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College Gaming Build (First Build)

by FlyinRyan



Date Published

April 6, 2014

Date Built

March 21, 2014

CPU Clock Rate

4 GHz

GPU Core Clock Rate

954 MHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

6.008 GHz


Edit 8/10/14: Switched out ASRock Motherboard and AMD Processor for MSI and Intel.

Edit 12/21/14: Couple of more changes: Case fans added for silence (took off fan from the H60 as it was rather loud). Also received a K70 RGB for Christmas in place of my sidewinder X4, and got a HyperX Cloud headset for my birthday. Added asus optical drive for the cheap cost and the convenience. Mostly everything else is working as great as day 1. Only issue is the front microphone/headphone connections on the R4 don't always recognize devices.

Edit 3/11/15: Switched out the two 120GB SSD's for one 250GB SSD. Reason below.

Edit 4/5/15: Traded one of my old 120GB SSD's for a set of the same exact G.Skill RAM that i already had. Found it on craigslist and the guy was happy to do the trade. They are pretty close to the same price, so it worked out well for both of us. This puts the system from 8GB to 16GB.

This is my first build, used mainly for gaming. Other than that, just simple things like youtube, office, and facebook. Before building this I didn't know much about building computers. The most extensive work I had done on one was changing out some RAM. Watched a lot of build videos and product reviews and finally decided on the parts you see here. Went for a red, black, and white color scheme. Even after having this built for a few weeks, I can't think of anything that I would have done differently. Pics taken with my Galaxy Note 3.


CPU: AMD FX-8350: I was considering an Intel CPU, but I couldn't justify getting one for the price. This CPU had everything I was looking for at a nice price tag. Have not overclocked yet, but I plan to in the future. Changed out for i5-4690k which is currently clocked at 4.2 GHz. For me, having fewer faster cores is more important that more slower cores.

CPU Cooler: Corsair H60: Does a very nice job cooling, and will be just fine when I finally get around to overclocking. Temp fluctuates between 15-25 on idle in HWMonitor(i hear this CPU gives out weird temp readings when not under load). After running prime95 for about 30 minutes, I never saw temps above 40 degress.

Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer: Has everything I need. Raid support, SLI support if I add another GPU in the future. Haven't messed around with the OC Tweaker at all but hopefully it's friendly. Let's not forget that this guy looks great! Changed out for MSI Z97-G45 for CPU swap.

Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws (2x4GB): Does everything that I need it to. Ripjaws X was sold out when I bought my parts or else I would have gone for that. Goes with color scheme.

Storage: Samsung 850 EVO 250GB (2x)Samsung 840 EVO 120GB SSD and WD 1TB HDD: Bought one of the SSD's a while back for my laptop and decided I wanted more SSD storage, so I just got a second one and put them in RAID-0. It was tough to figure out how to set it up, but I got it done! These guys are FAST. No way I could ever go back to having my OS on a HDD. The hard drive is for music, movies, and games. RAID wasn't all I thought it would be. Yes it was fast when booted up, but it was causing slower boot times to start the raid controller. My roommate wanted to switch to an SSD, so I sold him one of mine and put the other one on Ebay. Got myself a Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD to replace them.

Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 780 OC Twin Frozr: This baby is FAST, and while I haven't tested it on a lot of games, it has handled everything I've run on it with no issues. Once again, goes very nicely with my color scheme. Able to run most games on a 5760x1080 resolution as well.

Case: Fractal Design Define R4 w/ Window: Clean, sleek look. Pretty big, but looks great and no problems getting anything to fit. Only problem with it, is the front fan controller causes the computer to freeze if switched while it is on. May also be a problem with the power supply?

Power Supply: EVGA 650W: Gold certified and does fine for everything in the build right now, but if I SLI in the future this will definitely have to be upgraded. Gotta say, this was the most beautifully packaged piece of equipment that I received. The red 8-pin connectors for the video card are also a nice touch for this build.

OS: Windows 8.1 Pro: My momma said she would buy my OS for me so I wouldn't get one illegally <3 Would have preferred windows 7, but since she was buying it I went for 8 Pro because it was cheaper with my student discount.

Wireless Network Adapter: Will only use this during the summer when I can't have ethernet running to my room, otherwise it's wired most of the time.

NZXT Hue: This was a breeze to install and adds a great touch to my PC for a reasonable price. Have it on red most of the time but the ability to switch to any color is great. The lighting effects are also a nice touch.

Keyboard: Microsoft Sidewinder X4: It looks great, and the programmable macro keys are nice. The gloss background attracts quite a bit of dust and fingerprints however. Keys feel a little stiff compared to my last keyboard, so hopefully they break in after a while. Once again, red LED's. I mentioned that the keys were stiff of the Sidewinder X4 and if anything they got worse. Absolutely hated this keyboard. Ended up getting a Corsair Vengeance K70 RGB for Christmas '14.

Mouse: Logitech G600: I actually just got this today, but my initial impressions on it are great. I have rather small hands, but it fits my hand perfectly. Customization on this mouse is great. Let's not forget the red LED's ;)

Monitors: (3x)Dell S2409 Wb: Stole the first one from my dad when I came to college about 2.5 years ago. Got the second about a year later off of eBay, and got the third one a few months ago. Had them all hooked up to my HP ENVY 17 laptop. Got the stand off of tykesupply when I got the third monitor.

Speakers: Logitech X-530: Got this set off of craigslist for like $25 a few years back. Hasn't let me down yet!

Well that's about it guys. Let me know what you think. Post praise, hate, suggestions... I'm open to any feedback! Thanks for checking it out!

Comments Sorted by:

Vorago 1 Build 24 points 57 months ago

Just wanted to say you should be careful messing with built-in overclocking software. Often times they leave the voltage as adaptive and it shoots up while overclocking and causes huge heat spikes and instability.

Better to just learn about manual OCing and hop into your bios for some slow and safe OCing, pushing the voltage up only as high as it needs to go.

Also +1 big time for an awesome build!

Akut 1 Build 6 points 57 months ago

+1 This post. Probably the best OC advice you can give. Just keep pushing the clock up bit by bit and stress test after each increment. Once you hit instability, give the voltage a tap, re-test, rinse, repeat until thermals won't allow you to go further. That being said, the 8350 OCs like a beast...

FlyinRyan submitter 1 Build 1 point 57 months ago

The OC Tweaker that I was talking about is in the bios. I have a friend back at home who is much more experienced with computers than I am, so he's going to help me out. Thanks for the advice!

ellirocker24 1 point 56 months ago

Samething for CPU Level Up feature in Asus ROG Motherboards?

LedWeappelin 2 Builds 7 points 57 months ago

Very clean build for a first timer. Nice job. Those youtube videos paid off. I learned much from there as well, especially Linus Tech Tips. Could not have configered my SSD and HDD without him.

FlyinRyan submitter 1 Build 11 points 57 months ago

Linus was definitely my best friend for a while XD. Thanks!

DaSheepDontLie 6 points 53 months ago

+1 because "Momma"

iwant2buildstuff 4 points 57 months ago

Probably the most expensive college build I've ever seen = Rich parents or lots of debt!

But seriously, great build. Brilliant case, mouse, gpu, processor, cooler, RAM, storage. My only issue would be not getting a 2TB main HDD for that price but there's always cloud options like Copy, Dropbox and Mega for that!

FlyinRyan submitter 1 Build 4 points 57 months ago

I was going to set my limit at $1,000, but I had a couple of lucky nights at the casino which paid for over half of this build. Decided not to cut corners after winning all of that.

Yes I am in a lot of debt. I am going to school for Pharmacy, and this is such a small fraction of what I'm going to have to pay in the long run. I figured I'd have fun with it while I'm still living on campus and don't have rent or anything to worry about.

There is also a 1.5TB external SSD you can see sitting on top of the case in a few pics, so that's a bit more storage as well.

iwant2buildstuff 3 points 57 months ago

Aw! I'm sorry about the debt - that's why college is a bad option (just kidding... or am I?)

That external SSD makes sense! Nice.

figgypuddin 2 Builds 1 point 47 months ago

There are affordable schools and programs that are more employable then others. Pharmacy pays well even if you were a Walmart pharmacist. Can't say the same for a 100+ grand art or psychology degree though.

GMAN-DV8 1 Build 3 points 57 months ago

It came out really nice man +1

GalliumBeryllium 1 Build 2 points 57 months ago

Such a fresh build. Good job on it my dude. +1

jacobs4525 1 Build 2 points 57 months ago

Lol gotta love the NEX 650G. Mine came in a little mini tote bag thingy inside the box. You're right about the excellent packaging.

hitmaniac 1 Build 2 points 57 months ago

very slick and clean build for that price.

Ofcourse +1

juheebus 1 Build 2 points 57 months ago

Chair seems out of place for a $1600 build :P... Jk i have a crappy chair too

FlyinRyan submitter 1 Build 2 points 57 months ago

Hahaha I hate it! It's what they give me at school :(

Norm101 3 Builds 1 point 57 months ago

Beautifully done. It should be used as an example to many others whose first builds aren't nearly as neat and clean. +1

Ludamister 1 point 57 months ago

Looks very similar to my build! I'm almost done getting everything together. Hopefully I'll be done by next month.

Why did you get only 240GB of storage? Don't you feel that you might run out of space sooner than you think?

FlyinRyan submitter 1 Build 1 point 57 months ago

There is 240GB of SSD storage, 1TB of HDD storage, and 1.5TB of external HDD storage. Good luck with your build!

mallocunbounded 1 Build 1 point 57 months ago

Is the video card able to drive three monitors without using an active displayport adapter?

FlyinRyan submitter 1 Build 1 point 57 months ago

It's actually able do to four. I tested it with the three monitors you see here and had my TV hooked up as the fourth (with a displayport to HDMI adapter)

elvenson 5 Builds 1 point 57 months ago

I'm just curious why you used an amd cpu with this priced build...

FlyinRyan submitter 1 Build 1 point 57 months ago

I don't do anything that is too CPU intensive. Where is this CPU going to limit me? So far it's been fantastic

elvenson 5 Builds -3 points 57 months ago

It's the older technology in the motherboard for that cpu that I consider to be the biggest drawback. The amd boards so far are running on old tech standards... Pcie v3, usb3, sata3, and a few other features are lacking compared to a z87 board. Plus future upgradability is nil for cpus on that socket.

juheebus 1 Build 1 point 57 months ago

It's fine. Most of those things have a little impact on performance anyway. I have an i7 4770k and z87 motherboard and intel is changing the socket again this year. So much for upgradeability.

elvenson 5 Builds 1 point 57 months ago

Again? Or do you mean the lower power soc chips that are meant to replace atom and light server duties?

1150 is supposed to get at least one more chip release last I looked... I'm hoping for 2 though so I can skip one.

juheebus 1 Build 1 point 57 months ago

Yea my bad there should be another release but there will most likely not be another. The performance increase probably won't be that great anyways so it's probably not even worth it unless you have an i3.

username22 1 point 57 months ago

Epic build. For $1600, you managed to put together an epic high performance build.

Yevgeniy_Onegin 1 Build 1 point 57 months ago

+1 Great Build Some similar to mine http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/b/LKN

Pencil465b 1 point 57 months ago

I wouldve gotten a h100i or h110 because those 8 core amd cpu's get hot. Awesome build though!

shadowbeh2 1 point 57 months ago

dat surround sound.

alextargaryen 3 Builds 1 point 57 months ago

Very nice build!! Excellent part choices! My only question is why did you go with the H60? You could've gotten a Hyper 212 Evo with less than half the money for the same performance, or get a Noctua NH-D14 for the same price but a bit better performance. Great build though, +1!

FlyinRyan submitter 1 Build 2 points 57 months ago

I chose the H60 because I'm a huge fan of the low profile look of water coolers. I realize that I could have gotten probably the same performance out of something cheaper but this cooler had great reviews from a very trusted company, so it's what I settled on.

alextargaryen 3 Builds 1 point 57 months ago

ok, fair answer! :)

Keralis 1 point 57 months ago

That chair o.O lol But nice build +1

venomousjester 1 point 56 months ago

Excellent build my friend. Are those stock 140mm fans in the front or Corsair? Also hows the GPU underload?

FlyinRyan submitter 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

Thanks! Haven't tested the GPU in a while but it was somewhere around 70-75 degrees under load. The two fans in the front are used for intake; they are the stock case fans. The cpu cooler is the only exhaust.

JontyP 1 point 56 months ago

Haha the chair made me laugh.. lovely build though - well done :)

Ryan721 1 point 56 months ago

Very strange! Both our names are Ryan, and im actually going to build a computer for college and im using the same mobo (but z87), psu, and gpu. Haha but nice build! +1

Sh4dow_Ph4ntom 1 Build 1 point 54 months ago

holy crap... my build is going to be near identical to this one other than a couple of components lol.+1 for definite

hardcorelap 1 point 54 months ago

Go to ninite.com to get a windows8 start.

WWarriorz51 1 Build 1 point 53 months ago

Hm did the wires not covered by the mesh come colored like that or did you color them yourself? i have the 750 watt bronze version and the uncovered wires are like yellow lol

badger50100 1 point 52 months ago

awesome build and tips for college?? lol

Cooperlc 1 Build 1 point 52 months ago

Hey, nice build. I am thinking about building my own pc and was just wondering where you got the red psu cables from.


FlyinRyan submitter 1 Build 1 point 51 months ago

The red cables came with the power supply. Some were red, some were black.

BobbyGuzman 1 point 51 months ago

Lots of lights, confirmed first build.

GeorgeBD 1 Build 1 point 44 months ago

Used correctly lights do make a build shine :P not making an awful pun here, they make the build nice.

Elvyn 1 point 50 months ago

Does the CPU Cooler come with a fan?

fignewton202 1 point 49 months ago

I'm doing a build much like yours there is a compatibility error that says the mother board may need a bios update to support the cpu i was wondering if you ran into any problems with this?

FlyinRyan submitter 1 Build 1 point 49 months ago

I haven't had any compatibility issues with the CPU and motherboard in my build. Good luck with your build! All of the products in my build have been great for me.

fignewton202 1 point 49 months ago

Great thanks

chrisouyeung 1 point 45 months ago

Why not a GTX 970 4gb instead? As it is only around $350?

FlyinRyan submitter 1 Build 1 point 44 months ago

This was built well before the 900 series GPUs came out.

GeorgeBD 1 Build 1 point 44 months ago

Great build! Fantastic cable management! You did a really good job OP!

EDIT: I forgot to mention, I had bad experiences with EVGA PSUs, SeaSonic is the way to go, however, saying that, I have a Raidmax Vampire in my current build XD

hunter95xx 1 point 42 months ago

wait are you the guy that does the helicopter/quadcopter reviews on youtube?

FlyinRyan submitter 1 Build 1 point 42 months ago

Nope! Sorry to crush your hopes and dreams.

linnoff 1 point 40 months ago

I can tell you that with my R4, the built in fan controller has no effect on the rest of the system, nor should it. All of your case fans should be plugged into the fan controller connections (unless you have more than 3) and your fan controller should then be plugged into a molex from your psu. If you're getting freezing from switching the fan speed then you hooked something up wrong.

FlyinRyan submitter 1 Build 1 point 40 months ago

I didn't hook anything up wrong. The problem was with my power supply not liking the 7 volt setting on the R4. It worked fine on the 5v or 12v but whenever I switched to the 7v it would freeze. I have since switched to a corsair air 540 case because I found one for a very good deal. Made a few other changes too and will be updating this build with new pictures and the new items.

itsmajesty 1 point 33 months ago

The two fans in the front, are they set for intake? Are they enough to keep the graphics card cool?

IMSOLOST420 1 point 32 months ago

Nice build for a college build. I bet u r the envy of all your dorm mates. This looks amazing. Very cool

newbee_in_pc 1 point 27 months ago

What did you do in your cooler h60 corsair intake or exhaust?

LukePRTR 1 Build 0 points 57 months ago

you should still be able to sli with that psu and oc. because its more power efficient. +1

Akut 1 Build 6 points 57 months ago

If it was an intel board, with an intel CPU, yes, a 650 COULD handle a second 780, but AMD parts are power hungry (125W vs 84W i7 4770k). He also has extra hardware in there (lights, CPU cooler, more than 1 storage device)

The 780 has a TPD of 250W @ stock. So SLI would draw 500W (under load). Add in CPU (125W), drives (10W), MOBO (1-5W), and additional hardware (5-25W) and he will quickly blow that PSU, or at the very least make it whine like a little B$%*.

FlyinRyan submitter 1 Build 3 points 57 months ago

This. I'd rather have plenty of breathing room than risk my other components

elvenson 5 Builds 1 point 57 months ago

Damn straight.

LukePRTR 1 Build 1 point 57 months ago

I understand.

petarpetar367 -1 points 57 months ago

i saw that your power supply fan i faced down and on the floor you have carpet DON T DO THAT because your power supply can OVERHEAT AND GET BURNED

FlyinRyan submitter 1 Build 1 point 57 months ago

I disagree. On this case there is a fan filter beneath the power supply. This is very, very short carpet, and there is plenty of room for air flow between the bottom of the case and the carpet. It's actually probably better for it to take in the cool air from the room than the warm air from my case.

petarpetar367 1 point 57 months ago

nevermind it still a carpet and have dust that can interupt psu work

Medio 2 Builds 1 point 57 months ago

i believe in this case the PSU is not actually flush with the case bottom which does allow it to take in some case air if needed.

petarpetar367 1 point 57 months ago

it will be beter if you put computer on a hard surface

petarpetar367 1 point 57 months ago

but still very nice build with this lightning :)