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The Best $2,000 Ultimate Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build – July 2021

By Ari Altman | Published June 25, 2021 | Updated June 25, 2021

Critical Update: if you actually want to start gaming on a new PC any time before Fall 2021, you have two options: try to grab one of the few pre-built PCs still for sale, or build up a PC using an older GPU that you have on hand. That’s because GPUs are sold out worldwide due to the latest cryptocurrency mining crisis. We present both options to you in this guide.

This system is designed for gamers who want a compact system but aren’t willing to sacrifice performance to get it. The $2,000 Ultimate Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build has all the power of a full-blown desktop gaming PC, 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 July 2021, the $2,000 Ultimate Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build features AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800X 8-core, 16-thread CPU, which has put Intel in its place and become the go-to high-end gaming CPU. It’s supporting a monster of a GPU, Nvidia’s amazing GeForce RTX 3080 10GB, which has performance to drive any game at ultra-high resolutions, but has sadly been sold out practically since its release in September 2020. We believe it will restock starting in the Fall, so for now, you hopefully have access to an older GPU to work with as a placeholder.

Perhaps just as important as all the computational firepower used in this system is the case, which truly defines this build. The Cooler Master NR200 brings high-end capabilities down to a compact size and a very reasonable price. With competitors only available from boutique manufacturers at twice the price, the NR200 stands alone. Inside, you’ll be installing 16GB of fast DDR4-3600 RAM, a speedy 1TB PCIe-based solid-state drive, and our favorite air cooler of all time, the Scythe Fuma 2. Keeping the system running is a compact 650W Gold-rated SFX power supply, which will have more than enough power for all the gear in this build.

To see recommended accessories for this build, just scroll down to the bottom of this page, or check out our dedicated Monitor Buyer’s Guide and Peripherals Buyer’s Guide. Throughout this guide, you’ll see direct links to Amazon, B&H, or Newegg for US readers, and our Amazon links will auto-convert for readers in the UK, Canada, and parts of the EU, with automatic reginal substitutions made where necessary. To support continued development of these guides, please use these links when you’re ready to buy your ITX machine!

The Pre-Built Option

  • HOT DEAL – GRAB IT IF YOU CAN! This pre-built system is simply amazing, when it’s in stock, which is not often! Coming in at an insanely-small 8 liters, the Magnus One still packs an epic punch. Of course, it starts with one of Zotac’s custom-designed GeForce RTX 3070 Mini cards, which only Zotac is able to offer. Then you have an Intel Core i7-10700 8-core, 16-thread processor, along with 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 512GB solid-state drive, and a 1TB hard drive. It’s all running through a custom Zotac mini-ITX motherboard, equipped with the latest enhancements, including Killer AX1650 WiFi 6 , Bluetooth 5, and Killer 2.5Gbps Ethernet. Yeah, you could just call this a Killer box!

    The Guru’s Tip

    This system typically only stays in stock for a few days before selling out for a month, so if you missed, sorry!

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The DIY PC Build

  • Based on AMD’s revolutionary Zen 3 architecture, the Ryzen 7 5800X is a truly fantastic processor. It has 8 core and 16 threads all running from a single complex for maximum efficiency, with boost up to 4.7GHz. That means it’s actually the fastest processor available for single-threaded tasks, which many tasks still are.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Remember, this CPU doesn't have built-in video, so you won't be able to use the video out ports on the motherboard.

  • 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 board we use in our ITX test rig, and it's been flawless!

  • 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

    While this build can technically fit thicker video cards, we actually recommend going with a two-slot model to allow more airflow through the bottom of the case, and the option to mount case fans, which will do far more for GPU cooling than a thicker heatsink.

  • To get the most out of your PC Build, you want 16GB of RAM, and this kit comes in at a great price. But more importantly, with a combination of serious speed (3600MHz) and serious timings (16-18-18), this isn’t just a slow 3200 kit rebranded to sell at a higher price, it’s the real deal!
    The Guru’s Tip

    Note that we're not going for RGB RAM in this build, because you wouldn't see the lighting, so it's not worth paying more for!

  • Harnessing the power of cutting-edge TLC V-NAND, the NVMe protocol, and the PCIe interface, this SSD is by far the fastest drive at its pricepoint. It can hit sequential speeds of up to 3500MB/s! Note that you’ll need a to affix it.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This will slip right into an M.2 slot on the motherboard, meaning no bulky cables. That's critical in an ITX build!

  • This amazing case is one of a kind. Coming in at 18 liters, it has space for just about every component you could imagine, and looks fantastic too! Just note that availability is extremely limited, and as of our latest update, it’s only shipping in the US and Canada.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Note that Cooler Master also sells a more expensive "NR200P", which we strongly discourage you from buying. It has a tempered glass panel that not only cuts down on airflow tremendously, it also cuts into interior space, meaning you cannot use the CPU cooler we recommend in this guide.

  • For the $2,000 Ultimate Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build, you need an SFX-class power supply, and this awesome 650W Gold-rated unit is our top pick. It’s incredibly powerful for its size, with more than enough output to handle the ultra-high-end CPU and GPU featured in this build (including 4 PCIe power connectors – a single RTX 3080 can use up to 3 on its own!).
    The Guru’s Tip

    This PSU will have no problem handling any GPU you can install in this system, even the latest RTX 3000 series models!

  • Offering amazing performance thanks to its big heatsink and dual 120mm fans, along with excellent compatibility thanks to its offset design, this is our favorite cooler at any price.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This cooler is 155mm tall, which is absolutely the largest cooler you can fit in this build! Note that there is no other air cooler we recommend for this system. Its popularity among users of the NR200 chassis is one of the reasons it's often sold out!

  • 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 is the USB 3.0 version of W10, which loads in under 5 minutes!

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Optional Products

  • For the very fastest gameplay, there’s nothing better than the K60 Low Profile. Thanks to Cherry’s unbeaten low-profile MX Speed switches, you get amazing response and feel, plus low noise.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Once you try low-pro, you won't go back!

  • Offering up awesome functionality, a sleek design, and an ultra-fast 18,000 DPI sensor, the Dark Core Pro SE simply has no competition at its pricepoint.
    The Guru’s Tip

    The SE version of the Dark Core RGB Pro adds Qi charging to its list of features, allowing you to use any Qi charging pad you have to give its battery a boost.

  • Offering up a 27″ 2560×1440 IPS panel capable of a 170Hz refresh rate, and enhanced with FreeSync frame-syncing technology, this is a true high-end monitor that won’t break the bank! Gigabyte may be new to the monitor market, but it’s making a huge splash, offering up tremendous quality at low prices. Previously, you couldn’t get anything but an inferior TN panel for this price!
    The Guru’s Tip

    This model is significantly better than models with similar specs but which use TN panels.

  • Combining ultra-high-end performance with incredible comfort, this wireless headset from Corsair is the ideal all-day companion for listening to the latest market news. This headset also has an audiophile-grade microphone, perfect for teleconferencing.
    The Guru’s Tip

    We've used these since they were released in late 2019, and they have never let us down.

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Total Cost: $2004

(as of June 25, 2021)
The Pre-Built Option
The DIY PC Build
Optional Products