Mini-ITX Game PC - May 2017
The Mini-ITX Game PC is a desktop computer that is small enough to be portable, but has better performance than a gaming notebook. Previous time, we built a pricey 4K gaming system, this time our target is an relatively affordable build.
Please note: the PC Buyer’s Guide is compiled based on independent component tests performed by Hardware.Info. If no new, superior products are released that should replace one or more of the components, then the component(s) will remain the same as the previous month.
If you want to know more about how we compile our PC Buying guides, have a look at this article.
Intel started supporting HyperThreading with its Kaby Lake Pentium models, which make this friendly priced Pentium G4560 comparable with a Skylake Core i3. Software will recognize it as a quad-core, so games that don't want to start on a dual-core won't be a problem.
Overclocking isn't an option with the CPU's locked multiplier, and Intels boxed cooler isn't noisy, so we would say an alternative cooler isn't needed. The boxed cooler also helps keeping the VRMs cool. If you still want a quieter system, you can always invest in an affordable, decent after market model like Arctic's Freezer i11.
If you are buying a new PC, at the moment we recommend 8GB RAM. That goes double for a Game PC. We choose an affordable stick with a 2400 MHz clock speed. Do consult our price comparison engine: as long as you look at the bigger brands, it matters little which memory you buy if price is the main concern.
Gigabyte offers a lot for your money with the B250N Phoenix WiFi. Although this motherboard doesn't break the bank, you do not have to miss out on features like USB 3.1 and 802.11ac WiFi. The VRMs are not particularly suitable for overclocking, but the chosen CPU doesn't support that anyway. For an affordable Mini-ITX Game PC, this is a very nice option.
For Full HD gaming, the AMD Radeon RX 570 is an excellent choice, which will enable you to play at high settings in almost every game. The Freesync support of this GPU is a huge advantage: you can have a premium game experience without breaking the bank.
In our coming roundup, the Gigabyte Aorus edition stands out as a fast, silent but affordable model. Not every shop has stock at this moment, but that should change within the coming weeks.
There isn't much difference in performance between SATA600 SSDs these days. Due to its 'weird' capacity of 525 Gigs, you get more storage for the same price as the competition with the Crucial MX300. That's more than enough for all your software and games.
If you want to run as little cables as possible through your case, you can choose the somewhat more expensive M.2 version and mount it to the back of the mainboard.
The Fractal Design Core 500 offers great value. You have more than enough storage space for SSDs and hard disks, while its cooling performance isn't bad either. For the best build quality or cable management capabilities you will need to spend more, but the Core 500 is a great starter's home.
This system won't consume much power, so a 450W power supply suffices. The Corsair CX450M is one of the best choices for cost-conscious buyers: the efficiency is okay and the voltages are stable. Of course, the PSU sports all the connect you need. Corsair offers a five year warranty on its CX450M: unprecedentedly long for a value power supply.
The Steelseries Apex M500 is a mechanical keyboard with a good typing experience, while being suitable for gaming too. Its price is relatively low, since the manufacturer left all unnecessary features out: no RGB lighting, no palm rest, no macro keys. If you don't need those extra features, the savings are very welcome.
The Corsair K70 however, is an excellent alternative. It's a sturdy mechanical keyboard with an aluminium frame and full-key rollover. It lacks macro keys, the availability of models with multiple types of Cherry MX-switches is a pro.
If you want a so-called tenkeyless keyboard, we would recommend the CM Storm NovaTouch TKL.
The Logitech G403 Prodigy has a sleek and simple design, but uses the same top quality sensor as models that are much more expensive, like the G502 and G900. Its excellent performance on all kinds of mousepad surfaces makes it the ideal mouse for gamers. It doesn't offer many extra buttons - if you want those features, you'll have to opt for another model.
Not only should you get a quality mouse for a gaming PC, but the mousepad matters as well. Everyone has different preferences in material choice, so you should really try a few pads both in a store. The SteelSeries QcK is one of the candidates for your shortlist and a really popular store.
The AOC G2460VQ6 is our new favorite when it comes to budget gaming monitors. It combines a 24" Full HD panel with Freesync support between 35 and 75 Hz at a really low price point. Thanks to the variable refresh rate, the image stays smooth, even if your framerate isn't optimal from time to time. The test results are good and even without Freesync support this would be a recommendation, but now this is absolutely the best choice for a budget gamer.
You'll probably use your monitor for a longer time than the rest of your components, so spending a bit more on it is a good idea. The Iiyama G-Master Red Eagle GB2488HSU-B2 has a feature list as long as its name: better image quality, higher refresh rate, bigger Freesync range, an integrated USB 3.0 hub and a ergonomical adjustable base. On average, the response times of this monitor are better than AOCs, too.
For a long time, we recommended the Kingston HyperX Cloud. While it continues to be a good choice if you want to do more than gaming, like listening to music, we liked the surround of the new Corsair Void a lot better. The combination with a very good microphone makes it our new first choice.
The Void Surround Hybrid is available in 'gaming red' and with carbon accents, for those who prefer a more neutral look.
|Processors||Intel Pentium G4560 Boxed||£59.12|
|CPU coolers||Intel Boxed Cooler||–|
|Memory modules||Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 8GB DDR4-2400 CL16||£78.07|
|Motherboards||Gigabyte B250N Phoenix WiFi||£107.50|
|Graphics cards||Gigabyte Aorus Radeon RX 570 4GB||£239.99|
|Hard disks/SSDs||Crucial MX300 525GB||£106.85|
|Cases||Fractal Design Core 500 Black||£59.99|
|Power supplies||Corsair CX450M||£53.62|
|Keyboards||SteelSeries Apex M500||–|
|Mice||Logitech G403 Prodigy Corded||£39.99|
|Mouse pads||SteelSeries QcK||£8.99|
|Headsets||Corsair Gaming Void Hybrid Surround Red||–|
|Save as your own wish list||Average total price:||£896.25|