So, this is my first build and it DIDN'T spontaneously combust! Yay! There should be a Steam achievement for that.
I like gaming and after playing on pretty much every console since the PS1, I decided that it was time to branch out and spend my hard earned cash on something that wasn't connected to a TV.
PCPartPicker has been a big help and I've got to admit that inspiration has been taken from other builds, so, thanks guys! You're awesome :-)
Case: It took me a while to decide on parts but I knew from the start I wanted to use the Corsair 250D. It's a sexy little case and, with my current job, I move around a lot, and a small case (alright it's not the smallest) is handy. I was slightly annoyed to find that the motherboard has a slight bit of bend to it when the GPU is fitted. I contacted Corsair and now the problem is fixed!
CPU: I also knew that, as it was for gaming, I should go for an i5 as it was most cost effective. In an attempt to save money, I thought I would go with a locked CPU and a H97 motherboard. I wanted to keep it air cooled and try to keep the system as quiet as possible, which from reviews, didn't seem too possible with an AIO cooler and this case.
Cooler: With the space limitations (and a few inspirational builds on here) I found the Thermalright AXP-100 Muscle. It looks nicer than the standard AXP-100 as it has a white fan. It's a pretty sturdy little unit for less than £30 and has impressed me so far. The temps I have posted are from 'CPUID HWMonitor' and were after playing Tomb Raider and Metro 2033 for an hour or so.
RAM: I chose the Kingston RAM because it's white and it matches the CPU fan. Always a bonus! Plus, Kingston are pretty good at what they do.
SSD: Sticking with Kingston, I decided that for just shy of £50 and 'gaming' orientated (I know it probably doesn't mean much) the 120GB Fury would do just fine. If I had waited a little bit longer, I could have got a 250GB drive for not far off what I paid for this 120GB drive. For a boot drive though, this is fiiiiiiine.
HDD: The Barracuda seemed to have a pretty good reputation on here so I went with it. How different can 1TB drives be :-P
MOBO: Choosing a motherboard was a little difficult as, brand-wise, I didn't have experience with any of them. Looking at reviews, it seemed as if ASUS had the best BIOS so I decided to go with that. The only thing I feel could be better is the inclusion of Wi-Fi. It's not a problem at the moment because I'm less than 5m from my router but you never know! I also liked the subtle gold accents on the chipset heatsink. The past ASUS motherboards went a little over the top with the gold colouring but this gets it just right.
PSU: When I decided to build this, rumours were already floating of the Maxwell GPUs and the 750ti was a really promising card. With it being a small build and, ideally very power efficient, I decided that a 550W would do. I also read that the RM series were worth the extra cash for the 'Zero RPM' mode they have. The cables were very stiff and I did struggle with the cable management but, for a first time build, I didn't think I did too badly.
GPU: I wanted something which would last for a few years but run quiet and cool. I didn't buy at launch (so I was without a dedicated GPU for a month or so) because I wanted to see what revised cards would be available. Boy, am I glad I did. GALAX are a combination of Galaxy and KFA. It's quieter than my AF120s and didn't break 54 degrees C when I was playing Tomb Raider. I set Tomb Raider to Ultimate EVERYTHING and set off. No stutter. No noticeable coil whine. Very nice temps for an ITX case. In the in-game benchmark, the min FPS was 58 and max 62, average of 60. Absolutely no problems there.
Everything Else: The monitor had good reviews and has an IPS panel. The stand is really sturdy and the price didn't break the bank. I also didn't want to break the bank on a keyboard and mouse. Not seeing mechanical as a cost effective option, I went for the Apex RAW. It's quite loud but it's got decent feedback for a membrane keyboard. The mouse is also good enough. I can change the DPI on the fly and it glides quite nicely across the cheapo mouse mat. I stuck all the fans as intakes, incase anyone was wondering. I may have a play around with them but I am quite happy with the temps. Windows 8.1 because it was a cheap license on eBay. All legit!
If you made it this far, thanks for reading and I hope the pictures are OK. They were taken on a HTC One M7 so not the greatest.