This is my first build. Mid-range gaming, yada yada... Anyway, big shout out to the help and knowledge across pcpartpicker, tom's hardware, anand, reddit, etc. etc... The learning process was just as much fun as the building! Spent about 2-3 months researching everything (hopefully that reflects in the part selection XD).
Total build time was probably 5 hours. Greyjoy because it's grey and they're probably the coolest house in ASOIAF.
CPU - Was between this and 3570k. Ivy is "tried and true" and Haswell has it's "heat" issues but I decided to go with newer since prices were nearly identical.
CPU cooler - I said mid-range. So I didn't want the typical EVO 212 for ~$30 but didn't want to shell out for the H100i either. Looked up some reviews on this one. What sold me was the color options; I was trying to be conscious of a blue color scheme. Really liked what I saw for noise levels and cooling ability in benchmarks too.
MOBO: The other brands went away from the blue scheme for whatever reason (on z87s) so I chose gigabyte.
RAM: Blue. Picked it up when I saw an agreeable deal. Tangent: what gets me is when people ask "is this a good deal?" I don't know, are you willing to spend the money?? If you're not then it isn't...
Storage: Pretty vanilla, 120gb SSD & 1TB HDD.
Video Card: I missed the damn sale on that 1ghz 7970 for $240. When this one came up for $260 I pulled the trigger quick. Was initially looking at a GTX 760 but then I discovered the 7970/280x with 3GB VRAM for $300? I'm all about $/performance and these recent deals on the 7970s made it that much easier.
Case: I wanted a window that wasn't the entire side panel. Something discrete, enough for a peep show ;)
PSU: First item I bought, pulled the trigger on a 620w early on. Ended up returning it, the extra room is for crossfiring later on.
Opt. Drive: "past-proof" as I saw someone saw on here once XD