This is my first major build for myself. I normally help others out. Part of what guided my decision on some of the components were the major sales going on at the time.
I've had the machine loaded with Windows 8, which I acquired at school for dirt cheap. I like it so far. 6 months in, and it has handled everything I've thrown at it. Not a huge PC Gamer, but it runs Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider at max specs.
The main reason I built this guy was to run architecture software, which are just as demanding, if not more so, than games. I actually looked at the recommended specs to Lumion (http://lumion3d.com/) and kinda went from there. Runs pretty smooth, and not very loud.
Breakdown of the components
CPU - No complaints
Cooler - Was pretty huge, barely fit in the case. (Do your research if you're picking one up) But works like a charm, looks cool, runs quiet. Was gonna go with liquid cooling, but I'm not much of a risk-taker, especially since I'm just a grad student with a budget and a ton of debt :(
Motherboard - Very good insulation, a solid design, and keeps the dust out. Dust covers for unused ports were a nice addition. My only complaint were the optional fans that came with it. Tiny little things were noisier than the CPU Cooler. Really high pitched sound, bugged me. Read about it in the reviews, and yeah it's pretty annoying. So I just took them out. All good now.
Memory - 16gb is good for my current needs. I've still got two free slots to go up to 32gb.
Storage - Huge fan of the M4s. This is my 3rd. Have one on my HP Envy 15. Thing is blazing fast. If you haven't switched over to solid state, DO IT!
Video Card - Only complaint is I wish there were more output options, with only 1 hdmi, 1 dvi, and 2 mini display ports. But some cheap mini display to DVI converters from amazon solved that problem.
Power Supply - Does it's job. No complaints.
Optical Drive - Good cheap bluray player. Running VLC Player with Bluray Plugin. If you want to avoid paying for PowerDVD and other bluray-compatible software, VLC is always the way to go (http://vlc-bluray.whoknowsmy.name/)
Case - I LOVE IT! More than enough space, decent cable management, good ventilation, easily removable hdd slots (plastic holders, but durable), the ammo box-like handles make it easier to carry, and it looks great. While the olive drab green version with military decals looked cool, I always go with black.
I'll post pics of my current setup soon. Waiting on a new 23" Acer monitor (Currently have a samsung 22" Syncmaster TV which I'll keep, and an old Dell monitor which I'll be tossing out soon.) May order a second acer to run 3 monitors once the tax refund comes in (w00t).
Hope you all dig my rig.