This was my first build. After much hesitation I finally decided to replace my failing laptop not with another mid-range gaming laptop, but, for around the same price, a somewhat higher range PC. I wanted to be able to play current games at high (or ultra) settings, and get in a few hardware advantages for Photoshop use as well.
So far, it's running great. I haven't properly stress-tested yet, but finally being able to actually RUN The Witcher 2 feels like a triumph. Startup is so fast I repeatedly missed getting into the BIOS at first. It's not very special looking but for the price I feel like it's certainly a capable little machine. (Well, not so little, actually. Next time around I'll try to go for mATX.)
Needless to say, as a first-time builder I ran into a few problems along the way, but thankfully no DOA nightmares or fried components...
... Didn't notice the thermal paste on the heatsink until it was too late and I'd smudged it a little. Temperatures look fine so far though.
... I needed to fiddle with the fan wires on the Intel stock cooler as they were too close to the fan blades.
... Forgot to put in the RAM before mounting the motherboard. Not much of an issue, but it would've been easier to do outside of the case.
... Those cables! Aaargh. The cables that came with the RM650 are very stiff and the "leftover" heads on the peripheral power cables take up space behind the mobo tray. I also had trouble getting some of the power cables into the PSU itself - it took two people taking it in turns to get the motherboard power cable into the PSU, bit by bit (the 24pin end on the motherboard itself was much easier by comparison).
... Not entirely happy with the cable management (that back looks messy...) and the way the GPU is a bit droopy, but after 3 or so hours I couldn't be bothered anymore. If anyone has any ideas what I could improve, please let me know in the comments!
... After making sure that everything was set up correctly in BIOS, I installed Windows - and noticed that while the system recognised 16GB memory, only 3.32GB or so were "usable". Took me an embarrassing 30 minutes to realise that the install disk I had used was, of course, the 32bit version. Installed 64bit and everything was fine.
EDIT 2: Turned the PSU around (fan was facing in the wrong direction). And: Cable Management v2 is here! I cable-tied those stubborn things into submission. Things look a bit less messy behind the motherboard tray now. Also stopped the GPU from drooping by routing its power cable over rather than under the card, then suspending the whole thing with the help of two combined cable ties (a single one wasn't long enough). New pictures added.