System Usage from Most to Least Important: Basic Tasks, Gaming, Audio Editing, Graphic Editing, Streaming, Video Editing, Linux
Parts Not Required: Mouse, Keyboard, OS.
Preferred Website for Parts: No preference.
State/Country: New Jersey, USA.
Parts Preferences: No preference.
Monitor Resolution: 1366x768 (current resolution) or better.
+ Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black).
+ Games: League of Legends, WARFRAME, DC Universe Online, etc.
+ I don't play games all that often, but when I do play, I'd like to be able to play at decent settings.
+ I need a monitor added into the budget. Depending on the cost of the whole, I might consider buying another to use a dual-monitor setup.
Editing programs benefit from strong CPUs. I'd get an i5 for your build, lowering the graphics card to a R9 270X or R9 270 in order to get it. In a gamer, you'd probably choose an i3 with a stronger card, but since you have specified that gaming is secondary, go with the stronger CPU; you can always upgrade the graphics card later.
You'll want 8GB of RAM in a 2x4GB configuration (for dual-channel mode). Actually, if budget demands, you could drop all the way down to a GTX750Ti or R7 265 and play on "decent" settings.
Something tells me I'm not doing this right... Can anybody help me out with a good example build that fits my criteria, or some advice on how to monumentally whittle away at my current build's price tag?
Ok, that's not a bad effort, and hits most of my points, but there are a few things you can change that will shave the cost.
A locked CPU (non-K version) will run just fine on a cheaper H81 or B85 board; the Z87 is an overclocking motherboard, which you won't need; that will cut the mobo cost in half.
Then, you won't need the aftermarket cooler since you won't be overclocking, saving more money.
Put some of the savings into a quality PSU, such as XFX; the Corsair "CX" (and other cheap) versions was made using some inferior Samxon capacitors that degrade rapidly when subjected to heat.
So... a build like this would be worth the $800 or so price tag that I'd be purchasing it for in a few weeks or months? Do you think the build will last the changes and usage that a good four years of college will bring to it, even if I periodically update it? And would building it be a good choice even though I've really never done anything to the interior of a computer before (even though I've been using computers nearly all my life)?
I just want to get as much assurance as possible that building a PC is a good alternative to buying one from the store or a boutique retailer, both to calm my slight uneasiness about the concept and my parents' reluctance to purchase instead of have me craft my own.
There are a lot of good build videos on YouTube. If you have even modest eyesight and dexterity, you should have no difficulty building a PC.
That PC ought to last for a while, yes. You may want a video card upgrade some time along the way, but that will depend on the games you'll be playing and the settings you like.