This was my first build, so I don't think I did the best at minmaxing price over performance, but I'm overall happy with the results. I have a stable overclock at 4.2 ghz. I dabble in video editing, music production, graphic design, animation, digital art, coding, game design and gaming, so I wanted something well-rounded that would perform nicely in all areas. I'm upgrading from a Toshiba Satellite A505 with a 2ghz processor, 4 gb of DDR2, and a 512 MB Radeon 4570 GPU, so although this isn't the best computer, it's a pretty big leap for me.
My parents wouldn't allow me to build anything when I was living with them because they didn't believe I could do it (they were sure I'd break something). After a few months of living on my own coupled with a generous $500 rebate and some planning, I managed to snag the all the necessary makings for a PC setup completely from scratch. With the extra money I had, I decided to splurge on some extra special case fans for nice purple aesthetics and quiet performance.
The PC has two front and two side intakes along with one rear exhaust and two top-loaded exhausts. I was able to overclock it to 4.2 ghz from 3.8 ghz. It runs cool and quiet at just under 50 degrees under load and gives off a nice subtle glow.
For a budget build, you might say my PSU and case were rather expensive. I owe that mostly to inexperience. Firstly, I wanted a nice case with plenty of room, accessibility and cable management options. Secondly, I wanted a lot of juice because a) I wasn't sure how much I needed and I didn't want to fall short and b) the 850W wasn't that much of a step up in price for the wattage. Moreover, I wanted a case and PSU that could handle additional memory and a potential crossfire setup or that could be recycled for future builds.
Total savings via rebates and promotions: $204. Savings breakdown by part: CPU - $20; Mobo - $20; Memory - $29; SSD - $10; HDD - $15; GPU - $30; Case - $10; PSU - $10; Monitor - $60. Parts were primarily purchased during Black Friday sales. Stripping the computer of peripheral and storage costs, it rounds out at about $650.