This build has been a long time coming. I've been on active duty in the military for 8 years, and spent four of them deployed where owning anything other than a laptop was pretty much out of the question. Before that, I had been building and upgrading my own PCs all throughout high school and college for myself and friends who were all huge quake3 and cs fans. I was a huge 3dfx fanboy and died a little inside when they filed bankruptcy. I am amazed at how much my former hobby has exploded over the last 2 years or so, and decided to get back at it myself.
I started piecing this build back around Thanksgiving. Since I didn't have the funds to purchase it all at once, I thought to cherry-pick holiday sales if a part I needed was on sale over time, and then used my tax return for whatever was left. My strategy somewhat worked, except a few out of stock parts here and there (Originally planned for a 280x instead of a 780, and around Christmas the whole bitcoin boom made them almost impossible to find).
Main use is obviously for gaming, and eventually will be my main workbench for work which will entail a lot of VMWare VM templates being created, modified, and tested. These VMs will only be running while i'm working on them, and aren't too resource intensive themselves but will take up a good chunk of storage eventually.
CPU - I couldn't justify spending the extra money for a 4770k, even with the hyperthreading possibly making working with my VMs a little better.
Cooler - I was really iffy about the H100i. I've heard great, and terrible things from others regarding it. Specifically RMAs and pumps giving out after a short period of time. On the other hand, the reviews I've read show it performs great with the 4670k under reasonable OC conditions.
Motherboard - I honestly didn't really spend much time here. At least 5 Sata6 ports, and at least 2 USB3.0 ports were my only real requirements. Coincidentally, I found this nice board from MSI (who I've had nothing but good experience with) which started the whole black/red color scheme for other parts to follow.
Memory - Will be upgrading to 16GB once my workload with VMs picks up. Until then 8GB is plenty for me.
Storage - SSD for my Win 8.1 install, apps, and steam games. I usually only play 4-5 games exclusively for a period of time, and delete those I don't or lose interest in so 250GB can fit everything I need. My company generously supplied me with a 3TB drive for VM storage, and will also house the rest of my data. I'm expecting another two 3TB's in the summer when the workload increases, and my boss keeps asking if it's going to be enough for me. He knows about this build and what I'm doing with it and the drives, I think he just wants to buy my love.
Video - Like previously mentioned, I originally planned for a R9 280x, but bitcoin miners made them a rare thing to find (for me at least) around the time I was looking to buy. I held out for a while in hopes they would come in stock somewhere within my budget but no luck. I eventually had a fully purchased and assembled rig with no video card and didn't feel like waiting anymore. I settled for the 780 with the factory overclock which performs well above my expectations. Trying to reach 120+ fps in some games might be pushing it, but still achievable in most others.
Case - I love this thing. The segregation of the PSU away from the rest of the components in back where you route your cables anyway makes me wonder why this isn't the standard. I removed the cheap hard drive mounting cage in back, and will be mounting future drives in the 5.25" bays. The front USB3.0 connectors weren't working upon arrival, the quality of the connection to the ports was very flimsy but I was able to fix myself. Not sure if this is a common thing or I just got a defect.
Cables / Fans - The 540 Air comes with two front intake fans, but has mounts for three. I replaced those and the rear exhaust with AF120/140 fans to match the color palette I got sucked into. FrozenCPU goofed and sent me three 24-Pin cables instead of the PCI-e cables in my order, so I'm still waiting on those to arrive and am using the stock power cables for now. Other than that, the Kobra cables are of really great quality.
PSU - I don't plan on ever going dual GPU, so 650W was my target. I found the RM650 on sale, so the 80+ Gold was an unexpected bonus. The power cables that come with it are stiff and a pain to work with.
Monitor - Spent a long time on the fence here trying to decide between a high refresh rate, or 4K monitor. I know I could have went Korean and had both, but decided the 144hz Asus would serve me better since I play twitch games more than others. A 4K would have been nice for general use and work activities, and I'm still considering getting one to use in a dual monitor config to have the best of both worlds. I am really liking the high refresh rate, even outside of games, everything is more fluid and graceful and will be weird going back to anything under 120hz.
Optical - I don't or ever see myself needing an optical drive. I have an external USB DVD-RW drive in the off chance I ever do, I mainly move data around via NAS and USB drives.
Other - Purchased a copy of Win8.1 through the Microsoft store where they offer it for $69.99 to students with .edu addresses. Kept my trusty Das and Deathadder that I've been using for years prior.