Anticipated Uses: Gaming (replace my Xbox), astrophotographical image processing (Deep Sky Stacker requires lots of RAM), and hopefully tri-booting Windows 7, Ubuntu, and OS X Yosemite for fun and experimentation.
Goals: I was going for low power consumption and and low cost. I made some compromises to keep both down without entirely compromising gaming performance. I was originally going to go for an even smaller case (and a cheapter GPU), but this one fits pretty large GPUs, I like that 200mm fan, and it's fairly cheap.
Actual Cost: Just over $700 (but one could buy less RAM or use and old hard drive to bring it under $600). I was trying for <$600, but go add another 10%+ for tax, shipping, and another $35 for mail-in rebates I will never receive. After that and a new hard drive, the budget is actually sitting somewhere just above $700 (If you have a PO BOX, don't even waste you're precious time on this planet with mail-in rebates. I thought I'd try it, but as expected, it is technically impossible to get anything with a PO BOX). As for the other parts, to cut costs I went for used a used CPU, a refurb SSD, a used GPU. I would have bought everything used or refurbished if it was available at time of order.
Overclocking GPU: The Asus Strix 960 was overclocked (no voltage modification) with MSI Afterburner. Stats from GPU-Z. GPU Base Clock - 1348 MHz (default 1228 MHz) / GPU Boost Clock - 1411 MHz (default 1291 MHz). During gaming, GPU-Z showes the max GPU Core Clock hitting 1500 MHz and the max GPU Memory Clock at 2000 MHz (memory default 1800 MHz; effective memory clock rate of 8000 MHz versus stock 7200 MHz). It runs the Valley Benchmark at max everything, 8x anti-aliasing, with an average of 39.6 fps: Low - 21.3 fps, Max - 73 fps. I upped all the fan curves and it stays at 60 C (+/-) 2 C. GPU can be OC'd further with some additional mVs. Edit: I usually run the card at close to stock speeds for I question the cards longevity when running at high clocks for extended periods of time.
Power Consumption Stats (tested with Kill A Watt): Idle - Between 50 and 60 Watts / Gaming - Just Under 200 Watts / Sleep - 1.5 Watts / Hibernation - 0.7 Watts (this is essentially what the power supply draws in idle) / Shut Down - About 0.7 Watts; turn off power supply switch for 0 Watts / Idle before GPU installation - About 35 Watts