Bought and built around the 2014 holiday shopping season, my goal was to crate a solid multipurpose machine under $850. When I had started to compile the build in the early summer, the total was looking closer to $980 and the R9 285 hadn't even been released yet. I'm glad that I was patient and sought out components one at a time as they came on sale.
I was looking to max out older FPS/RTS games and play newer AAA titles High/Medium on a 900p monitor. I'll also be using the rig for basic AV capture & editing as well as light 3d modeling and rendering. I will probably upgrade GPU and/or Crossfire it in the future. I was stuck gaming on a slowly dying Gigabyte p2532n laptop, but now I can actually run my games fast enough to use vsync and antialiasing. So far the system has performed admirably and is a massive leap from my old desktop: a 3.4ghz Pentium D, 2.75gb ddr2, 1gb 8400gs. Those were dark days indeed.
Processor: Speedy threaded performance. Does everything I ask it to.
CPU Cooler: Works well. I might get some hate for the orientation I chose, but cools well regardless. I know I will have to remove to add more ram in future.
Motherboard: Revision 4 board. No noise from onboard audio. More usb ports than I can fill. Firewire is a nice addition for use with my old external drive.
RAM: It works and has low profile heatsinks.
Storage: Not the newest, fastest, or largest SSD but boot times are incredible compared to what i'm used to. So far had no problems with the mechanical drives.
Video Card: Aggressively lowers clocks when warm, manually setting fan speed to 45% stabilizes framerates. The small fans are loud at high rpm, but I can't hear the card with head phones on.
Case: Antec GX700 is not the quietest case, the steel is very thin and all of the noise is directed up through the grill on the top. Annoying punch-out expansion slot covers, and not a lot of space behind the motherboard. Short front audio cable, couldn't rout behind motherboard. Fan controller only has high/low/off, but included 140mm fans are nice and quiet.
Power Supply: Gold rated. Crossfire ready. Quiet. Cables are very stiff and hard to rout.
Optical Drive: Basically got it for free after a combo deal and discount. Obnoxiously loud, but I rarely use disks anymore.
Wireless Network Adapter: Strong signal +30' feet through walls. No connection issues. I can actually see my neighbors wifi now :p
All prices reflect the final totals paid including shipping/taxes/discounts/promos. I already had a copy of Win 8.1 Pro from when I was lucky enough to have access to Dreamspark through school. I also repurposed an old 250GB drive, mouse, trackball, 19" 900p monitor, and Altec Lansing stereo.
EDIT: It's been a couple years, and my rig has gone through a couple changes, but is still going strong. Parts list now reflects current setup.