Part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2eLbQ
A lot of pictures (46) but relevant and detailed. tons to showcase in this build. Sorry for the few that are turned sideways. They didn't start that way but for whatever reason it's the only way they will upload.
Pictures taken with a Canon PowerShot SX30 IS. Yes, I need to paint the walls although it's not normally as bright as in the pictures...
I mostly use this for gaming, multimedia (some editing), streaming, tinkering, and learning. This was my first build (upgraded from a Dell XPS 720). I struggled for the longest time deciding whether to custom water cool everything. I ultimately decided not to (for now). This machine (with planned upgrades) should last me nearly 10 years. I have not overclocked yet, however, I do plan to in the future. I just have no need to at the moment and it's something I need to learn the ins and outs of still.
Long story short (as there's lots of info about the parts below) I had a few issues with a couple of the parts but other then that the build went very well and I'm happy with the end result. Link at the end to planned upgrades and additions as well as to the final and completed build part list.
CPU: I'm extremely pleased with the CPU although I may have lost the silicon lottery as the auto overclock will only hit 3.9 GHz. If i attempt anything higher all I get is blue screens when Windows tries to load. Something to figure out in the future. Staples price matched the great deal Micro Center had going on which was awesome!
CPU Cooler: While I'm pleased with the cooler I have a mounting bolt that bent... yes I said bent... I didn't apply any extreme torque or anything... It was really odd. I said screw it and went with it. The temps have been good but I do plan on ordering a replacement I think (if even possible) or calling it a factory defect and possibly returning it... We'll see.
Motherboard: Really nice to work with and lots of great features but I did deduct a star just because I would have liked to have seen more USB 2.0 or even 3.0 connections (knew this going in) and the software is annoying.
Memory: Easily got timings advertised using the XMP profile. Very snappy! I plan to see what I can do as far as manually overclocking with such low timings. 16 GB is a lot, I know. I had originally planned only half of that allowing for the upgrade room, however I was able to get the 'upgrade' immediately.
Storage: The 840 Pro is AMAZING. Enough said. Temps = min: 23°C - max: 30°C. The Caviar Black is just another HDD with a nice warranty. Temps = min: 26°C - max 30°C. I've also stuck my old 10,000 RPM WD Raptor in. Temps = min: 27°C - max 29°C.
Video Card: I've come from an old nVidia GeForce 5800 to the EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Ti... Again, AMAZING...
Case: This was my first purchase... and I do wish I would have gotten something else. Don't get me wrong, it's nice. However the motherboard cutout is not positioned correctly, I would have liked removable HDD cages, and more room on the backside for cables. But you live and learn.
Case Fans: Yes, it's a lot of fans. Ambient temps are HOT here year 'round (hot summers with crappy AC and heater gets ran at higher temps in winter) and I wanted/needed the ability to air cool as much as possible. They are loud at full speed but I have rarely (other then benchmarking and such so far) have ran them at full, besides I usually am wearing the headset anyways.
PSU: Great quality part and gives expansion room.
Optical Drive: I choose a Blu-Ray because currently we don't own one and plans for movies to be viewed on the nVidia 3D Surround setup.
OS: Newest and greatest I had available to me through a Dream Spark account from college.
Monitor: This was one of two choices. The BenQ I was looking at was considerably more expensive and offered lower a refresh rate. I am very pleased with it and I plan to get two more. This one however does have 1 dead pixel... I haven't decided yet whether or not I will deal with the hassle of getting a replacement.
Keyboard: I just had this laying around. It is going to be upgraded in the near future.
Mouse: This mouse is great. Fits perfectly and moves very smoothly. The software on the other hand... I'm not quite impressed. But that's just software and eventually the kinks will be smoothed out (I hope).
Speakers: I don't really ever use them. I just had them sitting around. I plan to upgrade to a good surround set for movie viewing pleasure.
Headphones: I previously owned them. I do really like them. They are heavy though and the cord likes to coil and twist up. You get used the weight and the cord is just a minor inconvenience.
Custom Parts: Most of these are pretty self explanatory but here ya go:
I already had the Dell monitor and plan to use it as an accessory display when I have the nVidia 3D Surround setup.
The fan mounting screw set is for the H100i for use in push/pull (I didn't get any long enough screws).
The memory cooling module is just a fan that sits over the RAM.
The fan controller was a must have and has been working great.
The hard disk drive coolers are, well, not necessary but will hopefully do what I want and extend the life of my HDDs be taking the heat from them. If not oh well, they were cheap.
The slim fan is for the bottom of the case by the PSU (has to sit slightly under). Works and fits well.
The splitters and hubs are for getting all the fans down to the 6 connections on the fan controller.
I got the 5.25" Bay Chassis Cooling Mounting Kit for another fan to blow air over and into the GPU.
The magnetic dust filters are amazing and I am very glad that I got them. They get rid of any whistle (there is some without them from the intakes on the side and the exhausts on top) and have already caught a ton of dust and dog hair.
The gaming pad replaced an identical one I had but was well used. It's a very nice pad and works very well.
RGB LED controller just gives a more even red color inside with the included LED light strip. One thing to note is the sticky backing on the LED strip is not that great. Some zip ties or other solution will probably be needed.
The backplate was inexpensive. Although there wasn't really any sag it will help to take any strain off and besides, it looks better.
Planned upgrades and additions parts list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2eLda
Completed build parts list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2eLex
A big thank you to all those in the PCPP community that helped in all my planning and decision making. This is truly a great place and I'm very glad to have found it and also grateful for Philip, the team, and the product of their hard work.
I know it's a been a long read but I think information is important. I appreciate your comments, suggestions, and/or critiques and REALLY look forward to getting to do another build soon.