This is my first build; I finished it two weeks ago, and I am using it for general tasks such as media consumption, web-browsing, word processing, spreadsheets, etc...
I had originally planned a price cap of around $1000, but after deciding on aesthetics, the price slowly crept up to $1200, $1500, and then to $1750. I may get more parts in the future- a liquid cooler, and perhaps an optical drive. I had the mouse and keyboard before I built the system, so I did not factor them into the final cost of the computer. Video card was bought as "New, other" and the motherboard was bought as "Used - Like New".
I chose the parts with aesthetics prominently in mind, and as such, the case and video card became the most needlessly-excessive components.
Working with the large case (as a size comparison, the monitor is 27") and the many cables inside it was a little difficult, but I managed in the end! Everything is detected and works, but I have not run any diagnostic or stress tests on it yet.
Here are the costs of each of the components (including tax, shipping, rebates; excluding cash back):
Intel i5-3570K: $189.99
ASUS P8Z77-V: $127.58
G.Skill Ripjaws X Series DDR3 1600, CAS 9: $85.79
Samsung 830 128GB: $69.99
Western Digital Red 3TB: $160.86
EVGA GTX 670 4GB Superclocked: $322.60
ASUS Xonar DX: $46.30
NZXT Phantom 820: $273.11
NZXT HALE90 1000W: $109.25
Achieva Shimian QH270-IPSBS 2560x1440 sIPS: $329.00
Logitech C260: $0.00