First time builder. The goal was to build a MicroATX system that could initially be used as a home virtualization lab and later be repurposed with a few additions and part changes as a light gaming, photo/video editing and general purpose PC/file server/media server. The home virtualization lab (one Windows 2008 R2 64-bit server, one or two Oracle Linux running Oracle DB and WebLogic Server running multiple JVMs) will host a demo ERP implementation of JD Edwards (I'm an old-school JDE CNC).
Will probably move current DLNA server (movies only, no transcoding) from small ReadyNas Duo to new system (maybe add transcoding) as well. Low noise and low power consumption were primary requirements, as well as the critically important high WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor :)
Reasons for parts:
CPU - Lowest priced Haswell with VT-x/VT-d support and enough speed to eventually run a few non-demanding games and light video/photo editing. No plans for overclocking. Should be fast enough to run DLNA server with transcoding. Also wanted Intel HD Graphics 4600 support for virtualization lab (will replace later with dedicated GPU).
MOBO - Needed something stable with PCI support so I could use a couple of spare NICs to segregate traffic of VMs. No plans for overclocking or running multiple GPUs. Also needed support for multiple drives so system can later be used for redundant backups of laptops, NAS, tablets, phones and cloud data.
GPU - No GPU for virtualization lab (trying to keep low power consumption). Thinking about adding an HD7770 later.
PSU - Wanted something modular to help with cable management. May need to upgrade later depending on GPU choice.
Memory - Needed at least 16 GB, may upgrade to 32 GB to handle more VMs.
Storage - Wanted SSD for host OS, but VMs and data can run on repurposed standard HD. Will probably add a lot more drives later to handle multiple backups.
Case - Initial choice was Fractal Design Define Mini, but ended up going with the cheaper Nanoxia. Nice features, very quiet, plenty of room to grow.
Had a great time researching and building the system. Minor trouble with the front panel HD audio connector not reaching the socket, a bit disappointed I had to use the AAC instead. Couldn't find an extender cable, decided not to route behind the motherboard. Pretty sure the system will handle the virtualization lab and survive as a decent general purpose PC later.