Update: I had some spare cash, so I bought a Gigabyte 1080 Xtreme Gaming video card. Just got it installed and so far it's great!
Update: 6 months later...still haven't bought an M.2 (or other fancy) SSD, but I harvested a new-ish SATA Samsung 500gb from a laptop that's doing just fine (boot time is 10-15 seconds, games load pretty fast, etc). Right now I'm looking at upgrading a graphics card.
This build is somewhat of a work in progress. I am modernizing from my last build from 6 or so years ago. A few recent upgrades to the old beast will be recycled, as well as some older peripherals and storage, which I haven't bothered listing. I usually go very plain and functional with my builds, but this time I opted to put a little more into aesthetics.
After watching way too many hours of reviews of cases, I went with the Phanteks Enthoo Luxe. Almost everyone just says wonderful things about it. I like the look (I went with the white version), and plan on getting some extra lighting for it shortly. The white with black color scheme is carried throughout most of the other components and future upgrades will likely be oriented around making it prettier. Update: I still love this case. It's pretty, easy to work with and roomy. I don't move it from room to room as much as my old tower, as this one is a bit on the heavy side. I have added the Phanteks LED lighting strip and it looks great, though the strip is somewhat precariously mounted. I bought it before they took user suggestions and added magnets to the strip for mounting, and it sounds like they are much better to work with now.
Going with a black/white build, there's really only a few options. I was pretty sold on the MSI Krait for awhile, but was a bit bothered by the sata port placement (a long video card can block several ports from being used because they stick out perpendicular to the mobo). And this one looks nice and a fun to play with. The i5-6600k processor sounds like it'll be more than enough for me, especially with it's ease of overclockability. Wouldn't have minded going for maybe the i7-6700k, but right now that's a pretty huge price jump without enough payoff for my purposes. Update: I have the i5-6600k overclocked to 4600Mhz, or about 31% OC according to the ASUS BIOS/overclocking utility, which was moderately easy to work with. I could probably push it further, but it runs very stable and happy at this speed and the performance has been more than adequate with everything I've thrown at it so far.
To aid with the overclocking without breaking the budget, the Corsair H110i looks tough enough for my purposes...for now. I intend to try my first custom loop liquid cooling system fairly shortly. There just wasn't room in the budget for it just yet. I almost sprang for a Swiftech H280x2 because it sounds fun and basically acts as an all-in-one water cooler, but you can expand it into a custom system. I got impatient, though and there was a good combo deal for the H110i with.. Update: Not much to say here except this cooler is pretty great. My overclocked processor rarely goes above 40C, even under load. I installed the radiator on the top of the case with the fans on top in the ample space. Once a month or so, I vacuum any dust off the radiator fins just to keep everything running smooth.
...a decent 16 GB ram kit that kinda matches my color scheme. It's not the greatest, but the price was right, and since I'm upgrading to a system that only supports DDR4, this was a necessity. Could have gone with 8 GB, saved a few bucks, and probably been fine.
Pretty much everything else is recycled
This was a recent, necessary upgrade to the old beast. The old one died, and I bought this with expandability in mind. It should crank out plenty of juice for awhile. You could probably get by with 450-550 watts here.
Another recent forced upgrade. Old one was a little too old to play the games I wanted to play, so I bought what I could afford at the time. This card is a trooper, though. I've been playing Assassin's Creed Syndicate on the old beast and it plays pretty smooth on high settings. Can't wait to see what it does with some better backup. In the near-ish future I plan to either get a second one for Crossfire, or (more probably) save up for a single, better card (which, in turn may be partnered with a future upgrade). I definitely really like this card, but if you have some extra money in your gaming build budget, here's probably a good place to use it.
I have an old 500GB HDD, brand not worth looking up. I plan to upgrade to an SSD for a system drive very soon. I have a server that serves as extra storage where needed, but others might want at least a small SSD and a 1TB or bigger HDD.
The monitors were a random lucky snag from a local listing. Not spectacular, but they get the job done. $10 each for a few decent 22" monitors? Why not. They were an upgrade for me anyways. Future upgrades are likely here, too.
I have a simple Logitech wireless mouse and keyboard and a game controller that I've used for years, plus random speakers. I have several optical drives lying around, though I only seem to use them on rare occasions lately, and might not bother putting one on this build. This case is so versatile, I'll probably use that space for a cooling component or something further down the line. I'll also add some internal lighting to the case soon. Most likely the Phanteks light strip that matches the accent lighting on the case. These change color, and with the black and white components inside, this should look pretty good.
I also plan to pick up a set of headphones. Going to go wireless to match the keyboard/mouse/controller. Haven't decided between the Logitech G930 or the Corsair Vengeance 2100, for sure.
Update: I bought the Logitech G930 wireless headphones and am mostly happy with them. They can be a bit buggy. When they work, which is 95% of the time, they work great. My only issue is sometimes they just don't want to turn on. When this happens I usually just have to move the microphone arm slightly down (as opposed to folded up against headphones and it powers on fine. Also, I'm pretty rough on these things. I often fall asleep watching TV using these headphones, as I keep much later hours than my roommate, and I've woken up with these things under me, twisted and otherwise strained a ton of times with no noticable damage (the power issues seem unrelated, they were happening from day 2). YMMV
An SSD is another near-future purchase. The one on the list is just an example. In the end I'll probably get whatever I can afford in another month or so and the brand/capacity could be easily swayed by a good sale or price drop.
So there it is. The first wave of parts should arrive tomorrow. We'll see how it goes! Update: Obviously these all arrived awhile back....now it's time to invest in some key upgrades.