I decided to get back to my roots of PC gaming after hearing the first rumors about the next consoles and seeing the WiiU stumble out of the gate. Always-online DRM? Locking out used copies of games? All of this stuff sounded incredibly restrictive, and I was already getting tired of shelling out $50 per year for an Xbox live subscription and having to deal with a dashboard full of advertisements. I spent a lot of time in the late '90s and early 2000s as a primarily PC gamer, and I find a return to those roots attractive. So I set out to build a beast of a gaming PC last Autumn. I knew from the get-go that this machine would be used almost exclusively for gaming; I have an Android tablet to use for instant messaging, e-mailing, browsing Reddit, etc. After months of research and plenty of help from the guys at r/BuildAPC this is what I ended up with.
From the very beginning I knew I wanted to build a machine in the NZXT Phantom 410, particularly because of the fact that I love the way it looks and it always seemed to have ample bells and whistles as far as cable management was concerned. Another reason for my preference was the fact that I planned on keeping the case on top of the desk, which pretty much ruled out a full-sized case. From the very beginning, the Phantom 410 was a strong preference of mine, and I found the gunmetal to be a less ostentatious choice rather than the others available, yet still unique enough to set it apart from all of the other black on black cases out there.
I knew from the beginning that a big focus of this build would be the GPU. The Sapphire Radeon 7970 seemed a highly suggested choice among those more knowledgeable than I, yet still within the range of what I was willing to spend. So I went with that. Not much to say there. I'm not well-schooled in the technical aspects of what separates one card from another, so I went with what most people seemed to tout as a very high-powered graphics card.
A bit later in the research process I found the idea of overclocking not only to be applicable to my situation with gaming, but also fascinating in essence. Like tuning a car, you can fiddle around with settings until you've reached an optimal balance between stability and performance. I decided that I'd like to try my hand at it, and I was recommended the Gigabyte UD3H motherboard as a solid board to overclock with. This is also where the unlocked CPU and the aftermarket cooler came from.
Very late in the process I decided that I'd rather spend the money to go with an SSD-only build as well. I found the idea of having one larger, more expensive SSD to be very attractive and convenient rather than managing two separate drives. I don't store much media (Facebook for photos, Spotify for music, and Netflix/HBO Go for movies), so the 500 GB storage space should be plenty for me. If I still require more, I've got a 500 GB external HDD sitting in my desk drawer that I can always break out. I've only ever used HDD, and I was totally blown away by the speed with which an SSD operates. I don't regret my decision whatsoever.
The bluray drive was a cost effective choice that I made. It wasn't totally necessary, but I watch a ton of movies, and I wasn't sure I wouldn't later regret losing the option to watch them on my PC in the future. So I spent the extra $20 or so it cost me to go with the bluray drive rather than just the DVD drive.
The name, as several have mentioned in the comments, comes from the famous Gallic chieftain who managed to unite several large tribes of Gaul but was defeated by Julius Caesar and later executed after years of imprisonment. I have to admit, though, that I chose the name for purely superficial reasons. I just like the way it sounds.
Please note that I realize that these pictures are really rough, so I'll be adding a bit more photos in the future shot with a digital camera rather than my Samsung Galaxy Note. I'll try to get a finished shot of the case with better cable management, and the full battlestation itself.
That's about all I can think of at this point. Any other questions/comments/suggestions, please feel free to comment. Thanks for reading!
Edit: Shortly after this build was completed, I replaced my Microsoft Sidewinder rubber dome keyboard and my old Alienware mouse with a Quickfire Stealth mechanical keyboard with cherry MX blue switches and a Roccat Savu. Very happy with both purchases, I have since added both of them. I also should have mentioned in here that I'm running this build on a ViewSonic 24" LED 1080p monitor. Added that part, too.