My first custom built system and fourth one to date. I got tired of my old computer- a Dell AIO which was very slow for video editing and media conversions. I put together the entire build within months and didn't want to wait around Black Friday for the parts. I failed to stick to my budget of $600 because I got a Core i5 instead of an i3 and drop the FX 6300 because I couldn't find any good mATX board for it that had a front USB 3 header, PCIE 3.0, and Sata 3 6gb/s. The other options was to go to a FM2+ platform, but I didn't want to deal with expensive ram when gaming with an APU.
CPU - I went with a Core i5 instead of the i3 because quadcore is much suited to my needs. There was little price difference between the Haswell refresh than the first gen. It's also the sweet for gaming and it handles the tasks I throw at it very well
CPU Cooler - I could have saved more money if I stick with the stock cooler, but I wanted something more quiet and I barely hear any noise when I'm doing light tasks like browsing and streaming music.
Mobo - I wanted a board that has many features so I went with the H97 chipset which is less than it's Z counterpart. The M.2 slot is the primary reasons why I got an MSI board because I could add 10 gb/s ssd in the future and it will really help with the cable management.
Memory - went with one stick of 8gb rather than the usual 2 sticks of 4gb. This way I can max out the ram
SSD - can't go wrong with Crucial, fast and affordable. I will upgrade to an M.2 storage and add a mechanical hard drive in the next months or so.
GPU - I went with an R9 270 rather an R7 265 for the price were the same and is much powerful. The card is really fast for under 200 dollars.I can't run games in 1080p on maxed settings because my current monitor only can go up to 1400 x 900
Case - went with a Nanoxia DS4 because it was the only case the met my criteria; minimalist, mATX and quiet. I chose the white version because it isn't a dust magnet compared to a black case and it looks a mini fridge. Wished the power led button was blue instead of green, but it isn't a deal breaker as the case sits under the desk. The modular hdd cages was a plus so they can be removed if I want more space for airflow or if I get a long gpu in the near future.
PSU - can't go wrong with a modular power supply from Corsair. 500W is more than enough to power the system. With a mATX case, the less cables there is the better cable management. The 24 pin connector was the hardest to route because of the thick cabling and barely went thru the case's rubber gromets.
Optical drive - Simple dvd drive for installing the OS and ripping DVDs and CDs. I will add another drive preferably a Bluray reader in the future
OS - I was debating between Win 7 or 8 and got the lather because it uses less resources and much quicker when booting up from a cold start. The lack of the start menu is a bummer, but I hope Microsoft will release an update fix.