I needed a fast affordable computer with excellent price to performance ratio for development and media entertainment that I could use at home and maybe take with me when I travel.
Processor: The 4770k was the first part that I purchased and I was extremely lucky to get it for $150 after a Staples price match and coupons. Well...not as lucky as those who qualify for the Intel Retail Edge program. Stock Intel cooler is only temporary until I install a liquid cooling system.
Motherboard: I didn't have too many options for the motherboard as I was limiting myself to the BitFenix Prodigy mini itx form factor and support for Hackintosh. I thought about getting the Gigabyte GA-Z87N-WIFI which is usually the motherboard of choice for Hackintosh, but there were a couple things I didn't like about it. Namely, the cheap four phase power design with high power consumption at load, inferior wifi chip, less SATA ports, VGA in place of DisplayPort, etc. The Z87e-itx has better specs across the board. One of the few things I don't like about it is the placement of the 24 pin ATX and EPS connectors. It makes cable management harder and blocks my beautiful Kingston X ram logo. In the end, I got the motherboard to work pretty stable with Mountain Lion, but had some weird issues with multiple monitors on the Intel Integrated Graphics. Who ever thought disabling virtual memory would black out one of my monitors.
Memory: I had bought 16 GB of Patriot Viper ram at ncix for $70, but they cancelled it since it was a price mistake. Dang, ncix needs to automate their shipping like Walmart so I get lucky next time. Then I bought 16Gb of Kingston HyperX for $89 on Amazon, and my brother covered the cost as my Christmas gift. I lowered the CAS timings to 9,9,9,24 and had zero issues with the ram, memtest86 went through the complete 40 minute test with no errors.
Storage: I picked up the Kingston HyperX 120Gb SSD from TigeDirect about a year ago and finally put it to good use. It really helps speed up my compilation times. Also, I added a 2.5 inch mechanical HDD for more data storage so I don't wear out the SSD prematurely. The mechanical drive was gutted from a Sony external usb 3.0 hard drive which I got for free.
Case: I fell in digital love with the BitFenix Prodigy the first time I laid eyes on it. I paid $32 for it from a scratch & dent sale at performance-pcs. It kinda looks like a Mac and will look even more awesome once I install the custom liquid cooling loop.
Power Supply: I left the power supply last for a reason. I made an impulse buy with the power supply because I needed to test the system out and make sure I had no defective components in before return policy expires. Let's just say I am not happy with the purchase. The unit is extremely heavy and could probably be used as a multi-purpose boat anchor that electrocutes fish to kill them and make them float up to the surface. It is a very tight fit inside the psu bay and I had to bend the cables in all kinds of ways to achieve clean cable management. Also, I have a defective unit as the fan is always spinning at maximum rpm even when the system is completely idle. I will send it back to XFX once I have another PSU I can use.
Oh and I am definitely getting a video card once the Litecoin craze dies and the market is flooded with cheap video cards.