(Sorry for the minimal amount of photos; I forgot to take them when I first built the computer, so I took some while replacing the fans.)
While I've made a few builds from scratch and done countless repair jobs, this is actually my first personal build. I was going to name this The Phoenix, paint the case a fiery red and get a custom emblem saying Phoenix instead of Raven, but I already want to upgrade most of my system, so I left it alone.
The Case: Man, this case is a love, hate relationship. When I first saw this case on a HardwareCanucks video I instantly fell in love. The looks of it are amazing. It is so sleek and small, it's just so nice. It can even house a custom loop. Also it can hold a full size graphics card which for a case this size is just insane. However this is also where the hate starts. It is such a tedious process to change anything with the graphics card since you have to take out the entire mounting bracket, which houses the graphics card, SSDs, and Slimline OD (I recommend just getting an external drive, the Slimline ones are loud and require a special adapter). This was a big problem for me especially because when I first started the build, I had a refurbished MSI R9 270X, which I found out doesn't fit without pulling the AC cable extender out the back which is just plain ugly. But besides it not fitting after the first attempt in a game the card died on me and so I returned it and ended up getting the Sapphire R9 290 since I had gotten a bit more cash. Luckily this one fits so much better, but even when simply replacing the fans I had to pull the bracket out. On top of that the cable management is virtually non-existent. Most of this is addressed in the RVZ02, but that wasn't even announced at the time of getting the case.
The Motherboard: Since I started with this case, my motherboard choices were pretty small. However I already was planning on getting this one due to it being what was used in the HardwareCanucks video. But once I saw that it had an AC NIC and fairly beastly onboard audio I was completely sold.
The Graphics Card: This was one of the larger pains with this build. I started off with a refurbished MSI R9 270X which as I said didn't fit, which was due to MSI having an extra support brace which sticks out quite far. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately since I benefited in the long run, the card failed after my first real use of it. It was about two weeks between buying the card and it failing due to school taking up all of my time to game. In that time I managed to accumulate enough cash so that I could get the Sapphire R9 290. The really unfortunate thing about this transition is that the 270X was a dual fan design and the 290 is a tri fan design. So when I was putting the supporting clamp on the card I didn't think about it needing to be off center, and I ended up clamping a fan resulting in it burning out the fan. Eventually I might throw a custom loop into the system to replace the damaged cooler. The card runs pretty hot anyway, so the water cooling would be really nice.
Everything Else: With most every other part I just based it off of price to performance. The fans are the only thing which took a bit of thought, and I just decided to go with what appeared to be the best while still looking nice, and man are they nice. They move a lot of air while staying very quiet, which is a bonus with the dead card fan, and the red glow simply looks amazing. They had a bit of a clink when I first put them in, but that has gone away after about a week.
All in all this was a really fun build despite the annoyances, and even though I would choose a case like an H440, Enthoo Luxe, or honestly any mid/full tower after this build, The Raven will remain one of my favorite cases.
Man, stay AWAY from this SSD, it has numerous problems. To start, the SSD is slow. It has been slow from the very first day, but since I had never used an SSD before I didn't realize that the increased speed which I noticed was from better parts overall and not the SSD (Just replaced the SSD with my old WD Blue and the old HDD is faster). I could have lived with that since it is relatively cheap, but staring around 4 months in the SSD would cause my system to freeze around 6 times a day (computer on all day). While it would unfreeze after around 30 seconds, it was insanely annoying and made gaming impossible. After this happened I decided to look up reviews for the drive (last time I buy something based off of someone saying the company is good) and found out that this drive is prone to these issues on top of many more which after knowing what to look for I realized that my drive had those issues as well. Then to top it all off, when trying to migrate my data to the WD Blue drive, the OS and users get corrupted. Luckily I didn't loose any data, but it did add a day of work to fix it.