Well, since my girlfriend moved in a little over a year ago... she's been using this frakenstein that I threw together for her. https://pcpartpicker.com/b/CJd6Mp
It worked decent enough for her tiny 720P monitor, but once she graduated to a 1080P 24" her GPU really struggled. She quickly got tired of the hand-me down I gave her, so of course she wanted to build her own.
She's really racist, so the computer had to be white. (I'm totally kidding) With a budget of 1k we were gonna be hard pressed to fit in everything she wanted, so we had to really hunt down the deals. (I ended up helping her a tiny bit with <$100)
And as a heads up; She never truly decided if she wanted her white computer to be lit with a blue or purple glow, so I bought her an RGB light kit so she could change it depending on her mood... lol. Just so you know why its sometimes blue and sometimes purple.
When she was selecting parts, she was VERY picky with their looks. EVERYTHING had to match the color scheme and everything had to be cosmetically to her liking... which was sometimes difficult because I wasn't going to let her pick out something entirely worthless... you should have seen some of the PSUs she wanted lol!
She did allow some time for bargain hunting, and conveniently enough we have a micro-center near by. Microcenter by far had the lowest skylake prices, and offers $20 off mobos when you buy a qualifying cpu (which skylake is). There we also got an open box hx750 for the same price as some lesser psu we were going to get. Got the RAM there as well.... it's not the greatest but she liked the look and RAM is RAM. She fell in love with the Mobo as soon as she saw it, and I've got to admit it is pretty damn slick. Not to mention it goes great with the case.
GPU we picked up on newegg a little bit after the initial build was created. I talked her into waiting for black november sales and I'm glad she did. Picked up the 970 SC ACX 2.0 with the EVGA backplate AND the free game for under $300. HELL OF A DEAL.
The Windows was gifted to her from her GPA who gets copies for free through his work. Really helped the budget with that one.
Monitor was refurb on newegg for $90. It's really nice.
She liked the keyboard because of the membrane, cosmetics, and RGB.
CPU cooler was another cosmetic choice. It's horrible bang for buck, but it really does look nice.
I did the iffy stuff like the end part of cable management and installing the CPU cooler/paste. She did over 80% of the build herself, I just guided her over her shoulder.
This ******* case guys. Wow.
I had absolutely no idea the hype about the phantom cases was all it was cracked up to be. Working in this thing compared to my corsair 300R was like a trip to the bahamas. The phantom is built like a ROCK! EXTREMELY durable and very spacious. Cable management was nothing but a breeze in this baby. Everything just ******* worked with no problems. My big hands were very grateful.
The performance difference between haswell and skylake was negligible, but if she's starting from scratch we saw little reason not to go with the newer platforms.
Her computer maxes out all the games she plays at 1080P 60hz... so she's more than happy. GTA V, witcher 3, fallout 4, and battlefront are the most demanding games she plays atm.
I overclocked the CPU and GPU just to break 10k on firestrike... then I dropped everything back down to stock because she doesn't need any OC yet. It maxes everything at stock settings (with turbo enabled) http://www.3dmark.com/3dm/9380587
(pics of 660ti were from when I was testing another gpu)
SSD will be put in around Christmas...but she doesn't know that yet;)