Need help with mid price range mobile gaming PC

So, I got my friend into PC gaming a little back. I just gifted him some games on steam I had and he became obsessed. He had an asus all in one, now he has an asus i7 laptop. But when we play borderlands 2 he kinda loses out on the experience because his settings are so low and he gets shitty fps. So lately he's been contemplating just giving in and building a tower. Thing is, if he gets a tower he'll be hauling it around a ton. He's got a couple places he usually stays at and would wanna be able to use at them. I was thinking getting a monitor mounted on've got an Asus 1366 x 768 18" monitor w/speakers I'm going to be contributing to the cause as well as a Mac G4 keyboard and whatever else I can stumble across. But yeah anywho this thing's gotta be small and built for the occasion. 

Here's what I've come up with;

GPU: HIS R9 270, because it's all you'll ever really need at the resolution of the monitor, and he wants to take a go at bit/litecoin mining once he would build it. It's got pretty decent benchmarks and I've heard a lot about it being really good for mining. I think this card would fit just about perfect. It's also small and doesn't consume much power, which is a big focus on this build since I can only imagine the places he's going to be hooking this thing up at and I wouldn't want it to blow a fuse if it was on an older circuit like I've got at my house, or for it to use up too much power wherever he's using it at. 

SSD: ADATA SX910 128Gb, just for the efficiency of an ssd, and since all of his junk storage is all on and external. So the SSD would just have his OS and some frequently ran programs. If it actually came down to him running out of memory from programs I'd just give him an old one I've got laying around. I just know after his past however many 5400rpm laptop hdd's it's about damn time for him to get to experience the speeds of an ssd, and finally not being the last one to get in every game. Plus he's not that much of a power user anyways, so that 128gb honestly wouldn't be too bad for him. There's not really anything he does besides download games and music, but alla' the music would be on the external anyways. So it'd never be getting clogged up with nonsense like I always seem to let happen on my 2Tb hdd.. It also makes less heat, noise, and consumes less power. So I think it could definitely fit this build reaaaal naaaas

CPU: Newest gen i3, has very low power consumption, is affordable, is LGA1150 so it's got future possibilites, and should be plenty for the games he'll be playing. I'm also pretty limited as far as AMD goes since I'm looking for a micro or miniITX. I really do feel like the raw power/cores in an AMD cpu rather than a lower end intel cpu would come in handy if he were to try doing any streaming/large multitasking/run any servers, or try his luck with overclocking, but I feel like intel is the obvious choice for this type of a build. Just not sure how the i3 stacks up anymore with games gradually being optimized to take better advantage of the extra cores. But I was thinking the hyperthreading would suffice, well at least perform well enough until he'd be ready for upgrading to something along the lines of a 4670k

Mobo: Has tons of features, usb3 headers, wireless chip, and a bunch of overclocking options if he wanted to speed up his ram/gpu or got an unlocked cpu.

Cooler: small, quiet, cheap, sounds good to me. Was contemplating going with a single fan liquid cooler.

Case: I really like the looks of it, it's got a clean look to it rather than an overkill attention getter one. It's also got a lot of air flow possibilities and would have plenty room for cable management and whatnot with an itx board. Not %100 about the psu fitting though..or without a fight at least

I'm sorta rusty with getting a parts list together, but I think I hit about every spot as far as aiming it towards his personal needs.

What I'm trying to get out of this list is;

-It being fast enough for the newest titles

-Be small and sturdy enough for being hauled around

-Easy on power consumption


-Space for mounting a monitor would be a plus

-Wireless internet

-Good temperatures when running more intense programs

-USB 3 headers

-Future upgrade benefits

-Capable of doing some small time litecoin and bitcoin mining

-Best prices possible yet still checking every box

-Good psu for cable management in a smaller case

There's probably other things to consider that I completely neglected though, so feel free to get creative!


His game library mostly consists of cod:waw, borderlands 2, counter strike source, combat arms, diablo 3, and elder scrolls online. Besides that all he really plays is random disc games he comes across or random games he was gifted for whatever reason. Those are all games he can play NOW though, with the new pc in the mix it'd probably change that list a bit, so I'm just looking for an all around pc. Nothing aimed towards one certain area. 




I'm fairly certain BitCoin mining with a GPU, even a high-end Radeon, is a futile task with the introduction of ASICs. I believe the difficulty is so high, that if you try to mine with a GPU, you'll pay more in power costs than you'll make in Bitcoin. I'm not very familiar with LiteCoin however, so I'm not sure if GPU mining is feasible for LiteCoin.

With that said, I think that particular GPU might be overkill, and Nvidia might have a more appropriate option. I gifted my brother my old GTX 650 (along with AMD FX 6300), which struggles to muster low to medium  at 1080p, but breezes through every game he plays at high to maxed settings at 1440x900, which includes Borderlands 2 (tested this one myself, maxed settings with maintaining well above 60FPS), Fallout NV, TF2 (mods), heavily modded Minecraft, Garry's Mod, Bioshock Infinite (actually don't know what settings he uses for this one - he has GeForce Exp., so I'd imagine he gets a good experience form that), Just Cause 2, and just a plethora of games. so I think you can go for those lower tier mainstream GPUs, such as the GTX 750 (Ti), and be perfectly fine at 1366x768 while keeping power consumption and heat way down. The Radeon alternatives provide a better bang for the buck, but not as easy with power consumption and form factor

I would NOT recommend an after-market heatsink if the computer is going to travel a lot; either ride out stock cooling, or go with an All-In-One water cooling kit. If you want to go heatsink, make sure to get it south of 450g (the lighter the better), and has a solid, custom mounting system, with a backplate to minimize strain on socket. I had a Zalman CNPS 9900ALED, and it did not survive shipping at all (person I was shipping to did NOT want to install cooling, so I hoped "fragile" would make it safe... I think "fragile" means throw box harder than normal). I think the CNPS 8900 might be safe, but I haven't had personal experience with it. Again, the lighter, the better.

I think you're on track with the Core i3; intel has the small form factor market dominated because of their iTX options, and lower heat output. I also think AMD's Kaveri APU's are a bit expensive to recommend strictly for gaming; if your friend utilizes programs that can make use of OpenCL, Mantle, or in any way benefit from the HSA architecture, it may be well worth the premium, but strictly gaming, AMD's Kaveri APU's are a difficult sell, and Richland's x86 cores leave more to be desired. The Richland based Athlon is a solid entry level CPU at $80, and leaves an upgrade path to Kaveri/Steamroller if installed on FM2+ socket, but the lack of L3 caches hurts performance in modern games, and I haven't heard of a release date for the Steamroller based Athlon, or the lower-tiered Kaveri APU's, so the i3 might be a better option, but it also costs quite a bit more than $80. The gist of it is AMD has options, but I think Intel might be the best fit unless your friend utilizes OpenCL/HSA.

I'd suggest taking a look at this case.


Comes with a 500w gold 80+ PSU, and will end up saving you a bit of money.

I might do something along these lines...

This looks good - love that case. But I would swap the i5 for an i3 and grab a better GPU.


1366 x 768 is an odd resolution. I would suggest grabbing one that has native 1080p resolution instead. There are lots to choose from that aren't too expensive and the visual quality is worth it IMO.

That being said, the parts you've chosen (i3 + SSD + R9-270) will be more than enough. You could use a much less expensive 80+ bronze PSU instead and save a few dollars (Corsair CX 430w).