The ROG Strix Z390-I anchors a small yet mighty build

Nov 02, 2019 Written by:ROG Article

On ASUS Edge Up, we detailed our efforts to build a PC that could handle both playing and streaming the latest games, as well as some content creation, with the stipulation that it had to fit inside of a Mini-ITX case. To get the maximum gaming power into that footprint, we had to make some creative choices. The Edge Up article contains a full breakdown on why we chose each component and a breakdown of the cost, but we’ve got a brief overview and some beautiful shots of the end result.


In order to build a pint-sized powerhouse, we had to start with a motherboard that would fit into a Mini-ITX chassis. The natural choice was the ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming, which packs in nearly all of the features of a larger board, and supports the latest 9th Generation Intel CPUs. Aura Sync LEDs and headers on the board allowed us to add some RGB goodness to the build, too.

The ASUS Turbo GeForce RTX 2080 was an obvious choice for our mighty Mini-ITX rig. The power of Turing can easily handle the latest blockbuster titles and unlocks AI-powered graphics enhancements and ray-tracing for a beautifully immersive gaming experience. Turing's NVENC encoder takes the strain of streaming off of your  CPU and allows you to broadcast and play on the same machine without sacrificing in-game performance. The blower-style cooler on this card was also necessary, as there isn't much room for airflow inside of the case. By routing all of the air out the back of the system, we’ll be able to push this card to the limit without being constrained by thermal issues.


We chose Intel’s Core i7-9700K because it hits the sweet spot for performance while still being easy to cool under heavy loads. Speaking of cooling, we tapped the ROG Ryuo 240 closed-loop liquid cooler to keep our new rig quiet and CPU temps low. Its 240mm radiator can fit nicely into a mini-ITX case, and the Aura Sync lighting and 1.8” color OLED screen let us customize the look of our build and even display useful figures like temperature and voltage information.

Like all Mini-ITX motherboards, we could only use two sticks of RAM for our build. However, our Strix Z390-I supports double-capacity DIMMs. This allowed us to install a pair of 32GB Zadak Shield DC sticks, for a total of 64GB. Their quick 3600MHz speed and Aura-compatible lighting made them a natural choice.


For our boot drive, we selected a 512GB M.2 Intel SSD 600p. Its lightning-quick speeds and high capacity were perfect for booting Windows and installing our favorite games. We also installed a 960GB Toshiba OCZ TR150 SATA SSD to handle our game captures and other large files. 

To power the rig, we tapped Corsair for their RM850x PSU. The unit could easily power our system and featured a modular cabling system—essential for small builds. While the included cables are nice enough, we used a set of custom white-sleeved cables from CableMod to put the finishing touches on our system.


Finally, all of these carefully selected components needed a place to live. NZXT’s H200i case fit our size requirements while still somehow being large enough to house everything we’ve picked out. It even includes an RGB light strip to compliment the rest of our lighted components.

If you want to know more about how we selected the components or how we pushed the CPU to 5.2GHz in such a small build, be sure to check out the full article on Edge Up.