Case: Originally I wanted to mod my old NES, but it was just too small to what we had in mind. I considered the Silverstone Raven RVZ02 but didn't care for the look. I also considered the Lian Li PC-O5X but it was larger than I wanted and full view window was too much for the family's liking. In the end, the Node 202 was just what the Dr ordered. It's sleek, small, and looks like it belongs in a TV entertainment center. Concerning the case orientation, most agree the best for heat dissipation is vertical in the provided stand. I like the horizontal position for aesthetics. To provide a bit more airflow, I put the stand under the case, which lifts it about 3 inches off the surface.
CPU: I went back and forth between I5 and I7. Heat, power consumption, OC possibilities, intended usage, future possible usage. I could have settled for an I5, but I suppose I just like nice things.
Motherboard: Early on I knew I wanted ZI70 over Z97. I have used ASUS motherboards exclusively since the mid-90's and this build is no exception. I did compare against ASRock, Gigabyte and MSI, but in the end none of the others wowed me enough to move away from ASUS.
RAM: Since RAM isn't all that expensive, I went ahead and maxed out the RAM. I needed low profile RAM and the Corsair Vengeance LPX line fits the bill nicely.
Storage: mSSD makes the most sense given the small case. I went back and forth between the 256 and the 512. In the end, I can add up to 2 additional SSDs if/when needed. For now, 256GB is more than enough for OS and a few games. We already have a NAS for big time storage items like movies, pics, and anime.
PSU: In my research, most Node 202 builds utilized the bundled 450W PSU or used the Silverstone 500W SFX-L PSU (which is slightly longer than standard SFX). I for sure wanted a modular PSU and didn't like the extra room the Silverstone took up. Corsair just released their line of SFX PSUs, so I figured I would give them a chance. Initially I had the 450W but later decided to upgrade to 600W since technically my video card says not to use a PSU under 500W.
CPU Cooler: Research, research, research... This case is a heat challenge for sure. I've been all over the place on this. Noctua L9i, Cryorig C7, Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev B, Thermalright APX-100, Silverstone AR06... I was leaning strongly toward the APX-100, however, there are some compatibility issues with the ASUS motherboard I chose. The Prolimatech SAM-17 w/ Scythe fan concept came late in my research and seems to match the cooling profile I am looking for. Depending on the orientation of the cooler, the fan may interfere with two black clips on the case top for the dust filter (dust filter must be removed as well). I had to move the fan over a couple mm to fit and attached it via tie straps instead of the stock screws. I also put some rubber washers between the fan and the heat sink. If you are wanting max cooling power and don't care about noise, get the Scythe 2000 RPM fan. Otherwise, the 1200RPM works great and is much quieter. I will note that the Scythe is not a variable RPM fan. It's running at 100% or not at all. I would have preferred a fan with variable RPM, but given my heat sink choice, there just aren't any variable RPM fans at 12mm. I tried one of my case fans (15mm) but it was too tall.
GPU: The NVIDIA GTX 970 was always my target. For now, all the gaming will be at 1080p. A 980 would be overkill and be much more expensive. I had to add some rubber between the video card and the hard drive cage in the case to support the card's weight and prevent rubbing/vibration.
Case Fans: I considered no case fans since the video card fans would actively pull air in. However, I wanted some static pressure so went with the slim fans to not interfere with the video card. Using two fans means the video card support devices must be removed. Depending on the orientation of the case, a supplementary support like a rubber tube may be needed for the video card.
OS: I was hopeful that Windows 10 Pro 64bit would deliver... and It didn't. I have had many issues connecting Bluetooth devices, driver issues, and DirectX issues. There are some nice features for a HTPC on a TV, but so far its been more of a pain than anything else.
Keyboard: The Logitech K830 keyboard is great. The back-lit key are awesome for a darkened living room and TV watching. Its a solid keyboard and I recommend it for any type of non-desk keyboard situation.