Wanted to build a cost effective AMD based desktop to be used for home lab virtualization, games, and media editing. Decided to start fresh, clean off my entire desk surface, take parts from a spare desktop (HD 6950 GPU, HDDs, and 950W PSU), and start all over with this machine. I built with future upgrades in mind for the memory and additional GPUs in crossfire. I think this was a good start.
MB and CPU - Asus M5A99FX PRO R2.0 pairs perfectly and is often bundled sale with the AMD FX-8350 4.0 GHz 8-Core. Installation of the CPU and the motherboard went off without a hitch. I really appreciated the availability of SATA ports and open design of this.
RAM - Kingston Beast 16GB DDR3-2133 in retrospect was a bad choice in the sense that it is clocked too high for the motherboard to take full advantage of. I was slightly worried with regards to compatibility but in the end everything worked perfectly from first boot. The motherboard does have a dedicated button for Memory checking and compatibility configurations, but as it worked right out the box, I decided to just leave it be.
Disk Drives - For my main partition I went with the Samsung 840 Series 250GB SSD. This is my first SSD and I can already tell the difference in performance. I am incredibly pleased with it. The kit came with mountable brackets and screws for use as an internal drive. Also of note I took my other desktop's Seagate Momentus XT SSD Hybrid and mounted to the same bracket for installation in this machine. Lastly I transferred over two Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB drives from the old desktop and will likely purchase more to set up in a RAID in this new workstation.
GPU - I'd previously had an XFX Radeon HD 6950 (2GB variation!!) and so installed that. Moving forward I either will go the cheap route and purchase another HD 6950 for crossfire configuration OR, go BIG and purchase an HD 8970 or 9970 with the intent to one day purchase another of whichever I get for crossfire.
Case - This is by far, hands down, the BEST tower I have ever worked with. Tigerdirect had a discounted deal from 320ish to 180 after rebate. At first even then I didn't want to spend that much money... But now, I am so happy I did. It is refreshing to build a machine and actually have that extra wiggle room to be able to work with. Not to mention as well, the design and layout of it all seems as if it was just made for cable management in mind. The hot swappable SATA drives is a nice touch and easy to install, and then lastly of note, the 3x200mm case fans with removable cleanable air filters is amazing. It runs quietly and keeps everything cool. No complaints whatsoever here.
Optical Drive - I purchased this BluRay/DVD/CD Writer optical drive based on the sheer popularity and number of reviews online. It was an affordable price and was easy to install. I wish that LG would bundle with the drive some sort of software suite that would allow for playback of BluRays. As Windows 8 does not natively support playback, I am now going to have to go purchase software somewhere. No big deal though, as I imagine whatever drive I did buy, I'd have the same issue.
**UPDATE 2/14: Just installed my XFX Black Edition Double Dissipation R9 290 as well as connected my 3 Dell UltraSharp 24 inch 1920x1200 monitors and set things up in 3x1 Eyefinity 5760x 1200.