This is the first pc I've built, and I put it together for day to day tasks and maybe the occasional foray into 15fps crysis3 gaming. I am thrifty by nature so I wanted to get the best system for the money, and starting this build from scratch meant that the total price tag had to contain a full pc (minus headphones, a keyboard and mouse). I already have those peripherals but will replace them ASAP as they are low quality (<$50 all together). I have always had an interest in computer building, but I never had the opportunity to build one myself (until now) and usually just use my laptop or a school computer for work. After lurking on pc building forums for a while, I wanted to get some hands on experience. Plus my laptop (toshiba satellite...bleurgh) just couldn't handle the load I was putting on it. I acquired the parts over a period of several weeks and prayed that nothing came DOA. I will just round that off by saying that I will never use that strategy again in the future, it was nerve wracking.
Case: The first thing I bought. Luckily, I did not have to plan the build around this case much, its roomy and comes equipped with 5 fans (4x120mm, 1x200mm). I like the color and look of this case a lot. I have only seen one other build with this case, and I hope to see more in the future. I was a little disappointed that it didn't fit the Cooler Master 212 Evo or the Noctua NH-D14, though.
CPU: The beast with six cores (sort of). A little old but has solid reviews. Plus it has a relatively low TDP for an AMD FX chip at 95W. Aside from single-core performance I am pretty content with it. I hope to follow this up with an i5 build for more serious use.
CPU Cooler: No regrets, even after I was elbow deep in thermal paste, praying for a third arm to help me screw the block to the cpu. Directions are awful though, I have received grocery store coupons that went more into depth than these installation instructions did. Now the warranty info, on the other hand...
Motherboard: I originally looked at the 990FX version from Gigabyte, but ended up saving money and opting for a 970 board instead. I read that the UD3P has a larger heatsink than the D3P and something about 8+2 power phase but right around then my eyes rolled back into my head and I just bought the damn thing. I think at 50 dollars I got an okay deal :)
Memory & Graphics: RAM was really expensive at the time of purchase and this was the best deal I could find for 2x4GB of 1600MHz sticks was bundled with the R7 260X. A friend had originally recommended the GTX750 Ti to me, but unfortunately it jumped up in price several days before I planned on purchasing it. As a sidenote, in my opinion many graphics cards out there right now are extremely overpriced. Well, actually it's not just my opinion just compare the list and sale prices of the R9 xxx line. Thanks, cryptocurrency.
Also, anybody got an opinion on spraypainting RAM heatspreaders? You can probably guess what color I will be going for here...
Okay, so I probably should have done a little more research before diving in headfirst, but hindsight is 20/20. That being said, I really went for the best bang-for-the-buck deals I could find with my limited knowledge, and I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. Theory is great, but at the end of the day I really wanted to get my hands on real parts and put this thing together. I am looking forward to pushing this system to its limits, and I am totally open to replacing individual components if it would benefit the system. This site helped a lot, and I can't wait to try this again with an Intel processor. Feel free to rip apart my choices or just kindly let me know what I could have done better.
After overclocking to 4 GHz I have never seen this thing go over 40 degrees C on any measureable part of the system, except maybe the GPU. Is this normal? I have very good external cooling this thing is right next to the window, sucking in winter air 24/7. I had heard these chips were hot and I was expecting it to idle around that temp.
Oh, and sorry about the quality of the pictures. They were taken on my girlfriend's iPhone since I can't find my digital camera.