Compact, small form factor, or mini PCs have come a long way in the last decade in terms of power. Nowadays, you can build a beastly yet compact gaming PC that’s as powerful as any full-tower desktop. You’ve also got dozens of excellent small form factor prebuilt gaming configurations in the custom gaming PC market. Even some ultra-compact mini desktop PCs feature mobile CPUs with enough graphical power to run newer games at playable framerates, thanks to recent improvements in integrated GPU technology.
If you’re considering downsizing your gaming rig and are looking for the best mini gaming desktop computer, you’ve come to the right place. Below you can find the best mini gaming PCs, at least when it comes to prebuilt PCs. We have budget models with integrated GPUs, high-end 4K gaming configurations, and everything in between. Do note that going small form factor usually comes with a price premium, especially when it comes to the best prebuilt mini gaming PCs.
If you don’t care about the footprint of your gaming PC, you could check our lists of the best prebuilt gaming PCs under $1000 and the best prebuilt gaming PCs under $1500. Both of those lists feature mid-tower desktops. A sleek, compact keyboard would go great with a mini gaming desktop, and our guide for the best 65% keyboards is chock-full of great options. Finally, don’t forget about the Steam Deck, which is the best portable gaming PC you can get right now and the best choice for many users looking for an ultra-compact gaming PC.
We’re starting the list with MSI’s excellent yet relatively affordable SFF gaming PC. The MSI Trident 3 doesn’t look bigger than a PS5 yet packs very respectable gaming hardware. The CPU in question is the excellent Core i5-12400F, the best mid-range gaming CPU on the market.
The 12400F is coupled with an RTX 3050, a graphics card capable of achieving smooth 60 frames per second performance in 1080p in even the most demanding games with medium or high details. The GPU supports DLSS, making it more usable for 1440p gaming. The PC is also a pretty solid choice for esports 1440p gaming.
The Trident 3 also includes 16GB of dual channel DDR4 3200 memory and a 512GB SSD. Adding a hard drive or packing a larger SSD would be even better since the console-like design makes it harder to open the chassis and upgrade components, and a 512GB SSD will fill out in no time.
Aside from pretty respectable specs, we also like the design of the MSI Trident lineup of gaming PCs. They look amazing. Like beefed-up versions of Xbox One X, only with bolder design and much better hardware.
If you’re looking for a slim, console-like PC that you can place under a TV or in the corner of a desk and used for some light gaming, check out the MSI Trident S. This device looks as compact as the Xbox One S while offering [email protected] experience in newer games.
Such a respectable level of gaming performance is achieved thanks to the Ryzen 5600g APU that comes with a decently powerful integrated GPU. On the flip side, most esports titles and older games should work at around 60 frames per second at 1080p resolution, with competitive settings (read: lowest possible), of course. Excellent news for gamers focused on multiplayer.
Despite its relatively affordable price and small footprint, the Trident S comes with 16GB of DDR4 3200 memory that works in dual-channel. This is important because the Vega 7 iGPU needs dual channel memory working at least at 3200 MT/s for the best performance. The PC also features a 512GB SSD, which we expect to see at this price. Overall, a great little PC and the best mini gaming PC with iGPU.
3. ZOTAC MAGNUS ONE ECM53060C: Best value mini gaming PC
The ZOTAC MAGNUS ONE is the best pre built mini ITX gaming pc when it comes to value. Despite its ultra-compact ITX design, this PC includes a Core i5-10400 CPU and an RTX 3060 graphics card while not costing an arm and a leg. In fact, it can be yours for less than $1500, which is an excellent price considering the miniature size and quite beefy specs.
This CPU & GPU combo is powerful enough for a high-refresh-rate 1080p gaming experience in most modern titles. Even the most demanding AAA games should work at or above 60 frames per second with high or ultra details at 1080p. The RTX 3060 is also a pretty solid choice for 1440p gaming if you’re okay with lowering visual details and using DLSS. Finally, older and most multiplayer games will run north of 100 frames per second in 1080p and 1440p.
You’ve also got a single 16GB stick of memory, which is a slight negative. If you want the best performance, better get another stick of RAM for dual-channel mode. Storage-wise, you’ve got a 512GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive, which should be enough for most gamers and is much better to have than a sole 512GB SSD drive. Overall, the ZOTAC MAGNUS ONE is an excellent prebuilt ITX gaming PC that should be a perfect choice for gamers often on the move.
We’ve got another MSI Trident model, this time the Trident AS, as our pick for the best mid-range mini gaming PC. While pretty similar to the Trident 3 in design, the Trident AS does have some notable differences. First of all, there’s more RGB, and you’ve got a glass side panel. The Trident AS chassis also looks sleeker, with fewer sharp corners. Finally, the AS version has a large mesh opening on one side for cooling the graphics card.
As for the hardware, this is a perfect 1440p gaming machine. The Core i7-12700F is probably the best choice for an ITX prebuilt PC. While almost as fast as the 12700K, the 12700F is much cooler due to its lower TDP. Lower heat generation allows the low-profile CPU cooler to handle the 12700F without issues. Overall, this is one of the fastest gaming CPUs on the market and is coupled with an RTX 3070 GPU.
Together, they can easily achieve a high-refresh-rate 1440p gaming experience in most games with high or ultra details. Even the most demanding AAA titles will work at or above 60 frames per second, with most options maxed out. As for the ray tracing performance, you can achieve smooth 60fps performance with DLSS as long as you don’t crank RT effects to high or ultra. If you only play multiplayer games, you can even game in 4K. If you need a 4K display, check our list of the best 4K 144Hz gaming monitors.
The rest of the specs align with what you’d expect from a mid-range prebuilt gaming PC—16 GB of dual channel 3200 MT/s DDR4 memory and a 1TB SSD. Overall, outstanding performance in a small form factor with a price to match.
If you want the best small gaming PC build for the least cash, we’ve got something for you. The CUK Stratos is a prebuilt SFF gaming machine packing Core i9-12900F & RTX 3080 and costing the same as most mid-tower prebuilt PCs with similar hardware. The gist is that you’ve got the performance without paying the SFF tax. The PC is housed inside a reasonably compact SFF case with a sandwich GPU configuration. While not the best for GPU thermals, the graphics card should not thermally throttle.
The 12900F is a perfect CPU for a mini gaming PC. It’s almost as powerful as the 12900K in games while being much cooler and needing much less power. Even crammed inside an ITX case and paired with a small 120mm AIO, this CPU will stay cool and quiet during gaming. As for the GPU, the RTX 3080 is capable of providing a high-end gaming experience both in 1440p and 4K. In 4K, you’ll probably have to lower some visuals in the latest AAA titles to achieve optimal performance.
The rest of the specs includes 32GB of memory, a 512GB SSD, and a 1TB HDD. Pretty solid aside from the SSD. A 1TB unit would be nice to see in a high-end PC. Overall, the CUK Stratos is a perfect little gaming PC. It’s compact enough to pack it inside a backpack or kept under the TV in your living room, while it’s powerful enough to offer the same level of gaming performance as regularly sized PCs. All that at an excellent price.
If you don’t care about the price and want the best SFF gaming PC in terms of performance and design, take a look at the Corsair ONE i300. What Corsair accomplished here is impressive. They managed to cram both a 12900K and an RTX 3080 inside this ultra-compact, sleek-looking 12-liter case with lots of RGB, and they decided to liquid cool both components.
The flagship CPU & GPU combo should be fast enough for high-end 4K and 1440p gaming experiences. No matter the game, you should run it with all options maxed without issues. You’ll have to use DLSS if you plan on gaming with ray tracing effects, though. Any monitor from our list of the best 1440p 240Hz monitors would go great with a PC as powerful as this one.
Aside from one of the most powerful GPU & CPU combos, the i300 also comes with 32GB of DDR5 4800 MT/s memory, needed for the best possible experience. Regarding storage, a 2TB SSD coupled with a 2TB HDD should be enough space for everyone sans data hoarders.
When it comes to the cooling situation, while we believe that the GPU is cool enough, the 12900K is known for its insane power draw. That said, the CPU is surprisingly optimized in games, so thermals should be in check while gaming.
But if you decide to do some video editing, code compiling, or any other CPU-intensive work, there’s a chance the CPU will start to thermal throttle after a while. Note that you can also get a Corsair One configuration powered by an RTX 3080 Ti, but we think it isn’t worth the price premium.
7. MSI Creator P100X: Mini gaming PC with best design
If you care about the design first and foremost but also don’t have anything against high performance, the MSI Creator P100X might be the best mini gaming PC for you. This is an SFF PC aimed at creators, but the hardware found here is powerful enough for high-end gaming, no matter the resolution.
The Creator P100X is an excellent choice for professionals who like to game and are looking for a compact workstation. Stunning design is the cherry on top. The all-white case uses as much space as PS5 or Xbox Series X, making it a super-compact powerhouse. You can put it in the corner of a desk or place it in the living room, and it would be a perfect fit in both cases.
The system features a Core i7-12700KF CPU. This is a beast of a CPU and the second fastest gaming CPU on the market right now. With that said, we’re confident that, when crammed inside an ultra-compact housing such as this one, the CPU won’t be able to achieve maximum performance. Still, even throttled, the 12700KF is snappy enough for the RTX 3070 Ti found in the MSI Creator P100X.
Together, they are powerful enough for fast-refresh-rate 1440p gaming in most titles. You should get steady 60 frames per second or more in AAA titles and ultra details. This PC is also capable of 4K gaming with medium to high details. And when it comes to older games and multiplayer titles, you should count on 100 frames or more no matter the resolution.
64GB of memory is excellent to have, considering this PC is targeting creators, despite being overkill for gaming. As for the storage situation, a 2TB SSD and a 2TB hard drive are plenty for most use cases. Note that you can add one extra NVMe SSD; good news for content creators working with 4K videos.
If you’re looking for the best cheap mini gaming PC that you can use for playing older games, esports titles, or for emulation, this refurbished Dell 3020 SFF desktop fits the bill. It’s cheap as hell and comes with a pretty solid Intel i7-4770 CPU that can handle even the newest AAA titles, let alone older games.
The GPU in question is a GT 1030, a 2GB version. This graphics card is suitable for playing older AAA games, indies, and less demanding esports titles such as DOTA 2. Newer games can run at around 30 frames per second, with low settings and in 1080p or 720p resolution. Overall, not that bad, considering you can buy this PC for less than $300.
Another huge plus is the 256GB SSD, which should be enough to store your most frequently played games. 8GB of single-channel memory should be enough for older games, indies, and emulation. However, if you want the best possible performance, you can add another 8GB RAM stick and run the memory in dual-channel mode.