+ Total (Canada):
This was my first build! I remember learning to install RAM and such back in school but that was way too many years ago now.
This computer is used mainly for games so I don't have to bootcamp them on my MacBookPro. The bf lives far far away and "date night" is games, so we needed more options, and a Windows machine would give those. As a bonus, building it gave me something to do on long winter nights other than be cold. Black Friday helped with the prices.
Part selections were based heavily on other pcpp builds and trying to keep a budget under $1000.
CPU: AMD were much cheaper than Intel for what looked like comparable performance. I had no idea how big any of this stuff was, so going with a CPU that worked in big ATX boards that were well reviewed was fine for me.
CPU Cooler: Cheap and recommended by most builds out there. I found it a pain in the neck to install, with many nail-biting moments where I'd already placed it down on the thermal compound and didn't want to pick it up again, but some of the screws simply did not want to thread. Required lots of pressure and an extra set of hands would have been helpful. Not friendly to a newb installer. I got it in though, and it's running fine and quiet.
Mobo: Gigabyte just makes me happy thinking of ReBoot, and this board was well reviewed everywhere. It's been solid for me, worked great from the start. Easy-to-use BIOS picked up on my 1866 RAM right away and had it set to the correct frequency.
RAM: It's Ram. Kingston works, I've trusted it in other computer parts before. Love the white, it'll go with any colour scheme. Not too high-profile either.
SSD: Read a bunch of tests on these, and the Samsung was among the most reliable. If I get another it'll probably be the HyperX both for looks and testing results.
HDD: Didn't want the blue of a WD drive influencing colour scheme, Seagate and WD are both well reviewed, and barracuda is a cool name. Oh yeah, and it was on sale. Done.
GPU: I was set on a R9 270X or 280 for the longest time, the Windforce cards look awesome. After considering how much airflow my case has though, super fan coverage wasn't necessary, and I'm not overclocking either. A friend recommended some of the Nvidia cards and then this one went on sale. Got it on sale AND price matched, then picked up the backplate with the savings. Works great, running all my games on max settings (Path of Exile, Aion, Risk of Rain). Sad they're not being sold anymore though, I'd like to get SLI in the future for CAD stuff.
Case: There are waaaaay too many cases out there. Being new to all of this, and living far from a computer store in the frozen north, I just had the internet to rely on. The internet showed me this and I was suddenly hooked on this case. It lights up, it's industrial badassery, win! It came with standoffs installed, nice and solid if a little heavy. There's a handle spot on the top, and lots of big fan mounts. I added a magnetic fan cover for the side intakes. The cables for the front panels/lights were confusing, and the documentation had no guides at all, so I guessed. The front case fans can either run and light up but not hook up to my fan controller, or run to the fan controller but not light up. They're quite quiet though and move a lot of air. All in all a solid case, I just wasn't expecting a "mid tower" to be gigantic. Oh well.
PSU: Corsair, same as the case. Modular but ended up using all the bits anyway. Don't reallylike the chained molex-molex-molex-SATA cables, they ended up being bulky in the back of the case. Corsair, y u no make short cable kits?
Optical Drive: Sale bin at Memory Express. It works.
Fan Controller: Looks aaaaawesome in the Corsair 400R. White LEDs match up with the fans and power button, works well, slid into the case fine. Just wish it had a temp gauge. As others have mentioned, it doesn't spin the fans up right away, you have to move the sliders a little bit first before they'll go. I mostly use it for the side case fans (BitFenix) since they're loud when allowed to run at normal speed.
AF140 purple, I love this fan. Will be getting more in future builds. Silent, and sexy. BitFenix 120mm pro, these move a lot of air, a LOT, but they're loud when they spin up. I leave them on the side intake and only turn them on when running graphics intensive things.
Peripherals: Mouse is ancient and hasn't died yet. It's nice and light. Deathstalker Keyboard was on super sale at Staples. After using it for a while, it's not my favourite. I find the chiclets take a lot of force to type on, and are noisy. Keyboard upgrade coming in future, I'll try them out first next time. HyperX Cloud Headphones have great sound, very comfortable too. I have a smallish head and they fit great. The mic doesn't feed through your own headphones though, so you can't hear yourself talk. It's a bit strange. Steelseries mouse pad is my favourite peripheral of all. Smooth and perfect response, and I've used it for almost 6 years now and you can barely tell.
Edit: That green box in the first picture is a wifi adapter I didn't end up using. Got a nice new CAT6 and ran that instead.
Now that I've been bitten by the build bug, I've been plotting a move to mATX. Next winter's project :D
Pros: Good quality, LED fans are quiet, lots of fan mounts. Handy handle built into the top.
Cons: Strange wiring of included fans. Installation instructions almost non-existent. Heavy.