This machine has been through several iterations over the past year. It started off as a 4770K/Z87-A/GTX 660 build in an old Cooler Master Case, then transitioned to the same build in a Corsair SPEC-03, then to a 4790K/Z97I-PLUS/GTX 660 build, and now this.
This final iteration had portability in mind. I wanted something compact, something that I could take to a friend's house and play games. I also wanted it to keep cool despite being in such a small form factor.
I honestly would have kept the 4770K in the build, but I had a difficult time removing the stock cooler from the Z87-A. So, my dad and I made a deal. He'd buy me a 4790K and $40 if I gave him the CPU/mobo combo. I went with it since that was a pretty decent deal for the parts (especially since they were used).
I was reading lots of reviews of CPU coolers that could fit in a Hadron Air case, and I stumbled upon this one. After a recommendation from a friend, I pulled the trigger on this and was not disappointed. Idle temps went from 40 to 28-30, and load temps went from 90 (ouch!) to 65. I am thoroughly impressed with this cooler and recommend it as a quiet, effective cooler for a decent price.
This was the only ASUS mITX motherboard I could find. I'm a bit of an ASUS motherboard fanboy and will only be using them for my gaming systems. They work great and are very durable.
I got this around this time last year. I got two 1x8 GB kits because it was cheaper than the 2x8 GB kit, and they work great. I had to bend parts of the fan clips on the CPU cooler to keep them from messing with the RAM's heat spreaders, though. I'm more of a fan of normal-height RAM (no tall heat spreaders), but this was the cheapest good 16 GB kit around at the time. It works great; I just wish the heat spreaders weren't so tall.
UPDATE: I swapped the Crucial Ballistix Sport XT RAM that was in here for a set of G.Skill Ares RAM. I overclocked them to 2133 MHz fairly easily. The Crucial memory is now powering my server.
I found a sweetheart deal on a slightly-used BX100 (under 24 hours of use; used as a review piece) that I couldn't pass up. It's now my main drive and works great.
I got a WD Blue on Amazon for $45 on sale. Works great. I had one as my main drive in this computer until I swapped it out for the BX100 that's here now.
My EVGA GTX 660 Superclocked worked great and still works great (my brother's using it now, and he loves it). But, I needed something a bit more powerful. I searched for weeks for a good blower cooler 970, and found this at Best Buy. It wasn't the cheapest, but the 3 DisplayPort outputs, glowing GEFORCE GTX, and backplate had me sold. Unortunately, it was out of stock nationwide when I attempted to buy it, and Best Buy headquarters did not know if they were going to get another shipment. That night, I drove up to Micro Center and got the EVGA 970 Superclocked. It worked well, but the constant chirping coil whine was annoying. Luckily, the next day the 970s at Best Buy came back in stock. I had one shipped to my local store and picked it up last Saturday, 1/10, and returned the EVGA one immediately after. It just barely fit in my case! I had to move around some loose cables, but after some finagling I got it in and screwed down. The cooler is almost completely silent; there is no coil whine whatsoever. I'm really impressed with this card; it even beat the GTX 970 Superclocked in Unigine Heaven in every category. Go figure.
I decided that I was tired of my boring old Cooler Master Elite 330 case, and wanted something smaller and more portable. After some searching, I found this case and decided that I had to have it. Unfortunately, at the time it was $150 and I only had $50 to spend. So, I grabbed a Corsair SPEC-03 and used that for a while. The SPEC-03 is a phenomenal ATX case, but I still wanted something small. Around Thanksgiving, I sold some things on Craigslist (including a spare 3DS and the SPEC-03) and bought the Hadron Air. It's an amazing case with good enough airflow to keep the parts cool. Plus, it doesn't look like a printer like the Cooler Master Elite 130 that someone suggested I get (according to my friends in networking class).
My dad had a copy of 8.1 Pro laying around, so I used it.
For Christmas, I asked if I could get a GTX 970 or a monitor and something else (I can't remember). My dad looked at the 970's price tag and was like "monitor it is." We found the VG248QE on sale at Newegg and grabbed it. So far it's an amazing monitor. I've been using it at 120 Hz for about three weeks, and now 60 Hz looks like a slideshow.
I used it with my previous system and it still works great. I'm using it as a secondary monitor, and, after a DisplayPort to DVI adapter arrives, it will be one of three monitors in my setup. Out house is full of 1280x1024 VGA monitors, and the DVI port on the 970 is currently occupied. I plan to switch this Dell monitor over to the adapter, and use a DVI to VGA adapter to hook up a third monitor. Why? I want to try NVIDIA surround and it's always nice to have more screen real estate.