For my first build ever, it worked out great. Fire Strike broke 20K! Below is the my story and explanation of part choices. I know it is long, so feel free to just look at the pics but if you're interested, read the story.
Update 6/10: Replaced stock PSU cables with a black sleeved kit from EVGA. Pictures above.
Backstory: After the GTX 900 series was announced in Fall 2014 I decided now was a great time to leave my peasantry in the past and ascend to the Glorious PC Master Race. I had been a peasant my whole life, this was going to be hard...so I thought. I had a friend at school who was a PC gamer and he helped bring me up to date on things.
First I considered buying a pre-built PC from one of the major "boutique" sites. However my friend showed me the way to pcpartpicker.com and showed me the same build I was going to pay for and how much I could save. I was intimidated about building after hearing horror stories of things going wrong. I would not let this be me. After weeks and weeks of reading, studying, videos, and other prep I was ready. At the end of January 2015, I pulled the trigger on my parts and they were on the way.
I took my time and frequently referenced manuals/internet during the build and it went incredibly smooth. I made a few noob mistakes such as dropping a screw from a stand off behind the ROG armor on my motherboard and had to pull it out of the case just to get it out. Only to drop another screw in my PSU...I have since invested in a magnetic screwdriver. Finally the moment of truth came. I looked over all my connections a few more times, flipped the master switch on the PSU and she fired up to BIOS. Such a glorious feeling.
The point of my story is to encourage other people, peasant or not, to consider building their own PC. It may seem intimidating at first, but if you do your homework and prepare; anyone can do it. Now for my parts:
Motherboard: The first thing I wanted to decide was X99 or Z97. I went with Z97 because I do not do many CPU intensive tasks and this PC was going to be for gaming mostly so it seemed like a logical choice. After reading many reviews and comparisons I believe I made a solid choice in Z97.
I went with the Maximus VII Formula because of its features and aesthetics. This motherboard was good for 2 way SLI, had built in Wi-Fi, and I really liked the fact it had a steel backplate. It was an expensive motherboard for Z97, but I am happy with the purchase.
CPU / Cooler: I understood that a 4690K is great for gaming, but since I went with Z97 I was really interested in hyper threading. The 4790K is a beast of a processor. It runs everything I throw at it without breaking a sweat. I paired it with a Corsair H110 280mm cooler since my case was compatible and I liked the bigger radiator surface area compared to the H100i. After pasting it with Arctic Silver 5 I get idle temps of 25-30 and Aida64 tests show 55-70max. I am very satisfied with these temps and will be testing the chip soon to see how it handles overclocks.
Memory: Corsair Dominator Platinum is not cheap memory. It it however, very well made, fast, and reliable memory. At 1866 it runs well and looks great in my case. Plan on adding another 16GB soon to complete the build.
GPU: I went into this build knowing I was going to do SLI 980's. I love the design of the reference cards and it's a good plan to use reference cards when doing SLI in a case like mine. I went with EVGA because I like their "step-up" program (although I didn't use it) and EVGA has been highly recommended to me. These cards are absolute beasts. They are not TitanX cards but they get the job done. The only thing I don't like is the 4GB frame buffer. I really wish it was 6GB. I considered upgrading to TitanX but I decided since these cards do great as it is in SLI I want to wait longer to see what else is announced. GPUs stay in the 50s-60s under load with only some games pushing them into the 70's. Finally, I replaced the stock SLI bridge that came with my motherboard with the EVGA SLI 2-way bridge. It looks great, but EVGA recently release the 2.0 version of their SLI bridges. I plan to get one soon.
Storage: This was a no brainer for me. The Samsung 850 Evo is considered my many one of the best SSD's on the market right now. I went with 500GB and plan to add another very soon. It is very fast and my load screens in games are super short. I know 500GB is not much, but it works great for me, and if 1TB of SSD space doesn't cut it I will add some WD Blue drives.
PSU: I know I did not need 1000w for this build. This build pulls about 550-600. I liked the 1000P2 because it is highly efficient with a platinum rating, even at 50% load, and like the fact I don't have to push my PSU super hard. This and I wanted to have a decently powerful PSU so in case I get hardware in the future that requires more power, I will have it.
Case: I like the design of the Corsair Obsidian series. I wanted a mid case so the 750 was out, but the 350 is too small. The 450D bridges the gap between those two cases and is great to build in. The case supports 280mm radiators which is what I wanted. It also has great airflow and cable management. I upgraded the intake/exhaust fans with the Corsair AF series fans that match my build great.
Monitors: Asus VG248 is a 24'' 144Hz 1080p monitor. I bought this first. I considered replacing it with a ROG Swift, but I really wanted a 4K monitor. After some research I decided to go with a dual monitor setup and found the Dell P2415q which is 24'' also to satisfy my OCD. This setup works great for me because I have the best of both: super high refresh rate, and super high res. I switch between them depending on what I'm playing or what mood I am in.
Periphials: A lot of people dislike Razer products but I am very please with the quality of the Blackwidow Chroma and the Deathadder Chroma. All of this sits on a Corsair mm200 extended mousemat. The keyboard is solid and has good weight to it, and typing on it is great. The mouse is a good size for my hand and is the weight I like. However I wish the weight was adjustable like on some other mice. The software that comes with it is easy to use and I am happy with it as my first mechanical keyboard. For a headset I went with the Sennheiser G4ME ONE after having it highly recommended to me. I got this headset when I was still a peasant since it worked with PS4, it is a great headset don't get me wrong, put I wish I went with the PC363 7.1 headset instead. Lastly, I know my motherboard has Wi-Fi, but the where it connects to the motherboard was too tight of a fit. I decided to go with the Asus adapter and it works great. It has AC wireless and I can use it with my other devices like laptops that only have N band Wi-Fi.
If you read all this, I appreciate your time. Make sure you leave a comment below so I can check out your build too!