This is only the second computer I've built. My Dell Inspiron 530 Desktop, purchased in Feb 2008, finally failed: multiple BSOD every day and random freezes while just surfing the web got to be ridiculous.
As my Dell had an Intel Core 2 Duo, I thought about sticking with Intel. That was my plan until my brother-in-law recommended Micro Center's bundles for Motherboard and Processors. When an AMD bundle took $40 off the MSI motherboard, it was a no brainer. I was also happy with the price they had for the memory (in-store coupon), case (mail-in rebate), and case fans.
I've had the EVGA 9800 GT ($34.99) running in my old Dell for the past year and it's been excellent for StarCraft II. I had the Cooler Master PS in my old Dell as well (mainly to power the 9800 GT as the old Dell PS didn't have a 6-pin Video Card power cable).
One problem I had with the case: It has the ability to have four 120mm X 120 mm case fans: Front, bottom, back, and top. Strangely, the top has two (center and rear), yet Thermaltake states the center one shouldn't be used. The front, bottom, and back fans fit perfectly with no interference. With the MSI board, the ATX 4-pin power connector blocked/interfered with my ability to install the fan in the top-rear location and the DIMM slots blocked/interfered with the top-center location.
I ran into an issue with the included MSI drivers disc for the MSI board: The 'mainboard' program crashed each time I tried to run it. I ran it in different compatibility modes, administrator, etc. with no luck. Unfortunately, I had no internet connectivity because the onboard NIC needed a driver from the disc. Luckily, I knew how to update the onboard NIC drivers by using Device Manager and the folders on the disc. After contacting MSI Support, they just told me to download the drivers from their website.
Quick negative note about Micro Center: They only care about your initial purchase, not "returns". Perhaps the Holiday Season bogged them down, but they had only one return cashier with 15 people in line. I waited 20 minutes to go from #15 to #13. Embarrassing.
Benchmark: Utilized free demo on Steam of latest 3DMark. Since my EVGA Video Card can only handle DirectX 10, only two tests were available: 3DMark Cloud Gate: 5613. 3DMark Ice Storm Score: 71265. If I get bored, maybe I'll try re-running the test with my EVGA Card removed to see how well the integrated Radeon HD 8570D performs.
After having the rig for a week now, I'm quite satisfied with its quickness and quietness.