• Log In
  • Register


The $2,000 TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build (Variant)

by n0chance



Date Published

Jan. 11, 2018

Date Built

Jan. 8, 2018

CPU Clock Rate

3.7 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

31.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

55.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.556 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

11 GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

29.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

70.0° C


I have always had built machines or bought laptops that were 'budget' computers or primarily for programming/development, with gaming as a secondary consideration. This time around I wanted a gaming first machine that will suit me for the next 10 years! I didn't have too much time for research, so I followed Ari Altman's $2,000 ULTIMATE GAMING MINI-ITX PC BUILD guide at https://techbuyersguru.com/2000-ultimate-gaming-mini-itx-pc-build and in the forums he had helped me along the journey, so the credit mostly goes to Ari! He does a great job keeping that guide up to date every month, and is super active in the forums.

Since this is my gaming pc for probably the next 10 years, my use cases included: Max details at 1440p resolution. I have been getting 100+ fps on Fortnite and rust so far! Smooth as butter. Eventually I will also connect this to a 4k TV and have a 'Steam Big Picture' setup for local multiplayer couch gaming (Xbox/PS4 alternative). Eventually I will connect this to a high resolution IPS monitor with G-Sync if I can get a decent deal on that type of monitor. I may dabble in video editing and developing games in Unity 3D. * I would like to get an even smaller footprint and may eventually move these components into even smaller cases that are starting to come out of kickstarter projects.

The build was fairly simply and there was no problems. The key with this build was to remove the top frame of the case which gave you room to do everything else. It has such a small footprint since I am using an M2 drive, and the cables have plenty of room where the SSD or optical bay would typically go.

Comments Sorted by:

DeadCarrot 2 Builds 3 points 14 months ago

Nice, small yet powerful build! +1

Concretequeen359- 1 Build 2 points 14 months ago

Wow, great photos and build....

CATTER 1 point 14 months ago

Hey Man!

I was just checking out your recent mini-ITX build! It Looks awesome!

I have a Corsair 380T case and I am currently researching and planning my build. I cant decide if I should go with the z370 chipset with the 8700k 6 core CPU or if I should go with the ASRock x299 -itx board with the i7-7820k. I have only ever had ASUS or MSI boards for previous builds. What do you think of the mobo? Have you had any issues? I read that the z370 chipset supports an additional 24 PCIe 3.0 lanes in addition to the CPU lanes. Are those chipset lanes any slower than CPU lanes or does PCIe 3.0 = PCIe 3.0 regardless of if coming from CPU vs chipset? My issue is that I want to run a Geforce GTX 1080 Ti with at least one Samsung 960 Pro NVME PCEi 3.0 x4 and I do not want any slow down in regardless to PCIe bandwidth. What are your thoughts? Thanks for your help my man

n0chance submitter 1 Build 1 point 14 months ago

Hey you may want to get some opinions as I was following the guide and asking a lot of questions to Ari @ https://techbuyersguru.com/forum/index.php?topic=98.0 , He had recommended ASUS ROG Strix Z370 for a while. The only other one I was reviewing also was the ASRock, which sounded like it had really good reviews, especially for overclocking, but in the end I just went with the Z370.

Only ran for a few days, and no immediate problems. I had to download WIFI drivers for it, was one of the first thing. Also, ASUS has some AI Suite 3 software, but after doing a windows update, it was giving me errors and was a pain to uninstall (you can google it).

CATTER 1 point 14 months ago

Thanks for your help man. I will give that a look.

raininseattle 1 Build 1 point 14 months ago

Great build - a truly no-compromise, follow-the-recipe build!

What's the final tally?

n0chance submitter 1 Build 1 point 14 months ago

It came out to $1947.08 (after rebate, but not including tax or cash back/rewards). Unfortunately GPU and RAM costs are so high, but I was able to be patient to at least get them around MSRP price. The i7-8700k kept going out of stock, but was able to get it closer to MSRP price eventually. The PSU seems to go on sale here and there. I think you can also get a deal on a SSD depending on what kind of storage you'd like.

raininseattle 1 Build 1 point 14 months ago

I assume that cost didn't include Windows 10. If so, it is in line with the budget Ari quoted with this build. That was my experience as well, you could probably save 10 or 20 here or there, but no huge bargains where it could make a significant difference.

Enjoy your great PC for the years to come.

n0chance submitter 1 Build 1 point 14 months ago

Yes, you are right, I didn't factor Windows 10 into my costs. Ari has also been recommending the i5-8600k in the build, I think because it performs well and balances the cost since the i7 and GPU is typically selling on a premium.

Definitely enjoying the PC! Thanks!

Uppercat 1 point 14 months ago

How good is that Western Digital SSD?

n0chance submitter 1 Build 1 point 13 months ago

I didn't run any specific tests on it. If I could have waited longer, I probably would've gotten something like this for ~$50 cheaper: Crucial MX500 1TB 2.5".

The M2 runs up to 55 degrees at load. Being near the GPU probably doesn't help, but the manual says it can operate up to 70 degrees.

Windows loads in about 2 seconds. Rust loads in 5 to 10 seconds. Fortnite loads pretty quickly.

Shoeboxer 1 Build 1 point 13 months ago

Do you play overwatch and what fps do you get on 1440p ultra settings (not epic) ??

I have a very similar build, but with 7700k so im curious about the fps difference

n0chance submitter 1 Build 1 point 12 months ago

Sorry, I haven't played over watch yet, but if I do I will let you know the FPS on 1440p ultra! I doubt there will be much FPS difference between 7700k and 8700k as I don't think the CPU is a bottleneck at all.

Chewy9141 1 point 12 months ago

Beautiful Build... Wish you were still building this really could have used a MM measurement for the 24pin motherboard cable and 8Pin EPS for cable mod custom cables :(

Shoeboxer 1 Build 1 point 9 months ago

How are your thermals?

Javild27 1 point 8 months ago

What temps do you get with that cooler?

StogieGeezer 1 point 7 months ago

Nice work. I'm considering a lot of similar components but in an InWin white A1 case. Particularly the same CPU, motherboard and CPU air cooler. From your photos numbered 6, 7, and 8, it looks like the Mugen 5 Rev.B air cooler completely clears the RAM. Is that correct? I want to use tall RGB RAM (G.SKILL TridentZ RGB 2x 16GB) rather than the lower profile Vengeance LPX. Can you confirm that taller RAM wouldn't hit the Mugen fan?

Also, I was concerned the Mugen 5, as good as it is, would be hard pressed to keep the i7-8700K cool, but your temps look great. Is it still holding up well? Do you find the Mugen 5 quiet? Thanks so much for any help. It's like looking for a needle in a haystack to find someone using so many of the same core components I want to use. John

Shoeboxer 1 Build 1 point 4 months ago

What are your temperatures? And did you test without the rear fan?

Did you turn on XMP in BIOS?