This was my first ever self-build and I really enjoyed the entire process of researching every aspect of this PC. You'll notice I also customized some parts by painting them red to help accent the build....that process was also fun and educational! That being said, I definitely took my lumps as a newbie PC builder, but I learned a ton of good info and I'm excited to plan and build another PC in the future. I'll write a little about the components I purchased, why I purchased them and any issues I found with each one (if any). Oh....it's called the Red Headed Stepchild for two reasons; the first being that I used the ideas of a few other Red/Black builds I had seen on this site and thus it's kind of the stepson of those other builds. The other reason is that before my hair started falling out I was a red head so I thought that was fitting name :)
Processor: So as a newbie at this whole process I wanted a newer processor with some capabilities that might be above and beyond what I need right now so that is I decide to expand my build in the future (another GPU) I wouldn't be held back by anything. This CPU is probably overkill for what I need right now but it gives me a little bit of future proofing, something I had in mind throughout the purchasing process. As it stands, this thing has been all I've wanted and more. Sitting at a stable overclock of 4.3GHz with pretty good temps (sits in the 40's under load during gaming (Fallout 4 on Ultra settings).
GPUs: All the research I conducted pointed to the 980ti being at the top of the GPU food chain right now. Again, with future proofing in mind these cards were kind of no-brainer. The added fan-cooling on the card is really helpful as I have these overclocked +150mhz core clock and 400mhz memory clock and they keep them nice and cool. I was having some issues with temps when they were sandwiched on top of each other in my case so I moved one card down to the next PCIe slot and that helped quite a bit. These things crush anything I've thrown at them so far. Playing all games on Ultra settings with zero issues and they have hit 99% and 97% on Firestrike Extreme and Ultra respectively. Only thing I'd say about these cards is the stock fan profiles are kind of garbage so I highly suggest going in and creating some custom ones using MSI Afterburner, especially if you are overclocking.
RAM: So this is where I decided to save little money. I initially wanted to go with 64 GBs of DDR4 but decided I could save little here and went with 16GB at 2133mhz instead. I plan on upgrading the RAM in the future but so far it hasn't held the build back at all. For added aesthetics I custom painted the Corsair light bars and I think they turned out really well!
Case: This case has some great pluses and some definite minuses. First, I think the case looks great to the eye. It's very clean looking and really liked the PSU shroud and lighted logo in the front. The inside of the case also has pretty decent cable management features and I like how all of the HDD bays were removable and that you could place the SSDs on top of the PSU shroud. The stock fans were meh so I replaced them with the Corsair SP120s which are good but since finishing my build and doing some more research I might have gone in a different direction if I were to do this build again. The big minus on this case is the cooling....it's pretty bad. NZXT chose to go for aesthetics over function in this regard and it shows. If you are going to overclock a lot and are thinking about this case you'll need to watercool for sure. Which brings me to my next minus. Setting up a custom water loop in this case would be tough....not impossible, but definitely a challenge. I have thought about trying a custom loop in this build down the road but I will have to do some serious planning before that happens, and I may even have to permanently remove some hardware from the case as well.
One other minus I noticed was the foam on the back panel of the case. I assume this was done for sound dampening reasons but it really hampers your cable management and made getting the panel closed a bit of a hassle.
Motherboard: Had the color scheme I was looking for and the socket I needed for my CPU. Also saw some reviews that it had a pretty simple OCing interface which was a plus for me being new to the custom PC wold. Has plenty of headers for USBs and such. Also has a USB 3.1 header (future proofing again).
Lighting (HUE+): I went with the HUE+ LED lighting system from NZXT. Really great product and I think the lighting really adds to the build. I added a lot of pics with the "Spectrum Wave" effect on b/c it cycles through a bunch of colors and I wanted to capture what the entire effect looks like. The other solid color effects were red and a plain white setting. Only drawback to this system is that I had to reinstall as HDD bay so I could mount the HUE+ control box.
Overall I think this is a pretty decent first build. It was fun to research and put together and I learned a lot during the process. I will definitely build another PC after this one and apply the lessons learned from this build to hopefully make the next one even better! If anyone has questions please feel free to ask....constructive criticism is very welcome! Thanks.