This is my very first build and I'm really happy with how it turned out. I know it's a little unbalanced right now (I'll explain below) but so far it runs great and I plan to upgrade things as I go. I plan to use this computer for casual gaming (skyrim, LoL, some random steam games, etc) and watching movies/general use for a college girl. Overall, everything went smoothly and I found out that I love building computers. My budget was staying under $700.
CPU: I have a feeling a lot of people are wondering why I didn't get an i5. I was originally planning to, but the i3 was $100 and the i5 I wanted was $200. I bought the cpu and motherboard together at the beginning and was planning to get a 750 ti and figured that combo would be good enough for everything I need. I am not looking to do anything too crazy with this computer yet, so my friend convinced me the i3 will be good enough for now and I figured I might as well save $100. If there comes a point in the future when I notice the performance is lacking then I'll go ahead and upgrade.
CPU cooler: So I just bought this Alpine 11 pro Rev. 2 today to replace the stock cooler. I couldn't stand the noise from the stock cooler at all. I tried watching a movie and could barely hear because the fan was so loud. This cooler had decent reviews and most importantly said it was quiet. Since I'm not overclocking, it works and does its job. Installing it was a nightmare though (toughest push pins ever!) And I had to take it out and re-adjust it to get it finally seated right.
Motherboard: This was on sale and had everything I was looking for. Pretty straightforward motherboard, and lots of usb 3.0s.
RAM: Inherited from a friend who is upgrading his pc.
GPU: Okay, so this is obviously the most powerful thing in here right now. A little overkill. Long story short, I saw it on sale for $250 and could not pass it up. I was going to get a 750 ti or 960 but figured I'd throw another $50 out and grab this. I also didn't choose 4gb, it was the only one they had in stock. But I guess I'm set for a while with this thing. I found it after the i3. If I would have known I'd end up with a nicer card then I would have probably splurged and gone for an i5. :/ buuuutt oh well. I'll update if there's any bottlenecking, but I don't think I'll be playing any games intense enough for that. Also I am just using 1080p for now.
Power Supply: I saw great reviews for this brand/series and really wanted a modular psu for close to the $60 range. There were lower quality ones with more total watts but I figured I'd rather go with quality and settle for 550w. The only upgrade I plan to do in the future will be the cpu, so I should theoretically be okay I hope. Recommended for the gtx 770 is 600w but I saw that this psu can handle it (12V @ 45A) and with an i3 and nothing else super fancy it works.
Cougar Volant Case: I like it. It was cheap and not too flashy but still a little edgy. It has lots of room for fans, and decent space for cable management. The majority of the case seems sturdy. The front panel has more plastic and seems like it could break if yanked off too hard, but everything is overall pretty good. It only came with one fan though.
Case fans: The purple corsair sp120 led fan is great and moves plenty of air. The rosewill 4 pack I got was very cheap and significantly less powerful. They are very quiet though and still work. One of the 4 fans makes a clicky sound when spinning so I'm only using 2 of them right now. But for how cheap they were I don't even care.
SSD: This thing is so fast! I counted and Windows boots in 5 seconds. I had trouble finding a place to mount it (there was space on the bottom of the case but the cords got in the way) so I just screwed one side of it in to a drive bay and used the tension of the cords to hold up the other side. It's so light it doesn't really need it though.
I haven't received the keyboard or mouse yet so for now I'm using old ones. My last computer was an hp pavilion laptop that finally gave up back in September when the hard drive failed and the graphics card started failing as well. Needless to say, this is a huge improvement! I am very excited to see how this will handle over the next few months. Right now the cpu is idling at under 30c and rises to about 50c under load and gpu typically stays 27-28c.
Let me know if there's anything obvious I messed up on or if there are any real problems (aside from recommending that I upgrade the cpu lol). I think this computer will give me more performance than I need for less than $700, and will last me quite a while.