This is an upgrade from a 3 year-old $700 laptop with a 2.2ghz core 2 duo and radeon mobility 4530 512mb gpu. While it gave me many great years of service for work and pleasure, allowing me to play games like Dragon Age, Arkham Asylum and the new XCOM, it's simply time to transition to the world of desktops.
Designed the build around the fx6300 which seemed like the best combination of price and performance. The 990 motherboards were a bit pricey, so I went with a 970. I deliberately chose a case and mobo without front panel USB 3.0 to save some money; I especially like my inexpensive case that still has excellent cable management options.
I took a gamble on the 1.65V Kington memory - pretty sure this exact model is not on the mobo's QVL. To my surprise and delight my motherboard did not need to be told to clock it up to 1600.
People will probably say that I should have gotten a 1TB drive for the extra $5 but I am just not a data hoarder. I don't take pictures (can't you tell), don't hoard music, and rarely work with video files. I have never come close to running out of room on a hard drive.
The GPU is probably the choice I'm least confident about. Price fluctuations, varying reviews, number of fans, criss crossing chipset numbers, etc. made selection difficult. Maybe I should have gone with a 7870, I don't know. However, I figure I'll probably get a lot of mileage out of the 7850 until it's time to upgrade to something much better than a 7870, and I'll never know the difference.
Re: the case fan setup. I read an article that tested fan configurations for optimal cooling, and the results were pretty conclusive that a side intake is superior to a front intake unless you have 4+ fans.
Running Windows 8 64 bit.
A shout out to the pcpartpicker website and community for being a fantastic resource for first time computer builders (and beyond).
Thanks for reading; feedback appreciated!