I was finally convinced by a friend to build a gaming PC after my PS3 finally bit the dust. I wanted something as powerful as his, that is, that could play any modern game at maximum settings at 1080p, but without breaking the bank. After it being on my mind for over a year, I got a nice paying job to finally fund my new toy. I should also note that this is my very first time building a computer, so the cable management is a little rough. I did try my best!. I need wires for the PSU that aren't so stiff to make it really look nice.
CPU: I didn't need the the power of the i7. The i5 should be able to handle anything that I can throw at it, and coupled with the graphics card, do very nicely in Autodesk Inventor for school. Also, since I got the k I can explore overclocking later.
CPU Cooler: I was originally set on a water cooler like the Corsair H100i. But after learning that for less money, I can get equal or better performance out of an air cooler I decided to look into it. Since appearance was not really an issue with this build since the side panels do not have windows, and this is a pragmatic build, I bought the Noctua cooler with two fans from a friend for $60.
Motherboard: Not much to say about it except that I liked the features it has, and it's not a bottom of the barrel board.
Memory: 8GB should suffice. The memory just barely clears the massive cpu cooler.
Storage: I decided to start with a 1tb hdd, but eventually I want to add an ssd to put windows on.
Video Card: I was first set on the MSI 770 Lightning, but the card was sold out EVERYWHERE I looked. I then settled for the Gigabyte OC card with 2gb of vram...but when I went to buy it, it was either really expensive ($475+), or out of stock. So I "settled" for the EVGA FTW ACX Cooler 4gb card. I love the design and it gives me room to grow as I add monitors or eventually another 770.
Case: I liked the minimal design, but it wasn't something that everyone had. Plus, it went on sale for $83 at NCIX. However, I had a terrible experience with that company. After my case came in damaged, I was given the run around for SIX WEEKS to get a new one. Often going days between emails or any sort of correspondence. I was a day from requesting a refund or disputing the charge if they would not do that. I would have gladly paid the extra $20 to have an undamaged case six weeks sooner. I will not be doing my computer shopping from anyone but Amazon or Newegg thanks to this experience.
PSU: Went on sale, and a decent PSU. Certainly not top shelf, but it'll get the job done with what I'm running. If I ever go SLI I'll probably upgrade the PSU as well.
Monitor: Decent ratings a good price. I've been very impressed with this monitor, actually. It's no IPS, but the colors are nice, and the monitor is super thin (~1/4").
Fan Controller: Since I now had extra fans from the broken case, I tossed in a fan controller at the last minute to control all of them. It's a dead simple no frills controller. Completely manual, but just works.
Case Fans: The case came with Bitfenix brand fans. They are very quiet fans. They are not quiet by design I suspect, but they are quiet because they do not spin very fast. These fans have a maximum rpm of 800, so I will eventually be replacing all 4. They just don't move a whole lot of air.
Overall, I'm very satisfied with this build, and it has handled everything I have thrown at it so far.