This is my second build on here, and I figured I'd document everything better this time around. Sorry for the picture-flurry in advance haha!
I'd like to start with explaining why I haven't added the purchase prices on the list. I live in Denmark, so the prices are different from the US - and this will make things seem like crappy value. I really do believe that I hit a value sweet spot with this build, and I wouldn't want that not to be reflected here :-)
I'll go through the part selections one by one:
CPU: It's the cheapest Core i3 - that pretty much sums it up. The Hyper Threading makes it able to run 4 threads at a time, which does help it outperform the Pentiums. The price gap between this and the 4330 is a bit larger here than on this site - otherwise I would probable have picked that instead.
CPU Cooler: I had the stock cooler from my i7 lying around, so I decided to use that over the i3 one due to the copper core. It may not make much difference, but I don't see why not. I did re-route the wire on the cooler to go the other way around. This was so I could mount it with the Intel logo oriented correctly. I do believe in things being neat - even though there's no window in the case.
MOBO: This is probably the one place where I could have spent a bit more. The CHA fan header only supports PWM regulation of the case fan, which isn't a PWM fan. This means that it always runs at a full 12v, which creates unnecessary noise. Luckily, I had a low-noise fan adapter (aka a resistor in a wire) lying around, so I added that in, which helped a lot. Also, there's no USB3 header on the motherboard, which means the front USB port isn't connected to anything. That's really a shame, and it annoys me that I didn't check this.
RAM: Cheapest 1.5V 8GB 1600MHz CL9 kit around - simple as that :-) I was surprised to see just how low profile these sticks are - I doubt any coolers will have clearance issues with these!
HDD: Again - cheap 1TB drive. I like WD - I have a couple of them in my own rig, and I've been happy with their drives in the past.
GPU: This was obviously the toughest call, seeing this whole thing is a gaming machine. I quite quickly settled on the MSI Gaming series of card, as I have a GTX 770 from that series in my rig, and I love the quietness and efficiency of it. The R9 270 seems to have picked up where the HD7870 left. Great 1080p performance for a great price. Sure, the 270X is faster, but it's not much - and going for the non-X card pushed the cost just to the magic limit I had been given (4000DKK if anyone's interested)
Case: Nice cheap case from a good manufacturer. This case really brought me back to the old days of system building - back when cable management was a proper challenge. There's not really any space behind the motherboard to store anything, so you're limited to the ODD bay really. I did put some effort into making this look as clean as possible, and I think I got away with it quite well. Obviously there are always things that could be done better, but I'm happy with the result.
PSU: I have the 550W edition of this in my rig, and I have had nothing to complain about thus far. Great PSU for a great price in Denmark at least - it seems to be a bit pricey in the US compared to the alternatives.
The DVD drive and WiFi adapter were just whatever I could pick up for next to nothing really.
All in all the build went smooth. The only hiccup was the missing USB3 header on the motherboard and the lack of 3-pin fan control. I'm happy with the way it turned out, and I hope she will like it when I deliver it to her this weekend :-)
Thanks for reading - and sorry for the wall of text!