At PremiumBuilds, we always strive to offer users as many options as possible when it comes to their next PC. Thanks to the release of Intel’s 10th Gen ‘Comet Lake‘ desktop CPUs, we now have some exciting new opportunities for high-performance gaming machines, especially when considering mini-ITX builds.
The mini-ITX market is growing ever popular and has also begun receiving much-improved support from all of the major component manufacturers. We have a plethora of premium enclosures with extraordinary build-quality + airflow, progressively better mini-ITX motherboards for both Intel + AMD, and the ability to drive even the highest-end components available courtesy of a wide range of amazing SFX power supplies.
Today we’ll be showing you the best configuration for an enthusiast mini-ITX gaming PC with The Core-i7 10700K that can also comfortably support hobbyist photo/video editing, rendering, file compression, code compilation, and other production workloads.
How will this machine perform?
You can expect up to 60Hz+ at 21:9 1440p resolution with max settings in the majority of modern titles (keep in mind, 21:9 1440p is much closer to 4K than it is to standard 16:9 1440p in terms of performance overhead), with scaling performance at lower resolutions: 144Hz+ at 16:9 1440p, and 240Hz+ at 1080p. Regarding workstation tasks, when overclocked, the 10700K goes blow-for-blow with the Ryzen 7 3700X and has only marginally worse performance compared to its bigger brother, the Core-i9 10900K, and the Ryzen 9 3900X. The primary use-case for this rig is gaming, but it is also more than enough for those interested in things like content creation.
Best Core-i7 10700K ITX Gaming + Workstation PC Build – The Parts List
|CPU||Core-i7 10700K||$410||Top-tier games performance, reasonable productivity performance, and excellent thermals ideal for ITX systems.|
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-U9S||$60||Simple installation and unquestionable reliability from the world's premier air cooling manufacturer.|
|Motherboard||MSI MEG Z490I Unify||$300||Supreme VRM design and thermal performance that will also give excellent support for even the 11th Gen Core-i9.|
|Memory||G.Skill Ripjaws V 32GB DDR4-3600 CL16 (2x16GB)||$150||While unnecessary for gaming, 32GB allows for extreme multitasking across multiple displays on top of great workstation task performance.|
|Storage||500GB Samsung 970 Evo Plus M.2-2280||$120||Ample storage for your most frequently played games and blazing fast OS installation/performance.|
|2TB 2.5" Samsung 860 EVO SSD||$300||Optional additional storage that allows for absolutely massive media libraries, and the ability to start playing with even 8K video footage.|
|Graphics Card||EVGA RTX 2080 Super 8GB XC ULTRA GAMING||$760||The 2080 Super will allow for 144Hz+ gaming at 16:9 1440p and at least 60Hz+ at 21:9 1440p (closer to 4k than actual 1440p in terms of overhead) with Max settings.|
|PC Case||Ncase M1 V6||$210||This SFF enclosure is arguably the blueprint by which most of the other successful crowdfunded cases have based their design. Ultra premium build quality, excellent space optimization, and best-in-class thermal performance.|
|Power Supply||Corsair SF 750W 80+ Platinum||$315||Excellent construction, and 750W with an SFX power supply ensures you can upgrade to the most power-hungry next gen components.|
|Case Fans||2x Noctua NF-A12x25 120mm PWM||$60||Two bottom intake fans for optimal GPU thermals in the Ncase. Par for the course with Noctua, amazing air flow and noise performance.|
|Thermal Paste||1g Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut||$9.25||Incredible thermal performance with extreme ease-of-use, 1g is also just enough for a single application for your CPU, and your GPU if you choose to replace the factory TIM.|
|Additional CPU Fan||Noctua NF-A9 92mm PWM||$17||Adding another fan to the NH-U9S ensures the best possible air cooling performance in the Ncase, period.|
Where gaming is your primary concern in this mini-ITX build, the Core-i7 10700K is one of the best options available, especially in SFF cases. Opting for the 10700K ensures cool temperatures in most small form-factor enclosures, without sacrificing your FPS, while still retaining the ability to push a high overclock.
Intel’s 10th Gen K-Series processors received some intriguing manufacturing improvements such as a shorter overall die, thicker IHS, and higher quality materials, which lend to their remarkably well-behaved thermal performance. However, better thermals here ultimately come at the cost of drastically increased power consumption, because the TDP for the 10700K can reach upwards of 245W when overclocked.
Note: If you can afford it, and you want the absolute best CPU for gaming, this build also easily supports the Core-i9 10900K.
While there are plenty of 240mm AIO coolers that would work in our build, we’ve decided to opt for ease-of-installation and absolutely no concern of catastrophic failure (though that is admittedly very rare with AIO coolers nowadays). The Noctua NH-U9S is, unequivocally, the best air-cooler that fits in the Ncase M1 V6.
You can rest assured that your 10700K will stay nice and cool, even during AVX workloads, and that you won’t have to fuss with the potentially frustrating cable management that comes with the additional tubing and leads of an AIO unit.
Your platform is one of the most crucial components in any build, next to the CPU and PSU, and here we have been blessed with the MSI MEG Z490I Unify. The superb 12 Phase (8+1+1+2) VRM here adds to the excellent thermal performance you’re going to need when looking to build an SFF rig. We also get fantastic features like USB BIOS Flashback (for things like updating your BIOS when the next generation of processors releases), and a Clear CMOS button that makes resetting an unstable overclock ultra-simple.
Considering the Ncase doesn’t have much visibility for your fully-assembled system with its ventilated metal side-panel, another pro is the utter lack of RGB lighting and completely blacked-out aesthetic.
This board is the main reason you can also opt to spend a bit more on the 10900K in this build, and still push it to the absolute limit in an SFF system. Additionally, you have an upgrade path to the flagship Rocket Lake processor when that inevitably launches.
Given that we want this build to also double as a viable workstation, we have selected a 2×16 G.Skill Ripjaws V 32GB DDR4-3600 CL16 memory kit. Currently, 32GB is significantly more than you need for gaming, and more than adequate for getting started in programs like Adobe Photoshop or Premiere, and Blender. Though games may soon start to require more RAM, especially as the new generation of console hardware matures and developers learn to take advantage of more resources.
Luckily, we’re able to spring for the extra system memory here thanks to the drastic reduction in storage prices across the board over the past few years. You need no longer fear excessive multitasking across multiple displays, or having more than one Google Chrome tab open!
For our boot drive, we have selected a 500GB Samsung 970 Evo Plus M.2 nVME SSD. With blazing-fast read/write speeds, you’ll have ample storage for your OS and most frequently played games.
For general storage, we have a 2TB 2.5” Samsung 860 EVO SSD. In the interest of keeping things small and fast, one additional SATA SSD allows you to remove the 3.5” drive mounting bracket from the inside of the Ncase, and still have the storage for a massive media library. You’ll also have some room to play with even 8K video recordings, which can have file sizes up to 6GB per 90 minutes of footage!
If you don’t have an interest in any serious productivity, you can drop the additional 2.5” drive, upgrade to a 1TB Samsung 970 Evo Plus M.2 drive for $80 more, and put the savings towards an Nvidia RTX 2080Ti instead of…
The EVGA RTX 2080 Super 8GB XC ULTRA GAMING. This 2080 Super from EVGA provides an excellent cooling solution that still manages to fit in the Ncase, on top of EVGA’s stellar warranty and customer service.
With this card, we’re able to run games comfortably at 60Hz+ with maxed-out graphics settings even at 21:9 1440p. As we mentioned previously, 1440p Ultrawide is much closer to 4K than standard 16:9 1440p when it comes to performance requirements, and is where cheaper options like the Nvidia 2070 Super or Radeon RX 5700XT struggle a bit to push high FPS in games without sacrificing visual quality.
The crown jewel of our build has to be the Ncase M1 V6, a very successful, and extraordinarily premium, crowd-funded SFF mini-ITX enclosure. The most recent iteration, the V6, has been dramatically improved with features like a much better-ventilated side panel, a GPU support bracket, the ability to remove the front I/O for improved GPU + Radiator support, and a host of other tweaks and conveniences.
The Ncase is the best possible SFF enclosure for running high-end components like even the Core-i9 10900K and Nvidia RTX 2080Ti, with minimal compromise on airflow and cooling. Space optimization is best-in-class here too, with incredibly well-thought-out internals. The only other serious contender for the best overall premium ITX case would be the LOUQE Ghost S1.
Neither the Ncase or LOUQE are manufactured en masse, so you may need to wait for a new production batch to start to pre-order them. If you don’t feel like signing up for email notifications and waiting for a shipping-date, check out the Lian Li TU150. Lian Li does the manufacturing for the Ncase M1, so the TU150 has many similarities. While the TU150 is not quite as small or well-optimized, you can stuff even a Noctua NH-D15 in this thing!
Note: If you decide to purchase the TU150 instead, you’ll need to swap out your bottom intake fans for slim variants. You’ll want to opt for 2x Noctua NF-A12x15 PWM fans.
However, If you don’t mind the wait and are dead-set on the Ncase, be sure to check out their website and place your pre-order, or sign up for email notifications since they quickly run out of stock!
Powering our little spaceship is the Corsair SF 750W Platinum. Corsair has, arguably, the best power supplies on the market with products like their 80+ Titanium Rated AX Series, and they offer that same level of build-quality with their SF Series as well.
The SF 750W does many things here: the inclusion of premium sleeved cables makes cable management in the Ncase much cleaner, and the 750W total power means there is no component you won’t be able to run/overclock. The 80+ Platinum rating also allows those prone to leaving their machines on for extended periods to save a bit more money on their power bill in the long run. Furthermore, we’re virtually guaranteed to be able to support the power requirements of the next generation of Intel and Nvidia products.
Not something you should overlook or skimp on, especially in SFF builds! For the absolute best acoustic performance and airflow, we have to go with Noctua. As the Ncase doesn’t allow for the best view of your internals, their signature color-scheme also doesn’t particularly matter if you’re not the biggest fan of brown.
First, you’ll want to purchase an additional 92mm NF-A9 PWM fan for your NH-U9S. A small investment here provides significant thermal performance improvements and has zero issues fitting in the Ncase.
Then to round out our cooling hardware, 2x120mm NF-A12x25 PWM fans to install as bottom-intakes for your GPU. The well-ventilated bottom panel of the Ncase is already excellent. Still, the addition of intake fans means you won’t ever have to worry about your GPU thermal throttling even when overclocked.
Finally, we need some great thermal interface material (TIM) to bring everything together. While the NT-H1 compound included with the NH-U9S is impressive in its own right, we recommend picking up 1g Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut for slightly more efficient heat-transfer between the IHS of your CPU and the U9S’s cold-plate.
After you’ve installed your CPU cooler using the Kryonaut TIM, you may want to consider replacing the factory TIM on your 2080 Super as well. GPU manufacturers seem to have learned their lesson regarding placing stickers over one of the screws that attach the PCB to the heat sink, and something as simple as replacing the thermal paste for your GPU won’t void your warranty with EVGA.
The consistency of Thermal Grizzly’s Kryonaut is super “thin,” and very easy to work with. Whatever method you think is best for CPU TIM application should suffice, and we recommend using the included mini-spatula to spread the remainder on your GPU die evenly.
Congratulations! You’ve now got one of the best Intel ITX systems that money can buy.
As PC hardware continues to improve and shrink, many users are turning to SFF ITX systems to save tons of space on their desks without sacrificing any significant amount of performance. If you find yourself wanting something smaller and have been eyeing the 10700K, we’re confident you’ll be proud to own an exceptional build like this.
Have you joined the SFF community or decided to build with the new i7? Let us know in the comments section below, and as always, thanks for reading!