First tier is here: http://pcpartpicker.com/b/XhZ8TW
This is a multi-purpose home PC that I use for web development, image editing, and graphic design. Initially, I was trying to build a robust PC for as little money as possible, but then I decided that it also need to be pretty, so here we go...
CPU: the Core i3 4150 is vastly underrated and unloved for how capable it is, especially when considering its on-chip graphics. For my relatively moderate demands, this more than keeps up. I can edit images, have a browser open up on the second screen and stream video to my TV. All with room to spare. It'll also play League of Legends at 65 fps.
CPU Cooler: The i3 doesn't put out much heat and the stock Intel fan is more than sufficient, keeping it around 43 C at idle. But it was ugly. So going with the Phanteks TC90LS was almost purely because it was lily-white and pretty. Coupled with some Arctic Silver 5 laying around, this knocked idle temps down 3 C, which is something. It's simple, well made, and effective for its size.
Motherboard: Great build quality overall, and had the exact minimum features that I required. Cheap and effective. Only gripes are the case and aux fan jumpers could be closer to the edge of the board. For the sake of prettiness I use the PSU power for all but the CPU fan. The board is super tiny, even for a Micro ATX and looks absurdly small in the mid tower. In hindsight, I should have spent another $40 for a full size ATX with room for future expansion.
Memory: I wanted to go memory intensive on this build for my multi-tasking. 16GB should be more than enough for a while. Ran a comprehensive memory test after install and performed flawlessly.
Storage: Aside from the motherboard, the SSD is my only other regret. I went with the Kingston Fury to match the ram, and because it matched the color scheme and was cheap. Should have invested another $20 for the significantly faster Samsung Evo 850. The 500gb HDD was something I had laying around, used for backup and media storage. Considering the Barracuda's relatively high failure rate, this will probably get upgraded later.
Case: Easily my favorite single part. The NZXT S340 is flawless. Everything is so well thought out and well built. Can't go wrong here. Highly recommended. Six stars!
Power supply: Well reviewed and got it for next to nothing with specials and rebate. I'm a little disappointed with my choice in wire sleeving from Moddiy.com. 3mm High Density in white isn't high density enough since the wire color shows through a little and that bothers me a lot. But it looks light-years better than the multicolor mess it was before. And considering the distance it has run to find the tiny motherboard, was pretty necessary.
Monitors: These are gems. One of the few monitors available in white to match my build, these are also crisp and clean and are built very nicely.
Cooling: Added two additional 140mm NZXT case fans up front to built positive pressure inside the case to minimize dust inlet. So far, no signs of dust built up. However, these are audible where the 120mm fans and the CPU fan are dead silent. The only saving grace is that the tone is relatively calm and soothing.
Operating System: I'm not a fan of Windows or Mac OS, so I went with a Ubuntu distribution of Linux called Pinguy OS. It's a little quirky but runs great 99% of the time. It's been a good learning experience getting used to a Linux environment and it was exactly $0.
Tier III calls for upgraded storage options and case lighting.