This is my first ever try at building a PC. My 4 years old Dell XPS 9000 [Core i7-920, 9GB DDR3 1066, GTX 260, 475W PSU] was starting to fail me, so instead of buying replacement (and possibly outdated) parts, I chose to upgrade. I bought all the parts on Sept 30th, except for the video card, which was bought on November 21st. Here's a breakdown of all part choices:
CPU : The PC will be used mostly for gaming on high/ultra settings and usual PC stuff (email, documents, internet). No video editing/encoding here, so I felt like an hyperthreaded Core i7 wasn't worth the extra 100-150$.
CPU Cooler : Since I can't and won't do any overclocking with the CPU, I felt like spending extra on CPU cooling would be a waste. However, after enduring Intel's stock cooler whistle for 2 months, I couldn't take it anymore. I waited for Black Friday and grabbed myself a Be Quiet! Shadow Rock 2. It's a decent cooler at stock clock (not for overclocking, but not an issue here since I can't overclock my i5-4570) but more importantly, it's amazingly quiet! I'm really glad I made the switch.
Motherboard : Considering I have a non-unlockable CPU, the features on Z-type boards didn't feel like they were worth the premium so I stuck with an "H" board. It has more than enough ports for my needs and should do a good job until my next build (4-6 years)
RAM: 8 GB is plenty enough for now. My previous PC had 9 GB but I rarely used over 4GB anyway. I also have 2 free slots to upgrade if the need be.
Storage : The 840 EVO is only 120GB, but it should be large enough to hold the OS and the "flavor of the month" games. The 1TB Seagate Barracuda was salvaged from my previous PC and will hold all other meaningful data : music, videos, photos, etc.
Video Card: I only have time to play 5 hours/week nowadays, so I wouldn't make the most of a higher end card. I came across a sick deal on Newegg.ca for a MSI 7870 GHz Edition and it should be able to handle most games on high/ultra.
Case : I wasn't set on a particular case when I started shopping for parts, but I found this awesome deal on Newegg.ca and just couldn't pass that up. It has plenty of room for cable management and looks very sleek (to me anyway!). On a side note, the case had a faulty USB port when I received it. But after opening a support ticket on Fractal Design's website, they sent me a replacement front USB controller within a week, totally free of charge. I was really pleased not having to RMA the case. This was excellent customer support on their end!
Power Supply : Yeah I know, the PSU is much more than I really need for this build. However, the huge discount (97.59$ instead of 159.99$) made it a viable purchase and should last a very longtime.
Optical Drive : Like the HDD, I salvaged the optical drive from my old PC. Will rarely be used, but I needed it to install the OS.
Operating System : I'm not a fan of Windows 8 at all, so I stuck with Windows 7 this time. And since I have a MSDN license at work, my Windows 7 Ultimate was free of charge. Well, free for me at least!
Monitor : My old 20'' Samsung monitor only had a max resolution of 1600x900 and I really wanted this build to enjoy Full HD gaming. I didn't want something too big (wouldn't fit on my desk anyway), so I felt this 23.6'' Asus would do a good job. The monitor is only rated 4 stars out of 5 because it was delivered with a 1/2'' scratch on the stand and I didn't feel like RMA'ing the whole thing back.
All prices shown below are before taxes. After all taxes and shipping costs, the whole build cost me 1060$. After selling the parts of my old PC for 260$, the net cost of the build is 800$. About 900$ cheaper than my old Dell and it blows it out of the water!
Nothing really fancy, but here's to hoping you enjoy the build and the pics :) Feel free to comment!