Obligatory "my first build" statement...
I found that none of my parts came with detailed installation instructions. It was all thanks to you guys and girls who posted your great build pictures here at PCPartPicker that I could have a good idea as what goes where. YouTube was also very helpful. Once it got going, construction seemed pretty straightforward, though still challenging (but very enjoyable).
Case: Wanted something minimal and modest. This case is very easy to use, but I felt it wasnt very dynamic, so I decided to try some "case modding". As you can see, this was simply spray-painting the plastic drive-bays and aluminum front dust-covers. This accomplished little but it was a fun learning experience. Love the glossy look. Reminds me of the Citadel from Half Life 2.
RAM: Originally wanted DDR3-2133 but, but the affordable sticks I found wer mostly CAS 11, and I figured that DDR3-1866, CAS 8, would be about as good, and much cheaper. Later added another 8GB for more photo and video performance.
MoBo: Z97 came highly reccommended by many on here. Love the idea of being able to over or under-clock effectively when needed.
GPU: Originally wanted a R9-280 3 GB, but the price for the 290x seemed a better deal at the time.
Noise: The case fans are the loudest part, but the PC is slightly louder than my laptop, but much more pleasant sounding and almost soothing I might add. Havn't heard a peep from the GPU yet during gaming.
I managed to retrofit an old 80mm Raidmax fan to the front with some cable ties around where the old drive bay would be.