Gaming build that I put together in December 2012. It's been almost a year and this build has been excellent.
CPU- At the time a built this the i5-3570K was pretty much the standard for gaming PCs in this price range. I also wanted something that could overclock to about 4.0+, and I felt this was a better value than the i7 (which was about $100 more).
CPU Cooler- I really wanted liquid cooling over air, and this particular cooler came with a deal with the CPU that knocked $20 off the price. It is made by Corsair which is one of the better CPU cooler manufacturers.
MOBO- I had to go mini-ITX for this case, and this motherboard was the similar mini-iTX version of the popular AsRock z77 Extreme4 series that I liked.
Memory- I was originally planning on getting only 8 GB of RAM, but right before I bought my memory there was a sell for this particular brand that put it at $60, and since this motherboard could only hold two stick of memory I figured I might as well get 2 sticks of 8GB.
Storage- For the SSD I saw this Intel 330 on sale for $145 and it was a really good price for 240 GB so I grabbed one, and for my mass storage hard drive I bought a 2 TB Seagate Barracuda. Seagate is a trusted brand and 2 TB was more than enough for me.
Video Card- I was debating over whether to get a GTX 670 or a 680. I finally decided that the 670 was a better value even though the 680 was more powerful. Then a deal for this GPU came around that came with a free copy of Assassin's Creed 3 and Borderlands 2. At the time this GPU was selling for around $400, and I got this for $339.
Case- I wanted a case that was really small, and had little to no compromise in terms of the components I could choose. This case easily fits all of my components, but my one complaint is that the feet on the bottom of the case sometimes makes the case wobble. I eventually took them off. I love the look of this case, but I hope future versions have a more stable base. It also lacks cable management, but you usually don't that in cases this size.
PSU- Seasonic is a well respected brand, and this 550w 80+Gold PSU was more than enough for me, and it fit the size requirement for this case.
Optical Drive- Not a lot of thought was put into this honestly. I got one just in case I might need it, and I've used it a couple of times, so I guess it was worth it.
OS- I loved the UI for Windows 8 since the first time I saw it. The metro interface is easy to navigate, and it start-ups much faster compared to Win 7. I don't really understand the hate it gets.
Keyboard- Looking for an inexpensive back-lit keyboard. I really didn't have high requirements for this. All keyboards are the same to me personally.
Mouse- I wanted a gaming mouse with a good number of buttons because I am terrible at using the keyboard in PC games. I came across this mouse which is made for MOBAs, but it is very useful in all kinds of genres.