The Fractal Design Black Box PC case takes all that you know and love from commercial jet black boxes and brings it right to your home. Seriously though I do love this case; it's very built very well. The case is mostly metal so it's very rigid; plus there are lots of options for cooling and expansion. I got the case for 65 dollars on sale and at that price it's a steal.
I built this PC a few months ago after quite a bit of research. I'm very happy with the system but there is always some buyers remorse after the fact. I wanted to stay under 1200 dollars; so I was going for as much performance as a could for the money. I went with AMD because my previous system was an AMD and I've always been a fan of their products. Haswell was not out yet so I was comparing this to Ivy bridge. AMD delivered similar performance in games and motherboards were just a little cheaper.
I went with the h100i for cooling and it does an amazing job. G. Skill Sniper's are recommended a lot and for good reasons; good timings and 1866mhz for the same price as 1600mhz ram. Samsung SSDs get pretty high praise and they are priced aggressively. Good ole Seagate barracuda 2TB for storage and games. I went for the Sapphire Vapor-X 7950 because the 7950 compares quite well to the 7970 when overclocked and it was easily 100 dollars cheaper at the time. Went with the Corsair CX750m power supply because it was semi-modular and priced pretty well. Lite-On DVD drive which I have used less than 5 in all this time; can really see why people don't even bother with them anymore.
Given what I know now I would probably go with a Haswell based system. The new z87 motherboards are awesome and Haswell despite the reduced overclock potential is still quite the performer. If I was still on a similar budget I would have ditched the h100i for a decent air cooler and dumped the extra cash into more important components. I would change the power supply for either a Seasonic or at least something made by them; Antec, another Corsair, XFX, etc. Prices tanked pretty hard on AMD graphics cards because the new ones are right around the corner I could have easily slipped a 7970 into the budget or even went nuts and got two 7950s for 100 more.
My monitors are 22" wide screen Dell's that are several years old; max resolution of 1680x1050. For peripherals I have a Leopold mechanical keyboard with brown switches and a Steelseries Sensei Raw. Future upgrades would include another 7950, a 1440p monitor, and fans for push/pull on my h100i. The extra fans would mostly be for better air flow out of the top of my case for when I grab a second graphics card.
Edit: New power supply. The CX750M just wasn't cutting it. Have to test it some more to see if there is something wrong with it or if it was just inadequate for my hardware.
|CPU||AMD FX-8350 4.0GHz 8-Core||$179.99|
|CPU Cooler||Corsair H100i 77.0 CFM Liquid||$99.99|
|Motherboard||Asus M5A99FX PRO R2.0 ATX AM3+||$124.99|
|Memory||G.Skill Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866||$67.99|
|Storage||Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" SSD||$94.99|
|Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM||$84.99|
|Video Card||Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB||$284.99|
|Case||Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 (Black) ATX Mid Tower||$64.99|
|Power Supply||XFX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V||$79.99|
|Optical Drive||Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer||$14.99|
|AMD FX-8350 4.0GHz 8-Core Processor|
|CPU Clock Rate||4.8GHz|
|CPU Temperature While Idle||-|
|CPU Temperature Under Load||-|