I've been a longtime builder of computers. I have not built a large number of systems as i tend to over extend their usefulness past my desired experience for gaming. My previous build was right around$600 built over 8 years ago and had most things updated up until 2 years ago; all the while using my personal longtime favorite intel processor thus far and currently still in use and going strong for over 8 years: Intel® Core™2 Quad Processor Q6600 (8M Cache, 2.40 GHz, 1066 MHz FSB) http://ark.intel.com/products/29765/Intel-Core2-Quad-Processor-Q6600-8M-Cache-2_40-GHz-1066-MHz-FSB
Though my bottleneck came in at the motherboard selection for the LGA775 socket, which maxes out at DDR3 and 16gb of Ram at similar prices to newer chipsets and sockets. My current build, which has many parts too old to list, will make for a nice back up gamer and media computer.
Starting with the case, Thermaltake offers an amazingly customizeable small case that can accomodate full size power supplies. I have never built a mini ITX before, but i wanted something new and open for future customization.
I actually really like my current inexpensive ATX Mid Tower i purchased in 2008, which provided great ventilation and lots of disc drive supports and front arrangements which i have utilized over the years: ARK PA04 Black/Silver http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811128003
For the Motherboard i went with the respectable EVGA. While the reviews suggest that Bios updating is a must with this Z71 chipset mobo, i wasn't put off by this one bit. EVGA Z170 Stinger Mini ITX: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188179
The specifications on this mini ITX board speak for themselves. Though one complaint by most shoppers is the lack of built in Wifi. I enjoy myself a wired Ethernet connection at all times. I am particularly glad they included 6 USB 3.0 and even 2 USB 2.0 ports. This allows for many various external disc drive options. I don't intend on adding any other storage or disc devices to the case as to cut down on wire clutter.
Though i did not include this in the build, i particularly enjoy the Buffalo Drives including: MiniStation™ Extreme NFC http://www.buffalotech.com/products/portable-hard-drives/ministation/ministation-extreme-nfc MediaStation™ 16x Desktop BDXL Blu-Ray™ Writer http://www.buffalotech.com/products/optical-drives/mediastation/mediastation-16x-desktop-bdxl-blu- ray-writer
Buffalo offers durable and robust products. While size can be an issue for some, my preference is that of toughness and longevity for storage drives even when travel is concerned.
Also, not shown in this build is a cleaned up Rocketfish 550 Watt ATX psu. This was originally purchased at Best Buy 5 years ago when my mid tower case original chinese power supply blew up. Luckily nothing was damaged. The Rocketfish has functioned flawlessly since the day i bought it. It's quiet and has a chrome finish with a blue led. http://www.rocketfishproducts.com/products/computer-accessories/RF-550WPS.html