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New 13900k Build - Should I replace my gaming server or go portable? Portable build nerds, I need your help and mobo recommendations!


Budget (including currency): Unlimited (within reason, i think spending $500 on a motherboard is insanity, but I've been out of the game for many years)

Country: US

Games, programs or workloads that it will be used for: High-end AAA games, max settings.

Hey all, long time viewer but first time posting. I've been out of the parts game for years aside from GPUs and I'm still running a Core i7 2600K with my 3090. Yeah you read that right. Soo..

Looking to start a new 13900k build for gaming since I got one for a steal. Will be paired with my existing RTX 3090 FE - OR - my 3080 FE, and possibly my 1000w eVGA PSU. I need recommendations for:

  • Motherboard (ATX or ITX - see below)
  • DDR5 ram (unless DDR4 is provably faster)
  • A modern, clean-looking case (see below)
  • Radiator - Ideally an NZXT RGB AIO kit like this one. I'm not sure if a 280mm would properly cool a 13900k but I have seen results that indicate it might do fine.

Here is my half-baked PC Parts Picker list.


Motherboard Requirements:
Either z690 or z790. I am leaning z790 for better DDR5 support. I dabble in overclocking but am not an expert. I was able to get my existing 2600k stable at 4.8Ghz on air, to give you an idea. I doubt I will be overclocking the 13900k unless I do a server build, the cooling allows for it, and it's dead simple. Requirements are listed in order of importance.

  • z690 or z790
  • mATX or ITX, depending on if I go server or portable on case (see below)
  • NVME M.2 Slots: At least 2. M.2 slots. As many as possible. I am not versed on lanes but will be using Gen3 NVME drives for now. Possibly one Gen4 later.
  • SATA Ports: At least 4, depending on case. Ideally 6.
  • I/O: As much I/O as possible. Minimum of 6 of the latest USB 3 ports (A). I can't keep up with all the 2x2 Gen 2 bullshit - whatever the best is. At least one USB-C port, ideally Thunderbolt 4. Two, or an additional front panel one would be nice.
  • Thunderbolt 4 (ideally).
  • Sound card that doesn't suck. I've heard the baseline AC8xx isn't any good, but idk. I use this for music a lot and need a clean signal but I'm not "tube amp audiophile snob" level.

RAM requirements:

Leaning DDR5 as I have been seeing lately that it seems to be faster than DDR4 now and I don't mind spending the extra cost. I don't want to start a debate but if I'm wrong and DDR4 is provably faster in a certain scenario, even by like 8%, I would go for whatever is faster regardless of cost. Could use specific recommendations here. RGB would be nice.


Case Requirements:

I'm gonna be challenging here. I currently have an Antec Mini P180 mid-tower with up to 6x 3.5inch HDD's in it for games and movies and so forth. Some just laying on the bottom of the case. lol.  It doesn't move often and functions as a server and my gaming rig, as I managed to cram my 3090 in there. I haven't decided whether to decomission this machine or leave it as a server yet. What this new build turns out to be will dictate that. That said, I am waffling between a portable build with a handle or something I can take to friends's houses to show them VR, or just build a larger server/gaming rig like I currently have.

That said, for looks, I like glass and NZXT's styling to give you an idea. Modern and clean, but lots of front panel I/O is good. Latest USB-C and a couple USB-A's at minimum ideally)


If I go server: I'd want something similar to what I already have but with glass. RGB is always good too but I could add my own.

  • mATX or a small ATX case - mid-tower at most.
  • At least 4x 3.5"  internal drive bays
  • Some kind of glass - full side panel(s) ideally
  • 5.25" or slim optical drive compatibility (please recommmend drive if slim)
  •  2x USB-A, 1x USB-C front I/O


If I go portable: Something like a dancase with 3.5" drive support. As small and/or portable as possible, must fit in a suitcase and not weigh a million pounds. Glass is fine. A handle would be nice.

  • iTX
  • At least 2x 3.5" internal drive bays
  • Handle would be nice
  • Some kind of transparency or glass would be nice, RGB is always good but I could add my own.
  • 1x USB-C front I/O

I know that was a lot. If you guys can help me find my unicorn parts I'd appreciate you forever. I'm not averse to rewards of merch or a small toy for someone who obviously spent some of their valuable time helping!




nzxt kraken z63.jpg

core i9.jpg


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As a start a 13900k STOCK needs like TOP OF THE LINE cooling. Its an insanely power hungry cpu. When you unlock its boosting limit it becomes a 280w+ heat output monster.


Also overclocking like the old days has been dead for years genuinly just leave the 13900k at stock and undervolt it to make the heat more manageable.


A great 280mm aio like a liquid freezer II is JUST enough to keep it at stock with a socket fix plate for lga1700 but this is no guarantee.


Itx builds with a 13900k are extremely hard and usually end up with a larger case to accomodate cooling dor the 13900k add a 3090 FE in there and well a 280mm aio isnt gonna do it anymore with the way that gpu yeets heat


Id make your old pc the datahoarder nas (remove the oc and make it nice and efficient) and go for a mid tower pc case.


You could get a small atx riotoro or similar case just make sure it has mesh and then install the beefiest aio that fits. If you like nzxt cases get the flow ones the normal ones are big heattraps



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I don't have any precises recommandations but to me, mATX is pretty much a dead mid-range between ITX and ATX. It's just a odd spot between two things that does what they do much better. 
Also saying "portable" but still requiring 3.5" driving bays... Idk about that, it feels a bit much to ask in my opinion. 

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Yeah, I know I'm asking a lot - why I'm here 🙂 Hoping there's a diamond in the rough somewhere, particularly for the case.

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