Or rather....my Cube of Gold.
CASE: I wanted something portable, and the Thermaltake Core V1 is just perfect for that. At first I thought the case was going to be too small for good cable management and airflow. Boy was I wrong; the build was just as easy as any larger case, and the case even fits 3.5" drives (which not all mini-ITX cases do). Plus, the fact that Thermaltake chose to put the window on top is an added bonus.
CPU: An i5 would have more more than sufficient for gaming, but I want to future-proof this build for as long as I can. Overclocked at 4.8Ghz, my 7700k sits idly at under 25 C, and having an AIO water cooler really helps keeps those temperatures down.
COOLER: I was surprised that I was able to make the H80i v2 fit into this tiny case. As you can see from the photos, there's minimal room for the two hoses. It works very well though.
GPU: I've been using my 1070 since November '16. I expected to see a minor performance jump going from a 4770k to a 7700k while in gameplay, but I really don't see a difference. The 1070, however, is a decent card for 1440p gaming at >60 FPS, and it is amazing for 1080p gaming.
RAM: 32GB RAM is definitelty overkill, but I had accidentally ordered a 1x16 stick. Since I wanted to symmetry, I wound up getting another one. Clocking them to 3200 Mhz in the BIOS was a piece of cake too.
MOBO: Word of advice for those purchasing this mobo: update the BIOS as soon as you can. You may run into issues with RAM >2133Mhz. One thing I am worried about is that the m.2 slot is underneath the board, where there is no airflow at all. In retrospect, I would have purchased a board with the m.2 slot on the front. Overall, though, it does it's job perfectly, and the EVGA BIOS is very user friendly.
STORAGE: With m.2 drives being fairly new, I wanted to give one a try. I was expecting a faster boot time than a traditional SSD, but it turns out it's the same; my boot time takes 9 seconds because the BIOS takes a while to load. I'd say if you aren't going to be transferring files from one drive to another, save some money and get a regular SSD. I went with a 3.5" drive since 2.5" 7200RPM drives are crazy expensive. I already have 2/3 TB filled with games, and they load with ease.
FANS: You cannot go wrong with Noctua fans. I have these set to 1650 RPM using one of the included adapters and they don't make any sound.
MONITORS: Yes, you can get a 144hz Acer monitor for sub-$200 USD. Yes, you can get a 1440p monitor for cheaper as well. But, you cannot get a 1ms 164hz 1440p G-Sync monitor for as cheap or as good as this one. One monitor is more than sufficient, and I had orginally planned on using regular 1080 monitors for the left and right. Any monitor I tried out with one S2417DG, though, had an uneven bezel. It bothered me so much that I splurged and purchased three. If I were you, I'd get one S2716DG. I would have gotten three of those, but I do not have the space for that.
CUSTOMIZATION: To make the mini-ITX case more appealing, I decided to dip part of it gold. It contrasts very nicely with the black case and hardware within the case. Plus, if I get tired of the color eventually, it is completely peelable. Totally customize your case to make it yours.
OVERALL: I have to say, building this was extremely satisfying. Some aspects are a bit overkill, but it's always better to have more than to have less. If any of you are planning on doing a mini-ITX build, I hope my build helps you with ideas.
TEMPS UNDER LOAD I used Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice at 1440p ultra settings to perform a stress test on CPU and GPU. The GPU temps stayed at a constant 65C , while the CPU mainly stayed in between 43C and 49C, with few drops in the high 30s and spikes in the low 50s.
EDIT 3/5/19: GPU UPGRADE I saw this 1080 Ti going for $500 and I jumped the gun. Compared to the 1070 I originally had in this build, the Ti is one heck of a beast. The only downside is that it sounds like an apache helicopter under full load.