This is my first build ever, with no previous experience in adding/removing/modifying parts (save for adding a 2.5" HDD into my laptop). This will mostly be used for gaming, and well as using Office for school. The build process took me a good part of the day, and was made longer due to a few mistakes (or perceived mistakes) and the lack of room; both are explained below. I do intend to overclock, but I have yet to research it. I just wanted to make sure that was an option in the future. I'll go over all the parts, and why I chose them because there's likely to be a few oddities in my build.
CPU: I got a combo from newegg on the mobo and CPU (-$30.00). Not a huge deal by all means, but I wanted the mobo and the CPU so a discount didn't hurt. I didn't go with the i7 because of the price. I realize the i7 might be a better choice considering new consoles might increase the use of hyper threading, but I didn't want to spend that much to upgrade.
CPU Cooler: Now some of you might ask: "Why not use a water cooler?". And the answer is, I was just uncomfortable doing so. As it's my first build, I didn't want to risk any leaks, closed loop or not. And because I plan to overclock, I needed a fan better than the Hyper EVO I was considering. So it boiled down to the Noctua or Phanteks. And the phanteks were red, so I chose them. As far as the fans go, they're quite quiet (not that I've done anything too demanding), but man were they a pain in the *** to install. As you might be able to see in the pictures, they're huge. And because I decided to put them in before the mobo was in the case, it made placing the cables from the PSU a huge pain.
Motherboard: Compared to other mobos in the same price range, I probably didn't choose the best one performance/feature-wise, but that didn't really matter. Going with the black/red theme (which is common, I know) was something I wanted to do, and I love dragons, so this board really stood out from the competitors. Go asthetics! The bios interface was a lot easier to use than I thought, but I wish it came with more SATA cables, and that the DIMM slots were different coloured (so I knew which ones were used for dual channel). Speaking of RAM...
Memory/ RAM: Really this comes down to colour. I made sure it was red, looked cool, and had a low speed; because apparently that's what you want in order to balance the speed of the processor. Not that the looks mattered, seeing as the fans completely cover the DIMM slots. Orginally, I had the RAM in slots 1&3 because they were closest to the CPU (and least accessible) but the mobo manual showed slots 2&4 when using dual channel. I'm not sure if there's any difference really, but to be safe I moved the RAM a slot over, which is (barely) possible because of the fan.
Storage: I wanted an SSD for the speed, this one was highly recommended. I removed the Momentus from my laptop (it had 500gb before hand), and placed it in a few places. First it was one of the trays, but then I realized it needed another SATA cable (the ones included with the mobo were used for the SSD and optical drive). So I placed it in the xdock; a sort of plug 'n play for 2.5" drives. I assumed the SATA cable running from the front IO was for the xdock (which turned out to be the eSATA). After figuring this all out, I ended up buying another SATA cable and finally connecting the xdock up. Then I had to go into BIOS and enable hot plug for SATA port 1. A little complicated (and never explained anywhere...of course), but I'm glad it's working.
Video Card: Once again red/black with dragons. I didn't buy from newegg because Memory Express was the only place that had the card <$400. I haven't had the chance to really test it yet (still need to get a long ethernet cable), but I'm sure it'll run all the games I have (minus Metro and Crysis 3) on ultra with >/= 60fps.
Case: This case was a blessing and a curse all at the same time. - Blessing: It's a full size case, so lots of room to move around. It even had room for the GPU and CPU fans. It looks awesome and fits the red/black theme well. It feels like a premium case, and had more than enough parts to fit what I needed. It was, for the most part, straightforward. And the IO fan control speed is great. Even when they're maxed, all four fans are barely audible (even with the speakers muted). - Curse: Hooking the lights for the IO panel was never clearly explained. The back fan had a PSU adapter, which needed to be removed in order to be run for fan control. And there was an extra 2 pin fan cable for no reason. Thankfully some wonderful soul put a great picture guide on how to connect everything. The case is also heavy...really heavy. Not anything unmanageable, or something I'm surprised by. I have no problem lugging around heavy laptops (like my asus g74) or desktops as long as they can game well. Thankfully it has a handle on the top for that purpose. Although the shipping was free on Amazon, I ended up getting charged for shipping (it was from the Amazon marketplace, not from Amazon directly) which I was too lazy to notice.
PSU: I chose a trusted brand, and it's 750w in case I plan on running 2 770's in SLI. Other than that, next time buying modular is super important. I had lots of wires I didn't need which took up a lot of space.
Optical Drive: Cheap and trusted brand.
OS: Kind of regretting getting 8. It'll probably be better once I configure it to something closer to 7.
Monitor: Red/black theme (this was completely unintentional though). I wanted a moderate size monitor with a high refresh rate. 1080p is fine for the time being (mostly because I haven't experienced 1440p), and it can play 3D (the GPU also supports it) so I should be good to go if I get the glasses, right?
Keyboard: Red/black theme, and didn't have tons of features I wouldn't use (I'm used to using my laptop's keyboard; no macros or anything). I could have gone mechanical, but most don't backlight in red (unless you have cherry red keys. I find brown more appealing). Plus it was rather inexpensive. It's not chiclet style like my laptop but I'm sure I'll adjust.
Mouse: Just stole the one from my laptop. Simple, without too many features. I'm getting a Corsair raptor m4 for the whole red/black theme though.
Sorry for the poor photo quality (especially inside the case). Feel free to comment! I look forward to hearing your advice (at least I think I do)!