This is my first PC build with a $1,500 budget (peripherals not included in budget). It is currently being used for playing games such as Minecraft, Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4, and Skyrim. I'm also planning to start recording short to medium length videos and editing these videos with Sony Vegas Pro 12.
I got all the parts at a TigerDirect store except for the memory, which I got at BestBuy. The employee who helped me find everything was extremely awesome, one of the many reasons why I like to buy stuff in a real store. A few days later, my friend helped me with the building, and it took us a heaping ten hours to put together. We seemed to be n00bs at completing even the simplest tasks! I remember the funniest part was when I installed the GPU, and I kept yelling at my friend to look for the screws so I could secure it. It took me a while to realize that they were right in front of me! We could hardly believe it when the first boot worked perfectly. I organized the cable management the next day, installed Windows, updated drivers, etc. At one point, Windows 8 would get stuck at the pre-login screen. This was after I installed a chipset driver from a flash drive, and the only solution I could think of was to completely reinstall the OS and drivers from the included disks. However, everything worked fine except for this one setback.
Eventually, I set everything up and tried some games. Minecraft, not surprisingly, gets up to 600 FPS at times, averaging out at 200-300 on servers with over 100 players. I've been playing BF4 on Ultra setting, always getting at least 60 FPS. My SSD loads Windows 8 in about 5 seconds, but there has recently been a noticeable increase in the time it takes to login to the desktop. As for hardware temperatures, I think everything is okay. I'm sure my CPU cooling would have been better if I didn't fail terribly when applying thermal paste and setting the heatsink.
Overall, I am extremely satisfied with the build. The only really noticeable problem comes from my PSU, which occasionally makes a chirping noise for a few seconds. It was the best that I could find from the store, so I'll deal with it. It usually only happens when I stop doing something demanding and switch to common stuff like internet browsing, anyway. Building the PC was very fun (and stressful)! At first, I wasn't sure if I would be willing to go through the same process again in the future, but in retrospect, it really wasn't all that bad. Thanks for reading my story; I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!
===== UPGRADE 1 =====
I finally upgraded my standard optical drive to a Blu-Ray reader/writer. I wanted to make sure that the drive would come with the necessary software to play Blu-Ray disks, and the employee at TigerDirect said that it did. Of course, it didn't. Therefore, I was forced to "obtain" the necessary software. It was worth it in the end because now I'm really enjoying watching movies on my PC.