This build embodies months of dreaming on the part of a 16-year-old HS junior who hasn't played an XBox game in a very long time. For whatever reason, console gaming lost its appeal for me and I found it much more bearable to sit down and play Minecraft for hours than to play two rounds of TDM on Black Ops 2. So before I begin my reasoning for the parts list below, I will say that I use this machine for mostly gaming, but also do some video editing and hope to do some animation as well, so that should give you some pretext for my choices. With that said, let's begin!
CPU: I thought long and hard about which CPU to put into this machine for many reason. I could have easily went with an Intel i5 3570k/4670k for the same price as the 8350, but I decided I'd rather have 8 *physical cores to delegate to different tasks. It should be noted as well that for whatever reason, I have a soft spot for AMD. I like that I am able to say that I have an 8-core CPU running at 4.7 Ghz which cost $180 instead of an exorbitantly priced Intel 8-core. Sure each core may be weaker, but when it does what I need it to do, I can't complain. My current clock for this thing is 4.7 Ghz at 1.35 volts! That's under-volting ladies and gents. Dare I say I got a good chip! This means that when my cooling situation improves, I should be able to get to 5 with no problem. One thing to note is that this CPU does throttle at around 60 degrees C. When running OCCT tests, it would dip from 4.7 to 3.5, so keep that in mind. However, if you are overclocking your components, I doubt you need me to tell you about proper cooling :).
CPU Cooler: This paragraph should be a lot shorter. Originally, I wanted an H100i. The day after Christmas, I checked the stock of my local Microcenter and saw that there were 2 units in stock. Two hours later they were sold out, but had 8 of the H80i in stock, and after some internet research, I discovered that most users only experienced a 2 degree difference between the two units. This thing was fairly easy to install and keeps my CPU nice and cool. I will be replacing the stock fans (which are fine by the way) with a set of SP120 HP edition fans. They output the same performance, but are about 8 db, quieter. It is easy to forget that decibels are based on a logarithmic scale, so an 8 db difference is almost 10x quieter. When installing the unit (or any closed loop cooler), I suggest installing the water block first. The instructions say not to do this, but I found that after installing the rad and fans first, the rigidity of the tubing made keeping the water block MUCH more difficult to keep in place while screwing down the mounting hardware. Because of this, I am almost certain that the distribution of thermal paste over the CPU could have been much better, but as long as my temperatures are cool, I won't be attempting a second install. lol
Motherboard: Ok, so maybe this will be a short paragraph. Choosing a motherboard wasn't all that difficult. My only criteria were that it have an 8+2 or better power stage design as I would be overclocking. Not too many 970 chipset boards had this feature, so 990fx was my best bet. Many users of this board have experienced problems with CPU throttling at perfectly normal temperatures. This was due to the the terrible quality of the VRMs which would overheat and subsequently throttle your CPU to keep temperatures lower. Let me say EXPLICITLY THAT THIS WAS AN ISSUE ON THE REV 3.0 VERSION OF THIS BOARD. Anyone looking to purchase this board should buy the Rev 4.0, as the VRMs were replaced along with some added heatsinks and some other implementations that correct this throttling issue. Anyone looking to overclock should also note this. Disable all limitations in the bios. I had APM mode and was wondering why my CPU was throttling at 45 degrees. Turned it off and the issue stopped. If you experience any throttling, don't panic, just make sure that all the limitations are off.
Memory: 8 Gb of 1600 mhz ram. Not much else to say. Grab what's on sale if you're building. These matched the color of my GFX card, so that was a bonus.
Storage: Really the only recommended choice besides a Barracuda. Again, whichever is cheaper, however the WD has better claims of reliability than the Barracuda.
Video Card: MSI knows what they are doing, and for $200 dollars, there is quite literally no other option. The GTX 660 performs worse, and the 760 is 50+ dollars more expensive. This card plays everything on Very High if not Ultra. It also helps that my monitor is 1600 x 900, so I gain about 15 fps vs 1080p, but only sacrifice about 8 ppi when it comes to pixel density vs 1080p. People forget that the sharpness of an image is not dependent solely upon the resolution of the monitor, but also the size. 1080p on 21" is sharper that the same resolution on 24" The reason I chose this over the R9 270X was because they essentially are the same exact card, but the 270 has a lower base clock (big whoop!). After overclocking, the cards are identical. I saved $20 dollars on an extra six pin.
Case: Nothing negative can be said about this case. Mine resembles are large black edifice, ergo the name of this machine (Monolithe Noir). Simply put, it's gorgeous. Its simplicity makes it much more desirable (in my eyes) then some of the more "tricked out" cases you see on the market. It isn't the best case for airflow, hence the need for more case fans, but it's quiet. As one reviewer put, its hard to tell if it's on or off. Buy it.
PSU: This power supply gives me all the power I need and is semi-modular, so I can get some colored sleeved cables and finish color coordinating. It's also on sale a lot, so buy it.
Keyboard: This was the most affordable blue-switch keyboard that had LED backlighting. Its built like a tank and feels great to type with.
Mouse: This is a really solid choice for a gaming mouse for only $40 dollars. It really comes alive when you download the software and can set custom profiles for the controls.
All in all, I couldn't be any happier with this build. What's even better is that I built it on Christmas morning in about 1.5 hours. My build came out awesome and I hope anybody who buys these parts has the same outcome! Happy Building!