This was my first time ever building a computer. I've had some older Dell towers and the odd laptop off the shelf at Costco until last year. I wet my feet with the Alienware Alpha which has served me more then well for the measly $400 I paid. Recently I felt as though I could be getting even more, I was playing on a TV and was getting console equivalent or better but still felt like I could do better. I then looked at the backlog I have on steam, games I got that are best played on a KB & M or that werent suited to couch play. Unfortunatly when I do things I tend to go overboard so began the part picking...
I set a budget for myself of $1,000, then under $1,500, then "around" $1,500. I'm convinced that I wouldn't suffer a tower so I began looking at smaller form factors. After goading from friends and with the help of a tax return I bought the parts.
And... So it begins
The Corsair Air 240 case was of the small form factor i wanted, I originally looked at the Prodigy but found this case had more benefits. I checked out the builds with the Air 240 and they seemed clean and cool.
I went with the ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Gene mATX, mainly for the solid brand. mATX for the possibility of SLI in the future. I also looked at the MSI Z170I Pro Gaming but as I was buying the parts it's price jumped to almost that of the Gene. It has what I need now and room to grow.
The Intel i5-6600K was chosen over the 6500 and 6600 for the future possibility of an overclock if I wanted to. I wanted an Intel, and Skylake for that matter. I also grabbed a Corsair H100i v2 for the looks mainly but also for the better cooling.
The RAM, Corsair LPX DDR4-3000 2x8gb, ram doesn't cost all that much and I have 2 more slots to grow.
The SSD, Samsung 850, I bought because Samsung is great, I have one in the Alpha and the boot time is super fast.
For me, the GPU was an easy choice, a Nvidia GTX 970. I loved the look of the reference cards offered by Nvidia. The 980ti was out of the question so I began looking for the 970 and 980. I was able to nab a like new 970 for about the cost of a 960. Ultimately I see my first upgrade in this to be a Pascal GPU after they release.
The Corsair RM750i PSU was highly recommended, and again I thought of the future hence the 750. I sprung the extra $5 for the I model in case I decided to grab a Corsair Link controller.
For fans I went with Corsair, 4 SP120 PWM quiet editions on the radiator, and 2 SP120 red led fans in the top. While looking at the build I decided to have a bottom fan to feed the GPU and since I have a mATX motherboard a 120mm wouldn't fit in the AIR 240. So I picked up a 92mm Noctura PWM fan and used that.
With everyhing said and done, I am extremely happy. The CPU doesnt rise above 38C and GPU under benchmark hits 81C