My last build was 5 years ago and it was getting time for an upgrade. This time, I'm showing the completed build photos first, then the boxes and build photos.
Case: The horizontal PC had a good run, and looking at the market there weren't very many horizontal cases which caught my attention, so it was back to verticals. The past few years seems to have brought about an immense focus on RGB lighting, something I definitely did not want too much of. The one that I liked most was the NZXT line, specifically the H510 (refresh of the H500). It looked just understated enough and the reviews said it was great to build with. Importantly, the GPU I was eyeing was quite large and I had to ensure there was going to be enough clearance with an CPU radiator in the front. That ruled out the H400 line. The H700 was simply too big.
There were plenty of YouTube videos on building with the H500. And it is very good to build with. The back panel has a lot of options for routing wires and hiding them. I also removed the hard drive cage from the bottom of the case so that I could stuff lots of wires there.
CPU: I agonized over this for a long, long time. The 3900X vs the 9900K. Although I'd be working with VMs and software development, I am definitely gaming far more, so the 9900K just won out. I still intend to revisit this choice in the future.
GPU: I've always liked the idea of a GPU with an AIO and so I naturally drifted towards the EVGA Hybrids - most importantly for EVGA's warranty, which I've used in the past without complaints. The EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Hybrid was cheaper than the XC version.
Motherboard: I've been a fan of the Asus Sabertooth line for years, specifically for the shrouded/covered look; and sadly it looks like they're discontinued. My next choices were down to the Gigabyte Aorus and the Asus Maximus lines, in the end I chose the Asus ROG Maximus XI Code for its shrouded look, and the Asus UEFI has always been reliable for me. One other important choice was to be able to have two M.2 SSDs if I needed in the future. Overall I found the Maximus XI line is very confusing and the differences between these marginally different high-end motherboards just seem odd.
CPU Cooler: My old CPU Cooler, the Corsair H100i GTX, was still working. This was a good opportunity to save a little money. Sadly during the build, it failed to work with the new motherboard. I'd keep getting a
CPU Fan Error! and in the UEFI the CPU temperature would climb alarmingly fast! No amount of tweaking or flipping fan headers about helped. Stressed, and at the last minute I quickly ordered a Kraken x62 based on PCPP recommendations and got it within the hour - Amazon really came through for me here. But there was a further stressful point - when I first attached the x62, I still got the same CPU Fan Error message, but when I attached the USB cable to the internal header, the error went away. It was a blessing in disguise: the x62 has flexible tubes which made the insides a lot neater than with the H100i.
Storage: M.2s have become affordable now and I really liked the idea of onboard storage without wires. I had read up on some users having problems with the M.2 screws getting stripped on ROG motherboards, so I was very careful - I ensured I had PH #0 and PH #00 screwdrivers available. With them I was able to screw the M.2 in place safely.
Fans: I've been using their iconic beige fans for years but I spotted their 'chromax' line - black fans to go with the mostly dark look. The fans are pretty good, though there's a very odd design choice - the fan wire is about 1cm long and comes with an extension attached. It makes working with these fans awkward as the short wire can sometimes get pulled.
Cable Extensions: I've always admired the PCPP builds with those neatly combed wires. I finally found some cable extensions by 'upHere' and they were pretty decent and easy to work with. They do make the wires pretty long but luckily the H500 case had space at the bottom to put the bundles of cables away. I only chose to sleeve the motherboard 24-pin and the GPU cables, but I left the CPU cables along as it wasn't much visible at the top.
Everything else: I was able to reuse my old PSU, monitors, SSD, mouse and keyboard. Nice.