This was my first build ever. I've always wanted to build my own computer, but I've never gotten around to it. Since it's become a little difficult to partake of my other major hobby (guns) right now, I decided this was the time to divert some of my time and funds to building a computer. I thought my budget was going to be in the $500 range and use last year's parts. But once I started doing research, that quickly ballooned out of control. I just had to have all the new toys.
I wanted to build in a discreet, small form factor case since this would be in the living room. I also wanted the challenge. I originally started with the SilverStone SG08 in mind, but at $185, it was gonna be expensive. I eventually went with the Fractal Designs Node 304 because of the great reviews, decent thermals, and $55 price on Amazon. The other major decision I had to make (that killed my budget) was the GPU. I was originally going to go with the GTX 760, but after looking at benchmarks, I decided for me the extra power of the 770 was worth the expense. "Used" on Amazon Warehouse Deals (I believe it was actually brand new), I got the EVGA GTX 770 SC w/ACX for $377. Done. Everything else was what could fit and keep me close to the $1000 budget...
The build itself actually went pretty easily save for one problem that was totally a rookie move. I've never had a problem installing RAM, but these sticks were really tough for me to get in. So much so that I didn't realize they weren't seated properly. Of course it wouldn't start up. Then I took the whole dang thing apart, and only then did I figure it out. So it really took me putting this thing together twice to get it going. The inside is kindof cable spaghetti right now, so that's still a work in progress.
Future plans for this build: I'm working alright off of the single 120 GB SSD and an external 500 GB drive for the time being, but I need to add a 1-2 TB HDD. Just waiting for that awesome steal. Thermals are pretty good I think, so I've stuck with the stock CPU cooler for now. I may add a Cooler Master Hyper 212+, especially if I venture into light overclocking. Any suggestions are welcome, as I'm still pretty new at this.