It's been about 12 or 13 years since I've last done anything related to building a PC. The last time I did anything, I had an AMD Athlon and a processor's speed was essentially all about the GHz. Now, it's all different and I couldn't have told you the difference between an i3, i5, i7, or a Xeon processor. I ended up doing about 20-40 hours of research getting educated on current computer parts, and I owe a lot of that to LinusTechTips and Paul's Hardware. I also got some input from /r/buildapcforme on Reddit.
From most of my research, the i5 4690k seemed to be the best processor for your money for a gaming/internet only computer. I originally went to Micro Center and bought it for $199.99, but was able to get the difference refunded to me when it went on sale to $179.99 a week later.
Since I intended to dabble in overclocking, and the fact that liquid cooling is so simple (but I didn't have the money for a custom setup), I went with the Corsair H100i. I read good reviews and very few negative ones. I found the installation to be easier than I was expecting and the instructions to be easy to follow along (the only part which I almost missed was making sure the backplate was oriented correctly since there's a very minor cutout in one side).
I originally went with the MSI Z97-G45 Gaming motherboard because it was really cheap and I was able to get a combo at Micro Center where it would be $40 off when paired with the 4690k processor. When they dropped the price of the processor, I looked at it as essentially a free upgrade for my motherboard. I figured I would go with the Z97 Gaming 7 since it was an upgrade of a few tiers, and I only had to pay an additional $20 for it (about $40 more total, but $20 refunded from the price drop of the processor). I haven't tried out any overclocking, but the OC Genie concept appeals to me and I don't want to make overclocking complicated. The only issue I had was connecting the USB 3.0 plug into the motherboard header. I'm not sure if it's the motherboard or the case, but it was extremely difficult to plug it in, and I was more than positive that I was going to break some of the pins in the header. However, after forcing it in, I have no issues with my USB 3.0 ports on my case and they're functioning normally, much to my surprise.
The Corsair Vengeance Pro had the right color scheme and decent reviews. I read 8gb is enough for gaming for the near future, so I went with that while keeping my options open to upgrade to 16gb in the future if I so choose.
I had an ASUS Essentio CG5290 as my last computer and I recycled the 1tb Hitachi hard drive from that. I also wanted to boot Windows from a solid state drive because I hate waiting for my computer to start up. I picked up the Samsung 840 EVO 250gb since it was a reasonable price and I didn't want to go overkill. I used to put my old ASUS in sleep mode all the time because I have no patience. Now I'm able to shut down properly and I don't have to wait more that 10-15 seconds from power on to fully functional.
I splurged here (a bit). I know the 970 is significantly cheaper with only slightly less performance, but this was my present to myself. I intend to upgrade to a second 980 to run an SLI configuration when I get the money for it. I went with the MSI one because of the MSI color scheme. It does it's job and it's fun to play FarCry 4 without having to worry about throttling back my graphics settings.
My favorite and least favorite part of the build. I read such great reviews of the Phanteks Enthoo Pro and heard that it was an amazing value, so I had to get it. I saw black ones all over the place but no white ones so I went white to mix it up. I ordered the case from Amazon on a Friday, tracked it's movement from Florida to the hub 5 minutes from my house in Minnesota the following Wednesday, then didn't get any more updates and it never showed up. Called UPS and they said consider it lost and to file a claim. The Monday after that (when I intended to file the claim), UPS then showed that it had scanned my package, but it had accidentally been shipped back to Florida. UPS did not do anything to fix their mistake and it took until that next Friday to arrive (2 weeks, 8-9 business days). The box itself had a few dents/gouges, but I found that the case didn't sustain any major damage. The box inside containing the screws was loose in the case and was not fastened to anything, however it appeared that at one point it had been twist-tied and had just come loose in the 2 weeks it spent traveling the country. One of the plastic mount pieces for the 5.25" bays had come off but I'm not worried about it. If I had the motivation I could probably replace it very easily. Other than that, I love the case. It's very modular and has good airflow.
I went to Best Buy and picked up the CPU cooler, SSD, and power supply. Best Buy is only about 5 minutes from my house and I didn't have the patience to deal with any more UPS issues so I spent more than I should have but I'm not too worried about it. The power supply does its job. The ends of some of the cables are multi-colored, which is mildy annoying so I got a red extension cable for the motherboard power connector. I ended up having to zip-tie the excess cable for the video cards, but that's not a big deal to me.
I intend to upgrade to Windows 10 when it comes out. I heard Windows 8 users may get a cheap/discounted upgrade to Windows 10.
2 Noctua NF-F12 fans in addition to the case/cooler fans. I wanted decent air intake, so I went with static pressure fans because the intake would be on the bottom of the case drawing air from a carpeted floor and a dust screen. The carpet is basically thin industrial carpet which is made easy to clean and isn't shaggy, but I figured I'd play it safe.
I have a Razer Blackwidow mechanical keyboard, a Roccat Kone mouse, and an ASUS 24" 1080p monitor that I'm reusing. I'm considering upgrading to 4k, and when I do I'll end up getting an additional graphics card and a better power supply.
It looks decent enough from the front. The back is somewhat of a mess but I don't have the patience to run everything all pretty in back. Plus some of the cables were almost as stretched out as they could go (see: SATA power cables).
I still have to run some benchmarks on it but I hope to do that soon. Please comment, and feel free to throw my way any constructive criticisms you may have. Like I said, it's my first build so I'm not expecting everything to be perfect. However, I really enjoyed the project and would love to continue building these in the future. Thanks for taking the time to read through this!