First build that was done with my girlfriend about 3 weeks ago. We debated on purchasing online or building, and I'm glad we went this route. Neither of us are gamers (yet) but wanted to start with a solid foundation. The mobo is extremely user/OC friendly and we've gotten the clock rate up to 4.6GHz without even trying hard. Right now we are learning on COD4 and Batman as intros.
What I've learned as a noob is to take your time and really think about the build. What I mean by this is address the 5 Ws, who (who's the build for), what (what will it be used for?), when (when will you have the ideal amount of time to complete it from start to finish), where (to me this is where you want to eventually place the rig. this affects everything from size of casing to componentry) and why (costs, sense of accomplishment, components, etc.). Once you have done that, then take the time to do your homework. Once we had the 'ideal' components list, we actually took a few weeks to price shop some more, to review new tech (Haswell and the GPUs). So instead of two GPUs we purchased one newer one and a newer mobo/cpu. With persistence we were were able to meet our needs without blowing through our budget.
You will never be perfect the first time out but if you prepare you will have less frustration and find solutions more readily. PCPartPicker and its build/comment section, Youtube and Jan S. at MicroCenter of Fairfax were extremely helpful resources and encouraging. The only frustrating thing about this build were the fans. We decided to add and upgrade case fans without researching how they would interact with the mobo (additional fans were an afterthought and goes back to my comments about planning). Our fans are 3 prong and our board takes pwm (4prongs) so we are waiting on adding a fan controller (any suggestions?) in addition to another GPU next week. For reference, we replaced the stock front fans with Cooler Master LED Sickleflows and Megaflow (Blue) for a total of 7 fans (120mm: 2 front, 2 top, 1 bottom, 140mm: 1 back, 200mm: 1 side) along with the Hyper 212 EVO.
We went local, that is, we purchased as much off our list as feasibily possible through MicroCenter for price matching and discounts. We also saved a bit with rebates. Overall, our all in was a little over $1,200, with the GPU being the largest cost.
|CPU||Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core||$180.00|
|CPU Cooler||Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing||$26.00|
|Thermal Compound||Arctic Cooling MX4 4g||$6.98||OutletPC|
|Motherboard||MSI Z87 MPOWER ATX LGA1150||$187.00|
|Memory||Crucial 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600||$54.00|
|Storage||Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" SSD||$89.00|
|Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM||$59.98||OutletPC|
|Video Card||EVGA GeForce GTX 770 2GB||$339.99||SuperBiiz|
|Case||Corsair 500R White ATX Mid Tower||$137.99||NCIX US|
|Case Fan||Cooler Master SickleFlow 69.7 CFM 120mm||$6.99||Amazon|
|Cooler Master Megaflow 110.0 CFM 200mm||$14.97||OutletPC|
|Power Supply||Corsair 850W ATX12V / EPS12V||$65.00|
|Optical Drive||LG BH14NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer||$50.00|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit)||$0.00|
|CPU Clock Rate||3.4GHz|
|CPU Temperature While Idle||28.0° C|
|CPU Temperature Under Load||39.0° C|
|GPU Core Clock Rate||1111MHz|
|GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate||7010MHz|
|GPU Temperature While Idle||28.0° C|
|GPU Temperature Under Load||-|