I've spent my entire life using computers made on a shoestring budget. So when I found myself gainfully employed, single, and able to save money, I started accumulating cash to build the kind of computer I'd been drooling over for years. I set out to build the ultimate battlestation with money as no object while still trying to maintain a good price/performance ratio. It was originally envisioned as a Ryzen build, and in fact the first incarnation used a Gigabyte mobo and R7-1700- but I had too much trouble with RAM compatibility to justify the slight savings over Intel.
Let's dig into the components a bit:
Corsair Crystal 570X- the only case that really grabbed my attention from the models on display at Fry's. It's big and heavy, so this is definitely not a LAN build, but it has unparalleled visibility, plenty of fan mounts, solid cable management, and lots of space in front for the radiator. It's also gorgeous and elegant, not as over the top as some gaming cases.
Corsair RM650i- my criteria for a power supply were fully modular, gold rating, and quiet. This checks all the boxes. Were I interested in SLI I would have gone for a more powerful PSU, but a single 1080 Ti is more than adequate.
Asus MAXIMUS IX HERO- a solid motherboard with heat spreaders for the vital components, two M.2 sockets, reinforced PCI-E slots, and a very powerful range of configuration options in EFI. Asus also provides frequent firmware updates.
i7-7700K- the best performance per dollar in gaming. A lot has been said about Intel vs. Ryzen recently, but I'll leave it at this: single threaded performance is more important for my uses, and Ryzen boards have somewhat flaky BIOS at this point in time, especially when it comes to RAM compatibility.
Corsair H100i v2- quiet, and mounts to my case's included 120mm fans for a simple push-pull setup. I paired this with 2 Corsair ML120s for improved fan noise and airflow, replacing the bundled fans.
Corsair Vengeance RGB DDR4-3000- in case you weren't seeing a trend, I'm a big fan of Corsair products in general. XMP profile works with no issues with my i7, and the RGB lighting is a nice touch (and easy to control).
Samsung 960 Pro- I opted for two of these instead of a single 1TB, to save a few bucks. Unbeatable performance. My boot is quite nearly instantaneous.
WD Blue 2TB 5400RPM- big, cheap and fast for a 5400RPM drive. It's also quiet. Games can be swapped from HDD to SSD in Steam in only a few minutes if load times matter.
EVGA GTX 1080 Ti FTW3- the best air cooled 1080 Ti solution, nearly inaudible under moderate load. I typically turn the fans up in Precision XOC to keep temps down, but it never gets over 70c anyway. Nothing needs to be said about the 1080 Ti chipset itself, but this is one of the best performing variants.
Dell S2417DG GSync 24" Monitor x 2- GSync is a game changer, and high refresh rates with high framerates transform the gaming experience. It's most noticeable in games like Doom with a lot of twitch movement- these monitors track perfectly. I got a second one for desktop use, which keeps the color consistent between the two screens. These were easy to set up and calibrate. They're also, in keeping with the case, very understated in style. If not for the GSync logos on the base, they could be office monitors, albeit very sexy slim-bezel ones.
Corsair K95 RGB Platinum- there's a lot of preference involved when it comes to mechanical gaming keyboards, especially when it comes to switches. I chose this model for its build quality and Cherry MX Brown switches, which provide a nice balance between tactile feel and noise. There are quieter keyboards, but I actually like some click. Corsair CUE software is powerful, but has a learning curve. This is an open design meaning there are less places for dust and dirt to get trapped, and the key caps are easily replaceable.
Logitech G903- the successor to the G900 Chaos Spectrum. Unless you're planning on getting a PowerPlay mat when they come out, you can still find a G900 and save around $40 (the mice are identical aside from support for wireless charging). The mouse itself is the best wireless mouse I've ever used by far, and has some of my favorite button switches, with just enough feedback. It's suitable for multiple grip types and is ambidextrous (or you can add thumb buttons on both sides). I do sometimes miss the rubberized coating on my G502, but it's sitting in a drawer in case I ever decide to switch back to wired.
Corsair MM300 Extended- it's a giant piece of cloth with a rubber bottom and anti-fray edges. Not much to it, but it's very well made. Runs the entire length of my desk, so it also serves to anchor my keyboard. The pattern will likely hide stains and dirt pretty well (not that I ever eat at my computer!).
Logitech G933- wireless, comfortable for long gaming sessions, great sound (both on headphones and outbound from mic), good battery life with the LEDs turned off. Works wired/wirelessly. These also work with my PS4 with the included dongle, as an added bonus.
Oculus Rift- you're gonna build a computer this nice, you want VR. The other option is Vive, which costs twice as much and is less comfortable to wear. I also prefer the Touch controllers to Vive's solution. Vive has the edge when it comes to room-scale tracking, but the recent updates to the Oculus platform have narrowed this gap quite a lot, and most of the games I play can be played seated anyway.
A few notes:
This is for a complete 'battlestation', and as such most of the peripherals are completely subjective. I do strongly recommend a GSync monitor of some kind, but everything else is personal preference.
Part of the reason I use so many Corsair products is the ease of getting replacement parts. A side panel for my case, for instance, or a full set of keycap replacements both run $30. A replacement air filter is $4. I like that virtually everything on my build is fully modular.
If I were going to trim the cost of this I would have gone for a smaller single SSD (but still a 960 Pro), dropped half the RAM and perhaps gone with a i5-7600K. The fan replacements on the radiator were also not strictly necessary, but I feel they were worthwhile.
Dell makes a 27" monitor of the same design as the ones I chose, and you can find them for not too much more, but the dual 24" was perfect for my desk and the size difference isn't too noticeable to me.
Cable management was the single most time consuming part of my build; due to the exposed rear I wanted to make sure everything was completely tidy. The case design, fortunately, makes it easy. There is a newer revision that allows you to run cables through the PSU shroud, which would have been nice for the GPU cables, but it isn't a necessity. I suspect Corsair may make this available as a separate part later on.
The GPU is HUGE, and a smaller case wouldn't have left room for a push-pull fan setup on the radiator. I did try it on top, and having it on the intake definitely helped my CPU temperatures without making much difference in my case's ambient temperatures. Putting it on top as an exhaust didn't leave room for two sets of fans, and it still was uncomfortably close to my RAM.
The SpaceNavigator is for use in games like Star Citizen which features 6 degrees of freedom. It requires some driver tinkering and I haven't set it up yet, but we'll get there.