First Build, PC for college + gaming

Approximate Purchase Date:
Need the rig to be set up and functional by August 25th

Budget Range:
$800-$1000 or cheap as possible, there is some wiggle room. I just want to make sure it can play Skyrim maxed out at 40+ fps. PC+Monitor+OS+keyboard+mouse should not be more than $1100

System Usage from Most to Least Important:
Gaming, Photoshop, schoolwork, surfing the internet. Biology major so no powerful 3D engineering programs (that I know of).

Parts Not Required:
The usual mouse/monitor, etc. I am very open to suggestions though!

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:
Any *realiable* websites, preferably Newegg


Parts Preferences:
If it gets the job done for a reasonable price I like it. I don't really favor AMD over Intel for CPU's, or AMD over Nvidia for GPU's, whatever works.

No idea, probably not

SLI or Crossfire:
Doubt it

Monitor Resolution:
1920x1080, Full HD

Additional Comments:

Basically I am going to be a freshman at college this coming September and I need a computer. At first I was thinking a gaming laptop, I did a ton of research but they degrade quickly, cost a lot because of the portability, and weigh far too much. I am thinking along the lines of powerful desktop + netbook for note-taking. I open to ideas here as well. I would love to be able to play Skyrim on ultra at at least 30fps, I think this is feasible because I saw a laptop at $1000 with a GTX 560m that could play it on high at 40fps. This is the first time I will have ever built a computer, so I really don't know what I'm doing. My biggest concern is that I will mess something up and render an expensive part non-funcitonal. I really do appreciate any suggestions/advice/tips/links you guys have to offer, I hear this is the best community. Thank you!
10 answers Last reply
More about first build college gaming
  1. Here you go:

    Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 - $59.99
    PSU: Seasonic M12 II 620W - $89.99
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H - $149.99
    CPU: 3.1GHz Intel Core i5-3450S - $199.99
    RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 - $42.99
    HD: 1TB Seagate Barracuda ST - $99.99
    Optical: Lite On DVD Burner - $17.99
    Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 - $169.99 ($10.00 MIR)

    Total: $825.92 - $10.00 MIR = $815.92
  2. For $800, get this:
    Mobo Asrock Z77 Extreme4 $90 combo'd with 3570K
    CPU 3570K $190
    RAM 8GB DDR3 $44
    GPU Sapphire 7850 $260 --> overclock it
    HDD Samsung/Seagate 1TB HD103SJ $80 after promo
    DVD Burner $18
    PSU XFX 650W $68 ($53 AR)
    Case NZXT Tempest 210 $55 (HAF 912 lacks USB3.0)
    Hyper 212 EVO

    = $805

    If you don't live near a microcenter, then go with the above build.
  3. Thanks for your replies guys. I don't know much about desktop GPU's, anyone know a good link to read up on them?

    Sidenote, this case seems good:

    I can wiggle a couple hundred bucks, how much improvement would that be? Thanks
  4. That is a basic case that has ample cooling, so it should be good, even better if you think you will never need USB 3.0. Will you?
  5. I am embarrassed to say it, but what is USB 3.0? I hear it's just a faster way to transfer files, if that's all it is than it doesn't really matter.
  6. USB 3.0:
    Implementation Differences Compared to USB 2.0

    The USB 3.0 specification uses the same concepts of USB 2.0 but with many improvements and totally different implementation. Earlier USB concepts like endpoints and four transfer types (bulk, control, isochronous and interrupt) are preserved but the protocol and electrical interface is significantly different. It is so different that the specification defines a physically separate channel to carry USB 3.0 traffic. The changes in this specification make improvements in the following areas:

    transfer speed – added a new transfer type called Super Speed or SS – 5 Gb/s (electrically it is more similar to PCIe Gen2 than USB 2.0)

    more bandwidth – instead of one-way communication, USB 3.0 uses two unidirectional data paths: one to receive data and the other to transmit.

    power management – U0 through U3 link power management states are defined.

    improved bus utilization – a new feature is added (using packets NRDY and ERDY) to let a device asynchronously notify the host of its readiness (no need of polling)

    support to rotating media – Bulk protocol is updated with a new feature called Stream Protocol that allows a large number of logical streams within an Endpoint.

    USB 3.0 has transmission speeds of up to 5 Gbit/s, which is 10 times faster than USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/s). USB 3.0 significantly reduces the time required for data transmission, reduces power consumption, and is backwards compatible with USB 2.0.
    Architecture and features

    In USB 3.0 dual-bus architecture is used to allow both USB 2.0 (HIGH Speed/LOW Speed/FULL Speed) and USB 3.0 (Super Speed) operations to take place simultaneously, thus providing backward compatibility. Connections are such that they also permit forward compatibility, that is, run USB 3 devices on USB 2.0 ports. The structural topology is the same, consisting of a tiered star topology with a root hub at level 0 and hubs at lower levels to provide bus connectivity to devices.
    Data transfer and synchronization

    The SuperSpeed transaction is initiated by the host making a request followed by a response from the device. The device either accepts the request or rejects it. If accepted then device sends data or accepts data from the host. If the endpoint is halted, the device shall respond with a STALL handshake. If there is lack of buffer space or data, it responds with a Not Ready (NRDY) signal to tell the host that it is not able to process the request. When the device is ready then, it will send an Endpoint Ready (ERDY) to the host which will then reschedule the transaction.

    The use of unicasting and the limited multicasting of packets, combined with asynchronous notifications, enables links that are not actively passing packets to be put into reduced power states, allowing for better power management.
    Data encoding

    The "SuperSpeed" bus provides a transfer mode at 5.0 Gbit/s additionally to the three existing transfer modes. The raw throughput is 4 Gbit/s, and the specification considers it reasonable to achieve 3.2 Gbit/s (0.4 GB/s or 400 MB/s) or more.

    All data is sent as a stream of eight bits which are scrambled and then converted into 10-bit format. This helps to reduce electromagnetic interference (EMI). The exactly opposite process is carried out at the receiving end. Scrambling is implemented using a free running Linear Feedback Shift Register (LFSR). The LFSR is reset whenever a COM symbol is sent or received.

    It is still going to be tethered to 16 feet (maximum) cables with active repeaters for extended lengths. So far, USB 3.0 still runs on copper cabling with most likely the same inherent limitations.[1]
  7. I hope you copy/pasted that haha
    I may need it in the future, but I doubt it.
  8. Then keep your case. :)
  9. Awesome, and crap I just realized windows 7 costs $110 :(
  10. Windows 7 home premium is only 100 dollars on and I think that you don't need a higher version of windows 7, because your not going higher than 16GB's of RAM, and you just don't seem to need the capabilities of a higher version.
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