My old rig was really showing it's age so I wanted a new work horse. I also have a Surface Pro 3 which I love, but I'm a web designer and illustrator so I wanted some power for Photoshop, and I wanted to crank the settings on whatever game I want to high (is that so wrong?). This site was INVALUABLE in deciding what to get, and you guys are super nice. I set a budget of $1500, and between rebates and promotions I JUST made it, even grabbed a monitor on a flash sale for $80. I'm going to try to install Yosemite on the Seagate and dual boot, if I have the patience to deal with it. I wanted something I can hackintosh if I want, and that I won't have to upgrade for a long time.
Matching colors and whatever between parts wasn't a priority, but I actually ended up with a pretty classy looking black and gold theme between the MoBo, cooler, and RAM. Kind of wish I got an LED or two in there now. But, I really only cared what the machine looks like on the outside rather than inside (it's just hanging out under my desk anyway). Lucky for me, the day I got my case in the mail, PCPartPicker put out a video with my case, cooler, and almost exactly my MoBo, which was pretty invaluable. Whole thing took my about 3 or 4 hours with cable management and all. Amazingly, it turned on on my first try.
Thus Beyoncé, as her name sake implies, never backs down from a challenge and is a fierce performer. Flawless.
Processor: This chip is all over this site, and for good reason, it's excellent. I was SURE I would mess up the install, but it went smoothly. Fear not fellow first timers. Stays nice and cool from the Corsair. Haven't overclocked it yet but it's so fast I don't have any reason to right now.
MoBo: I have an Asus motherboard in my old machine and it seemed to do fine, so brand loyalty I guess. BIOS is plenty luxurious. Apparently you can start it remotely if it's connected to the internet, but the program required has terrible UI and no documentation so I have no idea how to make it work. The install was tricky, I think I was being overly gentle but it took a couple tries and removing the case fan to get it in the right spot (it'll pop in once you get the middle of the board over the little sticky-upy-part. I know, very technical).
GPU: Evidently this series of cards actually only has 3.5gbs of VRAM rather than the promised 4gb. You'd never know it though, this card is a monster. Tomb Raider at max is buttery smooth, Civ looks great, and Star Citizen Arena Commander is also flawless. I've used it for Torchlight II mostly so far which, of course, looks great. Can't wait to render some stuff in AfterEffects. Came with an extremely stupid poster. I got the Witcher III with it but I wish I held out so I could get that AND Arkham Knight. Oh well.
Case: Fan technology has apparently advanced pretty drastically since my last case, because this thing is shockingly quiet. It looks great too, nice minimal design, won't look ridiculous in a couple years. Cable management is great, though I will say I'm disappointed there's no good handle or place to really pick it up. The feet look like they create enough space to fit your hands under the case and lift it but the plastic bits under there aren't really load bearing, same with the plastic frame on the front, and it's easy to pop the fan cover off inadvertently. The side panels are wonky too, it usually takes me a couple tries to line it up correctly, which is annoying, but not a big deal if you're not opening it up often. Still, she's a beaut. Removable dust filters are awesome, and it fits neatly in my Ikea desk.
CPU Cooler: Liquid cooling always freaked me out, but when I learned about the closed loop systems I thought I'd give it a shot. Honestly I mainly think it looks rad, it's probably overkill, but I heard the 4970k runs hot and this could help me OC later on. Install was a breeze, preinstalled thermal compound was pretty convenient; one less thing to do. It's incredibly quiet too, inaudible over my case fans. I actually thought it wasn't plugged in right until I put my ear to the top of the case.
RAM: It's RAM! Almost pushed it to 32 but I realized that really wasn't necessary and I can easily add more later.
SSD: Extremely fast, and pleasantly roomy. This was the last part to show up and I got antsy and installed my OS on one of my HDDs, which ended up being kind of a pain having to re-format em a bunch of times. Also it doesn't come with a spacer like the Crucial SSDs, so it's got some wiggle room in my case, which is lame.
PSU: I'm a little nervous this won't be enough juice, but I'm hoping that will only ever be an issue if I do SLI. The cords it came with are a nice matte black, and modular was very very handy for cable management. Mobo 16 pin connecter is oddly stiff and a little hard to wrangle. Some of the cables are doubled up for SLI, which ends up being more cable to deal with, but what are ya gonna do.
I actually got an ASUS external disc drive so I could use it on my Surface if I ever needed to (and it keeps my case looking all flush and pretty on the front), and it works great. I also have an old-ish Samsung monitor and a new AOC, and an old MS keyboard and Dynex mouse (nothin' fancy). I'd be on Windows 8 but I had an old copy of 7 so I used that, no complaints. Being in a 1 bedroom studio, I get to hook my machine up to my HDTV since they're pretty close, which has been super nice for watching movies and doing Steam Big Picture.
Next step: Hacktintoshin' it.