I found myself without a computer and was seriously debating a purchase through Digital Storm or Falcon Northwest when I started pricing out their various builds versus doing them myself. I was really quite surprised at how substantial the markups were -- and also how they'd all sneak one or two lousy components in a build. Anyway, I had built a few boxes in the dark ages so I figure I'd go at it again. I knew I wasn't going to overclock and wanted a "build it and let it lie" setup.
I ended up ordering way too many odds and ends that will all get sent back, but the list on the left is where I ended up. The biggest last minute decision was to go with the Scythe Kotetsu instead of the Noctua NH-D14 that was recommended. Honestly, I was just intimidated by how big and unwieldy the Noctua seemed, so it went back in the box. We'll see if this was a decent decision or not someday.
So relative to my 15+ year old memory, the parts that sucked included:
1) heatsink installation -- the bottom mount felt squirrley over the backplate on the CPU, but I guess that's how it works, I got it locked down well, but it felt more like a clamp over something rather than parts that were engineered to go together
2) any fan/cable plugins near the heatsink were a serious challenge, my big fat fingers really struggled to get these things plugged in
3) some of the power cable plugins felt shakey (notably the larger power plug into the mobo doesn't seem to lock in)
4) I probably put too much grease on the CPU but I looked carefully post-install of the cooler and couldn't see any dripping out; also everything seems to be working fine -- so maybe I'm just paranoid
What was easy:
1) cable management was awesome without the stupid "ribbon" style cables I used to use
2) installing Windows from a USB with a single SSD feels like cheating
3) memory and graphics card installs were easy
4) I was really happy that my HDMI graphics card out pumped out audio without too much work
The box is really quiet -- a nice white noise is audible in a dead silent room but any sound will drown it out. I think I'll run some stress tests and post up results so you guys can tell me how it looks like things are performing, but I played some full screen high rez minecraft and my fps was nice.
Any critique or suggestions would be appreciated. Mostly, I'm curious if I had bought a $150 mobo and a $100 PSU if I would've had tighter fits on the cables etc... I'm also curious if I would've had an easier experience locking down the cooler / etc if I had gone with the bigger boy (Noctua).