Before reading this, I have a couple of notes about the prices. This PC was first put together in a while back, so many of the prices shown are not representative of what I actually spent at that time. Some are currently lower than what I paid, some are surprisingly higher. I also dug around for deals on Amazon and was able to save a lot of money doing so. For example, whatever the listed price is for the Zotac GTX 970 card, I only paid $234.51 for an Amazon Warehouse Deal! If you like this build, you can probably buy it for cheaper than what is listed to the left.
Anyway, this is the first PC that I've put together myself. I started it in October 2014, added an SSD in early 2016, and upgraded the CPU and GPU in April 2016. It is used primarily for gaming and watching movies so it is hooked up to my living room TV. I can play Dark Souls 3 on Max setting without pushing the the GPU over 55 degrees or the CPU over 40. I chose 8 GB of RAM since that's enough to run most modern games. But the motherboard can hold up to 32 GB so I have room to grow if necessary.
I originally had a Bluetooth adapter that was an additional $7.99. It worked really well for gaming with a Sony Dualshock controller and SCP Server. I ended up getting a Steam Controller though and haven't switched back. The price for the dongle isn't included here, but it was totally worth it for fans of the Dualshock controller.
Any issues that I had during installation or problems I had with individual parts (of which there were very few) are noted in the parts reviews below.
This bad boy keeps my CPU 15-20°C cooler on average and it is VERY quiet! Quieter than my FX-6300 stock heatsink at normal to heavy workload. The price is right too! A water cooler with comparable cooling power will cost you twice as much. All that, plus it looks pretty in my case window!
My only gripe is that the instructions are pretty terrible. I was able to find plenty of help on YouTube though, so I won't take any points off.
This mobo has tons of USB ports, lots of fan spots, can hold up to 32 GB of RAM, (more than enough for gaming), and looks really slick through a case window. Also, the BIOS is very easy to use (setting automatic fan speed and OC in particular). Unfortunately, it only supports up to the AMD FX-8370 chip, so it's not entirely future-proof.
Fast, reliable, and it looks really nice through a case window
So much storage! I have all my photos, a huge iTunes library, close to 100 movies and TV episodes, and dozens of AAA games on this hard drive and I'm nowhere near filling it up! As of this review, it has lasted about two years with no problems. Even after I partitioned the heck out of it and paired it up with an SSD, it hasn't had a single hiccup. I've never had an issue with a Seagate drive before and this one seems to be no exception.
This case is fantastic! There is so much room inside for cable management and the air flow is incredible. There are spots for up to 6 case fans and a ton of drive space for future upgrades. The drive bays are all tool-less, meaning that you won't have to worry about tiny screws for your HDD or optical drive. Also, the windowed side shows off your PC's guts in all their glory!
I only found two downsides to this case, and neither are worth taking off a star. First, the hole for the motherboard power cable was blocked by my motherboard. It wasn't a big deal though; I was able to run the power cable over the top. But it's something to keep in mind during a build. If possible, run the power cable through the back before installing your motherboard. Second, since there is so much venting, the guts can get a little dusty without proper fans and airflow.
I would definitely recommend this case. It's big enough to upgrade down the road, but it will look great on your desk (or next to your TV) in the meantime.
Wireless Network Adapter
When this adapter starts working, it's great: fast download speed and high bandwidth. Unfortunately, it took a little while to get it to stay connected. When I first plugged it in and installed the drivers, it had a problem with losing network connection every ten minutes or so. I switched it to a USB 3.0 port and dug around for some updated drivers and it hasn't given me a problem since. I docked it one star because of those first few weeks of frustration.