It's a fairly entry-level photography workstation. I needed a proper photo editing machine, and I really liked the S340 case. I knew I wanted to build in it.
The name is short for "Workstation One," since this is my first proper workstation. It may be black and white, but there's already too many builds out there named "snow (something)," so I tried to be less traditional. And failed. Even with the name, I can still 'snow' off my build on PCPartPicker (if we're going to go with the snow theme puns)...
TL;DR: I like the look. Fast. Fairly easy to put together (minus a few sections). Now running Windows and Linux on several SSDs.
ANOTHER EDIT: I got fed up with how loud, scratch prone, and poorly thought out the S340 was (having to remove the PSU to get at the drives, the SSD mounts needing flat SATA power cables, poor airflow). I swapped the case for the Fractal Design Define R5 and haven't looked back. This is cliche, but I actually did have to check if the fans were spinning when I booted it up. The drive bays are easy to access, there's actually room to get the motherboard in place... It's amazing. My only problem is that one of the rubber grommets in the cutouts on the top of the motherboard tray came out when I was trying to (carefully) push the CPU power cable through. I tried to put it back, but I gave up since it wasn't causing any issues and the case has a solid side panel.
The laptop I pulled the BX200 drive out of was far to slow without it (barely usable), so I put it back in the laptop. That means I'm down 240 gigs, so I put the WD Blue back in for the Linux /home, but that was too noisy, so I'm down to a 750 gig for Windows and a 250 gig for Linux. Speaking of which, I elementary OS got really glitchy with the video card, so I swapped to Arch Linux. Two things to note here: use the NVIDIA drivers, not the open source ones, because enabling kernel mode setting will stop any video output, and install in BIOS mode if possible. I had no luck with the bootloader in UEFI. Luckily my motherboard supports legacy BIOS mode, so I was still able to install GRUB in BIOS mode.
I swear the next time I do a major upgrade, I'll repost it like everyone else does. This post is getting way too cluttered.
EDIT: Over the past nearly-a-year, it's gone through several revisions. The OS has changed, the drives have changed... Okay, that's not that many things, but it's faster and prettier now that I'm putting elementary OS on an SSD. Speaking of which, the two operating systems are booting off entirely different drives, and I'm using the BIOS to change OS. This should prevent Windows from messing with Linux, although I've noticed that the time in Windows is advanced 5 hours after it was running elementary OS, so I need to figure that out. Hate on it all you like, but I love Linux for its freedom; it's as simple as you want it to be!
While it's not intended or designed for gaming, I have a consumer/gaming video card in it because the Photoshop performance is the same or better as a workstation card, and it's cheaper. Which brings us to Exhibit Two: the parts were chosen mostly on a price/performance ratio, although some parts were swapped and added to make the build look a bit nicer. I know there's a ton of black and white builds out there, but I like it.
Future upgrades: SSD, another kit of RAM (same stuff, but the black heat spreaders), RAID 1 hard drives. Maybe another 970 if I end up using programs that can utilize a second GPU (Photoshop can't). LED lights or fans. If I need the cooling I'll go with the fans, but it's running fairly cool already.
Future upgrades: SSD
Oh, this has been done alright (as if it'll ever be done -- I'm going to keep adding these things when I run out of space). Nearly one and a quarter terabytes of SSDs, split between Windows (the 750 gig), and GNU/Linux (elementary OS right now, soon to be installed on one SSD and the home partition on the other).
CPU (Xeon E3 1231 V3): This one was easy. Sort of. I needed as many threads as I could get, and I really wanted to go with the X99 platform using the i7 5820K, but I planned it out and it was just too much, what with the water cooling the case necessitated and the more expensive RAM and motherboard... I was then going to go with Skylake because of the DDR4 RAM, which would mean I wouldn't have to buy different RAM if I went X99 later. I scrapped that plan after I was informed of RAM compatibility issues with Skylake, since stability is a priority here. I ended up with the choice of an i7 or a Xeon, as I originally set out to build with. I chose the Xeon. For my purposes, it's basically an i7 4770 (without the integrated GPU) for the price of an i5.
CPU Cooler (CRYORIG H7): I could have gotten a Hyper 212 Evo cheaper, but this matches the theme better, and apparently performs better too. Not super easy to install. Took me a long time to get the mounting bar in the right position, then I had to hold it with one hand and screw it into place.
EDIT Ran Prime95 until the temperatures stabilized, hit 67 degrees Celsius on two cores. Combined with the airflow in the Define R5 case (see other edits), the CPU cooler does a pretty adequate job.
Motherboard (MSI Z97S SLI Krait Edition): I had the choice of going with a black and silver board, or a black and white board with a BIOS I'm already familiar with (from my other build). I went with the familiar black and white board (and it was cheaper too). Apparently did not come with one of the little adapters for the case front panel connections, like my other MSI motherboard did, even though the manual mentioned using it. The manual was detailed enough to figure it out, though.
RAM (Kingston HyperX Fury White): The only kit of RAM I could find that matched the specs I needed. 1600MHz, because that's what Xeons support, 16GBs because I needed plenty for Photoshop and I only exceeded 8GBs rarely, and two 8GB DIMMs because I wanted room to upgrade (and I like it better with two DIMMs).
Video Card (EVGA GTX 970 4GB SC ACX 2.0): I wanted as many CUDA cores as I could get at a reasonable price, and this was the cheapest decent 970 I could get at the time. Next time I would probably sacrifice some performance and get a 950, since it would be much cheaper.
Case (NZXT S340 White): I wanted this case as soon as I saw it. The white color matches the theme. It's a great looking case, but the drive bays consist of a metal bracket in the bottom that requires you to take off the front panel to screw a drive in. That, and the cable management basically consists of "stuff everything under the PSU shroud" (although that's at least partially because the cables were so long due to the extensions). Having the thumbscrews for the expansion brackets on the outside is really nice...
EDIT: The case also tended toward the loud side, to the extent that I bought a Fractal Design Define R5 when I caught it on sale. I got fed up with the S340's hard drive drive mounting and SSD mounting. The R5's hard drive and SSD mounting is far superior. On another note, the S340 is a scratch magnet. Seems like anything can scratch the plastic window, including the sleeved cables (although this was only noticeable if you managed to catch the light on the window in just the right way).
PSU (EVGA 650 G2): Efficient, fully modular and highly rated. It also has enough overhead and cables for a SLI setup. It was just $10 more than the 550W version, and I figured I might as well spend the extra $10 for more headroom, allowing me to add on without needing to upgrade the PSU.
OS (Windows 8.1 OEM): Hate on it all you like. It's fast, it's supported longer than 7, it's cheaper than 7, and it's fairly easy to get the hang of, especially once you add an application to restore the start menu.
EDIT: I took the free upgrade to Windows 10 (only for the longer updates/support). It's fast enough, although it's annoying sometimes (particularly with settings -- do some Googling), but most of the time I'm going to be using elementary OS GNU/Linux.
Cable Extensions (Silverstone): A bit spendy for a "budget(ish)" build, but they look nice (although they come a little tangled and folded).
I never got cable combs, so I took some black hook-and-loop wraps to hold the cables together, and it looks decent enough.
It took me a couple hours, but quite a portion of that was stuffing cables and trying to get them to lie flat, and another good chunk was installing the CPU cooler.
I routed the cable extensions and the PSU cables after installing bracket to the PSU, but then the cables got in the way of installing the motherboard (since there's very little clearance in the case). I worked it out though.
Overall, the build was actually pretty uneventful. The only things that were difficult were installing the motherboard, CPU cooler, front panel audio connections, and the cable management.
It's fast and comparatively cheap. Runs cool under a good cooler.
Looks great, cools well, mounting could be easier. I had trouble getting the mounting bar on the bottom of the cooler positioned correctly (although I do like how it comes pre-assembled)
Keeps my CPU running cool. Probably better than most bundled stuff. Enough for plenty of applications. Not much else to say.
Seems solid so far. Nice looking, BIOS is easy to use. Not many fan headers, but it's sort of a budget board.
Stable, looks good. Not much to say.
Very fast. Great boot drive, but I wish I have gone with the SATA version instead. It's a pain to remove the M.2 SSD in order to install other operating systems on other disks (which is something I do, but not many other people do).
This is my Windows drive, and it's massive. Just under 700 gigabytes in Windows, plenty big enough to store games, recordings, and photos of my computer. So far, it's very fast.
Fast, looks good, runs high 70s after a year(ish). Not the best cooled card ever.
This case is amazing. Turn the fans down to low and it's virtually silent in my setup (all SSDs), and it still keeps everything cool to boot. It won't muffle a super loud hard drive much, but I haven't seen a case that can.
Highly rated, stable, provides plenty of power. Fully modular. Good PSU so far.
It's Windows. The updates are annoying and I can't seem to fully disable Cortana in my fresh install like I did before. If I could run everything in Linux I would, but I can't.
This is gorgeous. Lots of screen space, crisp text, beautiful colors... Well worth the money if you can afford it.
Not bad at all. The side buttons are nice, but good luck hitting the ones on the other side of the mouse from your thumb. It's just too awkward for me to try to hit the buttons with my little finger.