This is my first personal build. I have built several computers for friends and family members but this is the first build I have ever done for myself. I am pretty happy with the outcome, albeit that I will probably have to RMA the GTX 970 a few times to get one without coil whine (unfortunatley it seems to be a common problem with ALL GTX 970's, not just the Zotac one). I still have a little bit left to purchase, such as a hard drive (currently running 2 OLDDDDD seagate 160GB in RAID 0. I will probably pick up a 1TB WD blue ASAP), as well as a wireless card (currently running an old TP-Link 54Mbps pci wireless card).
*CPU- This seemed like the "go-to" CPU for high end builds. Wanted something more than an i5 because I do some video editing here and there as well as I do a lot of server hosting for games, etc. I just felt like I needed an i7 especially because I came from an i7 laptop, I felt like I would be downgrading if I got an i5, even if it was more powerful than the mobile i7.
*GPU- Simply put, it was the cheapest GTX 970 that was not a blower style. It was also very nice that it was small, as it looks really nice in my build IMO. Unfortunatley it suffers from a significant amount of coil whine, but it seems like this is not specific to the ZOTAC model. I will be RMA'ing this to Newegg in order to get a non-whiny card. Overall, I am pretty pleased with the performance of the 970, especially considering the power that it uses. I can max out every game at 100+ fps.
*Case- This is honestly the best case I have ever seen, especially considering the price. I have build computers with $200 cases, and computers with $30 cases, and dispite this case's $70 price tag, this is the best case I have built in at any price point. It is amazing aesthetically, and amazing to build in. The PSU shroud at the bottom is amazing. It makes the build looks so clean, and it hides the hard drives and extra length cables. This is an amazing case and I recommend it to anyone who wants a clean, sharp build. Only thing I would change is that it does not include HDD anti-vibration mounts and it is pretty clear this case is not designed with getting those decibles down, although it is not obnoxiously loud either. Reguarding cable management, this case is amazing. The case feels very roomy to build in, and has a lot of extra space for cables. The PSU shroud at the bottom allows for a lot of room to store extra cables. The black "bracket" type thing is a really good design and allows me to hide the 24 pin connector and the USB 3.0 header cable. I also found that the opening in the PSU shroud to allow for the PCI-E cables to pass through was a very nice inclusion and allows me to showoff the nice red/black sleeved silverstone cables.
*RAM- I really like Corsair products (except their PSUs), and this came in a bundle deal with my graphics card knocking off $20, so the extra $20 over a normal 8GB kit was neutralized. I also really love the looks of the RAM and it does overclock decently well (running mine at 2133MHz right now).
*Motherboard- It was one of the cheaper Z97 motherboards that was red. I have used a lot of AsRock Motherboards and they have all served me extreamly well, and this was one very agressively priced. It looks fantastic, as an added bonus. One thing I really appreciate about AsRock boards over MSI/ASUS/Gigabyte is that AsRock actually uses black PCB as apposed to a dark brown color that MSI/ASUS/Gigabyte uses.
*PSU- Spent a LONG time researching this one, and for the price it is pretty hard to get a better PSU. It lands on Tier 2A on the Tom's Hardware "PSU Tier" List, and got a 9/10 from JonnyGuru. I am a nut about getting quality power supplies, and if I had all the money in the world I would have gotten a Seasonic X Series, but I was on a budget and this EVGA fit the bill nicely.
*Case Fans- I only actually purchased a single extra case fan, the SilenX 120mm. It looks fantastic in my build, comes with anti-vibration mounts, and moves a lot of air for how quiet it is. It is also fairly cheap on newegg, at only $10.99. I moved the included case fans that came with the S340 to the front to act as intakes, and the SilenX fan is acting as exhaust. This means that my case maintains an overall posotive air-pressure, meaning that air will exhaust out the little nooks and cranies in the case, preventing dust from getting in.
*Other stuff- I bought several Silverstone extension cables to make my build look nicer. I would have preferred to get a PSU with black cables so I didn't have to do this but I prioritized quality of the PSU over the color of the cables, and actually looking at the finished build the cables look a lot nicer than black cables would have looked. Cost me a bit extra but well worth it in my opinion.
Final Thoughts- This is my first personal build and I am very happy with the result, aside from the annoying coil whine. I will need to upgrade my hard drive and wireless situation ASAP because believe it or not, the hard drives are actually significantly bottlenecking my FPS in games, as my games freeze up a lot because they are basically stuck at 100% read/write all the time. Windows takes FOREVER to boot, and same with program launches. Honestly, I am suprised these drives even work!!
Please tell me what you think of the build in the comments, and tell me if I could improve on anything in the future!