a Corsair 600W modular supply that fit the case.

            These things are freaking tight though, I may still end up taking it apart and trying a different configuration to better manage the cables. The price difference in Power supply let me bump up the Video card to the Evga GTX 970 superclocked version.

            Anyone else thinking of taking one of these on I would suggest the Cooler Master case Colton recommended on her or a Corsair cube. The xigmate octans black mini ITX case was a huge pain in the butt to work with. The configuration inside where you mount your drives is horrible, I had to use two power cords to get both my drives hooked up and trying to find extra space to keep air flow for clunky power cords wasn’t easy. The other part I really didn’t like about the case was the Power Supply if front mounted so you have to feed yet another cable you don’t have room for from the front to the back where you can plug in your power cord.

            anyways thanks for this site as it really gave me the kick in the butt I needed to give building another shot.

          • Colton P says:

            Thanks for all of the info man, I’m certain that others trying to do the same will find your experience helpful as well!

            Enjoy the build man, happy to hear that you were able to get everything working good and that you were able to use a 970 for the build!!

  13. Dalton B. says:

    Hi Colton,
    Would the GigaByte GeForce GTX Mini 970 work? This one http://amzn.to/1rN0Phw
    Thanks,
    Dalton

  14. Dalton B. says:

    Colton,
    Also, would the i7 you recommend on your 1000 dollar build work?
    Thanks,
    Dalton

  15. Vit says:

    Hey, would a “Thermaltake TR2 450W 80+ Gold Certified ATX Power Supply” work with this PC too? I wanted to get something that was close to the cost of $50 so $56 for a gold+ seemed better. I was wondering cause you had a 600w power supply. I found all the parts on PC partpicker, and the wattage came out to be 263w.

    • Colton P says:

      Hey Vit,

      Why would you want to go with 450w?

      You’ve also got to think about the future of your build, you’ll need more than 450w for down the road upgrades and 600w is cheaper anyway…

      And although PC Part Picker is a pretty cool resource, I wouldn’t be 100% set and stone on their wattage scale. Best to go with the cheaper, safer and more trusted 600w EVGA PSU. I’m sure 450w would be enough to power the build but it’s still an uncomfortable number to have in my opinion.

  16. Cameron H says:

    This Build appealed to me for a variety of reasons, however, what case would you recommend using if I wanted to use this very build, however have more space for possibly upgrading components in the future? I ask this only because this miniature case doesn’t appear to be large enough to contain anything much larger than these current components. However, correct me if I’m wrong with that assumption as well.

    • Colton P says:

      It could fit some cards that are a bit bigger, from looking at the specs there are some 1070/1080 cards that would actually fit and those would be the future upgrades you go for down the road.

      If there’s a specific card you’d want to know if it’d fit just link me to it in a new comment and I can let you know whether or not it’d fit in the case!

      • Cameron H says:

        Thank you, I was looking at the Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB 384-bit GDDR5 AMP! Video Card.

        Also, I know this is the wrong thread, but would the case for the 500$ build be able to store some additions to that build? Sorry for being a bit of a bother 🙂

        • Colton P says:

          Since the case is compatible with long graphics cards – up to 13.5 inch (343 mm) long – I’m sure that card would also work based on looking at the dimensions of it.

          I’m not sure I get what you mean with that question, like would the $500 case be able to fit the longer cards? Honestly, I don’t think as many would fit in it.

          And no need to apologize 🙂

  17. Mark says:

    Is there going to be an update to this build soon? I’m pretty impressed with the power range at this price. Also, do you know if there a Mobo with built in wifi that you would recommend with this build?

    • Colton P says:

      Hey there Mark,

      I actually planned on updating all of the main builds today and I’ll add this one to the list!

      As for a good motherboard with wifi I’d recommend this one by Gigabyte since it also gives you room to upgrade to another LGA 1150 CPU down the road for overclocking!

      EDIT: By the way, just updated the builds today and have updated this one as well. The only difference I made was to the graphics card, it now makes more sense to have a 970 instead of a 960 because of the price basically being the same. (In comparison to the version that used to be listed)

      • Mark says:

        Hey Colton,

        I bit the bullet, here are the parts I’ve chosen:
        Case – CM Elite 130
        CPU – Intel i5-4590
        SSD – Samsung 250GB
        HD – WD Blue 1TB
        MB – ASUS H97I-PLUS
        RAM – Crucial Ballistix DDR3 (2x8GB) 1600Mhz
        VC – Asus GTX 970 STRIX 4GB
        PS – EVGA 600W Bronze

        The parts in this build are inspired mostly by your post here and the Forbes article mentioned by another poster above. Do you have any recommendations for an economical CPU cooler? While water cooling would be ideal, should the stock Intel cooler provide enough airflow for regular moderate usage?

        A fun bonus on the H97I-Plus Mobo is the included M.2 port. I picked up an Intel 8260NGW dual-band wireless-AC card and some tapeable antennas for aesthetically pleasing built in WiFi! Although I plan to keep this guy connected to ethernet, the optional wireless has its benefits in certain situations. While Gigabyte is a great brand, I like that ASUS boards are easy to build with and generally are very reliable. The 8 rear USB ports is a nice touch; I won’t have to buy a splitter to connect all my peripherals. The H97I-Plus is only about $23 more than the H81I-Plus mentioned here. I’ll be sure to reply after all my parts come in this weekend and I get the little beast up and running!

        • Colton P says:

          Hey Mark,

          Awesome build that you’ll have going on here man 🙂

          There won’t be any need for a CPU cooler, the stock cooler is going to do just fine and it’s very quiet. Not like an AMD stock cooler. Besides, the only real reason any build would need a CPU cooler is because the CPU is going to be overclocked. Since the 4590 you’re going with isn’t unlocked or anything, there’d be no need to go for an aftermarket cooler.

          Definitely keep us posted on how the build goes afterwards!!

          • Mark says:

            Hey Colton,

            Got everything up and running. The ASUS board was very easy to work on with this case. I decided last minute to scratch the M.2 wifi card and instead opted for a Mini PCI version since it’s easier to access from the top of the mobo. Thanks for all your help!

          • Colton P says:

            Awesome man, glad that you’re digging the build!! It’s going to be pretty amazing 🙂

            No problem for the help, be sure to check back anytime to check out other posts and to say hi!!

  18. The Master says:

    I decided that I want a mini ITX build, however I find that it is way more expensive than a regular atx build idk why, here’s my build, is there any recommendations for a case? Or anything else? I was looking coward to a dan case but it costs too much, can I overclock it right off the bat? Thanks

    • The Master says:

      I’m looking for the smallest beautiful case preferably with a side window panel or some sort so I can admire my beautiful gpu and what not lol black or white/mixed

    • Colton P says:

      If I were you I would go for a different CPU cooler. I’ve never heard of that one, it has no reviews… you’ll want a CPU cooler that is known to work well if you want to overclock right off the bat and ensure that nothing goes bad during the process.

      As far as another case, this mini desktop by NZXT would work with your build! You’re going to have a hard time finding a mini case with a side window that doesn’t cost a pretty penny…

  19. AnyOtherWay says:

    You said to ask if someone wanted to see another budget for this sort of portable mini ITX build thing? I’m curious to see what could be done with a $2000-3000 budget. Not that I’d go with it, nowhere near the budget and wouldn’t be moving around much, but I am curious to see it.

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