Lil brother finally decided to get into the PC gaming scene but was scared of building one himself, so he enlisted my services. As this his first PC I went with a non-overclockable build. I'll give my logic on part selection below. At the very bottom I'll discuss any issues I had with the build
NOTE: All parts were bought using amazon as all of the parts were Amazon PRIME elligible (Free shipping). With me living in Alaska and my brother in New York, this ended up saving us $$$ as Alaska has no Tax and shipping would've cost a couple hundred from other retailers. Shipping the PC to him cost me roughly $65 but I payed for it and told him it was his Xmas gift :P
CPU: I've used both AMD and Intel but my personal preference for a gaming CPU is Intel. Wanted to get him at least a 3.0 GhZ quad core and with the 1150 chips being the new way forward I went with this one. His budget allowed it & it's been running great.
CPU Cooler: Ok I know what your thinking "Why the hell did put a closed loop cooler on a non-overclockable chip" and normally I'd say the same thing of anothers build. Logic behind it being that the stock heatsink is Meh & once he saw my older model H60 he wanted one. His budget allowed it so i said SURE.
MOBO: My preffered brands for mobos are Asus, Gigabyte, Biostar (for low budget builds), and Asrock. This board was one of the few 1150 ITX builds that had built in Wi-Fi and was available via Amazon Prime so it's what I went with. Has all the features I wanted at a reasonable price (for an ITX)
RAM: Went with these as they were on the Mobo qualified memory list to ensure hassle free compatibility and they were also Prime elligible. NOTE: The pic shown is an older model pic as the heatsink on the RAM is different.
Storage: Tried and true combo i've used for a few builds. Both were prime eligible and both products have always been reliable in past builds along with having good read/write speeds.
GPU: I've used both AMD and Nvidia cards before but Nvidia was going to be the winner here. With my lil bro new to PC gaming and us living very far apart (see NOTE) I can't walk him through the settings of every game he has. As such the Geforce experience with there convenient optimization of game settings made me choose NVIDIA. With that being said the GTX hit the sweet spot between price to performance. It comes close in benchmarks to my Gtx 670 and his card was also PRIME elligible. Went with the superclocked version as it has the company overclock to coax a little bit more performance than the stock ones.
CASE: MY brother wanted something small (hence the ITX build) but he fell in love with this green bitfenix prodigy. I originally recommend the fractal node 304 (built a friends PC using it) as the dimensions were smaller, but he absolutely insisted on this one and he wanted to have a cd drive (the node I recommended does not have a drive bay). Since it was his money that he was using, and the good reviews on the case, I said SURE.
Power Supply: Personal prefference on PSU brands is Antec and Corsair. This one had good juice & single 12v rail so I said sure. It's semi-modular and it made the build easier.
ODD: Lil Bro wanted a BD so I said SURE. Prime eligible & Asus branding :)
OS: Used both windows 7 (mine & most builds) & 8 (moms build) but my personal preference is still 7. Lil bro could not stand windows 8 after using the PC i built for my mom so he insisted on 7 so yea.
Ok so as far as the build goes it was relatively painless. Biggest concern was when I installed the H60. The hoses on the cpu block was pressing on the RAM in the first ram slot. Everything still works fine and the pressure isnt too great but I was scared I wasnt going to be able to get the RAM in the first slot (what with it being an ITX with only 2 slots, it wouldve been a big NO NO). The semi modular cable of the PSU helped immensely. Ironically enough I used all of the slots but routing them was a breeze and everything fit nicely. Biggest nag was the bitfenix side panel connectors. Installing them on the mobo was a pain as it made trying to tuck away a pain. Also while the window on the side panel is nice, the side panels with the mesh (at the time of writing this comes stock with the window panel and bitfenix sells the individual side panels with the mesh in most colors except green) are much better suited for cooling.
EDIT #1 - Picture 6 was before I tried to connect the side panel connectors. In the pics its Case->fan->Radiator but due to the location of the usb 3.0 header in on the mobo, the radiator made it impossible to plug in so I hade to rearrange the orientation to Case->Radiator->Fan. No way I could do a push/pull config with 2 fans given the location of the usb 3.0 connector on this Mobo.
Overall enjoyed the build and runs like a champ. Budget was $1200 but went slightly over around $1215. Dont have the exact $$$ Amount as my lil bro ordered the parts using his Amazon acct.