* Mail-In Rebates:
This is my first build. I was on a tight budget, and I'm not a hardcore gamer, so I didn't get a dedicated video card and I am relying on my motherboard's integrated graphics. I am also not using Windows. As you can see from the part list, I am running Linux.
Intel is not much of an option if you want good performance on this kind of budget. The FX-6300 has great value and has been used in a lot of builds, so I knew I could trust it. I just wish AMD made it more clear that the stock CPU cooler has thermal paste applied, because I could have saved money on thermal paste by not buying any.
Motherboard: I was looking at an MSI 760GMA-P34(FX), but I found this. It has more memory slots, is a bit cheaper with a discount from Newegg, and Asus has a rock-solid reputation. The only problems I've encountered are that it only has one chassis fan connector and doesn't support SATA 6Gb/s.
Storage: There wasn't much choice here. 1TB is plenty for my needs, 7200RPM is nice and speedy, and WD has a great reputation.
Case: Here, I was considering the Xion XON-560, but I noticed this. It's cheaper, and I like how it looks. The issues I had are that it's really cramped, so I had to remove one of the fans before installing the motherboard, and it doesn't have front panel USB3.
Memory: Like the storage, there wasn't too much choice. The Very Low Profile version of this is unfortunately not listed on PCPartPicker.
I was going to get a Corsair CX430, but Amazon ran out of stock right before I was going to buy it.
The one I wound up getting is not from a well-known company, but it has solid reviews, and it hasn't given me any trouble so far.
Graphics Card: Just great. The 750ti is a good option if you want a powerful graphics card but don't want to spend as much as, say, a 960.
Optical Drive: It's cheap and it works.
EDIT A while ago I installed Debian, added a 750ti GPU, and added an optical drive, and now I'm updating this build.
Good budget processor. Not extraordinarily fast, but not extraordinarily slow, either.
Good cheap motherboard for AMD builds. It would be nice if it supported SATA 6Gb/s and had multiple chassis fan connectors, though.
Excellent hard drive for any build. It has a lot of storage and is fast enough for most uses.
Great graphics card for my needs. Drivers were tricky, but that's 'cause I'm on Linux and it won't automatically install NVidia's drivers because they aren't open-source. >200FPS on Minecraft with max settings, what can you say?
This is a nice case for budget builds, but it's really cramped inside, to the extent that I had to remove one of its fans to install the motherboard. Front panel USB3 would also be a nice addition, but my motherboard doesn't have USB3 headers, so I wouldn't be able to take advantage of it.
Okay for the money, but I probably should've gotten Corsair CX 430. Non-modular is a pain in the ***.
It's cheap and it works. Really, the only situation where this wouldn't be a good optical drive would be if you need Blu-ray support.