My virgin build, after being away from PC gaming for many years. The goal: a small mid-level PC that could handle most gaming plus photo editing. Very happy with how it turned out. Tried to stay under $1K, and hey, I succeeded if you don't count the monitor...
Putting it together as a first-timer was surprisingly easy (as easy as it gets while reading four manuals at the same time, anyway). A few things helped: no HDD to worry about; a modular PSU kept cable management clean; the motherboard already came with the I/O shield attached; and being able to remove three sides of the case at once gave me room to reach everything. One main hiccup during build (not counting the classic first-timer mistake of connecting the monitor to the CPU instead of the GPU the first time): the bundled CPU fan has a small plastic hook on one side to hold wires. When you install the fan so that hook is next to the RAM slots, it extends out just far enough to block the first slot. So I needed to pull it off after it was already thermal-pasted to the CPU to reorient it.
As for performance, running new games on High rather than Ultra seems to be the sweet spot to get the best frame rate. (Though to be honest, I don't do much intense FPS gaming anyway, my tastes are more Divinity than Crysis.) 3DMark's TimeSpy score was 5997 (51st percentile). Heaven Benchmark on Extreme had a score of 1116 and an FPS of 44.3; on Basic it was 5964 and 236.8. Temperatures average low 70s C during gaming but have hit up to 78.
Great price and value for an i5 thanks to the lack of integrated graphics (so a separate GPU is required). The bundled fan has been sufficient for me so far. The fan has a plastic wire hook on one side which sticks out ever so slightly so make sure to orient it so it's not in the way of anything on small motherboards.
Quite happy overall. LED lights are nice. Two M.2 slots for lots of potential SSD space. The manual is surprisingly helpful. On mine, BIOS came with version 1404. Since it's a mini ITX, check CPU fan measurements to make sure it doesn't block RAM.
Easy install, no issues so far. RAM is RAM, it's all about finding the best price from a decent brand.
Great price for a 1TB SSD ($115). No complaints.
Easy install, dual fans, overall a good mid-to-high range gaming card. Haven't overclocked although that's an option.
Combines small form factor, good venting, and plenty of space. Removable sides made installation easy. (If you aren't installing HDDs remember to take those brackets out and it'll be even easier.) Front panel wiring can be quite tiny if you have big hands. Good built-in fan.
What's not to like, it's gold certified for good energy efficiency, and fully modular so I wasn't left with unnecessary wires cluttering up my case. Probably slightly overkill for my build, but I didn't want to skimp on the power supply.
For a $240 monitor, the IPS display is colorful and vivid. On my unit I've yet to see much backlight bleeding or any dead pixels. I wanted a step up from 1080p/60hz while also avoiding the crazy price points of decent 4ks, so this 1440p/75hz was a good value compromise.