To start, while $1,127 is technically what I paid for all the parts for this build, i actually only put out a little over $600 of my own money.
This began with me wanting to build a new computer, but not really having the money to build the computer that I really wanted. A friend told me about Bing Rewards and how he was able to buy a few upgrades for his computer by getting $5 gift cards just for searching through Bing Rewards. I checked it out and realized by having numerous accounts you could rack up $5 gift cards pretty quickly, so I ended up making numerous accounts on my home computer and also at work. I then set up a bot that ran on both computers everyday so Id get the max points you could get on every account without even having to do it.
Shortly after starting Bing Rewards I found out about a site called Swagbucks and made an account for that as well. One of the rewards on Bing was 500 Swagbucks so I started getting Swagbucks every time I had enough Bing credits on an account. I also downloaded the Swagbucks apps and would let it run on my phone overnight when I was sleeping.
With this setup, I was (and still am) earning around $100-115 a month for doing essentially nothing, and that's when I decided I was going to use all those gift cards to build a new computer. I originally considered building the whole thing without using any of my own money, but I decided I didn't want to wait almost a year to collect enough gift cards to pay for the whole thing so I ended up supplementing the build with my own money as well.
In the end, it ended up taking a little over 4 months to complete the build and some components I paid for and others were paid for completely with free gift cards. For only putting out a little over $600 myself, I'm damn happy with the build and I think it came out really well, especially for my first build.
To be clear, I am in no way trying to advertise for or promote BingRewards or Swagbucks in any way. I'm just explaining how I was able to complete this build on a budget of only $600. While I do think using BingRewards and Swagbucks is a super easy way to increase anyone's budget for a build, I am by no means suggesting that others necessarily do the same.
CPU - I went with the i5-4590 because I got a really cheap deal on it. While I know it cant be overclocked, for my first build I'm fine with that, and I can always replace it with an unlocked CPU down the line. The i5-4590 is still a very good CPU and handles everything I throw at it very well. I paid $60 of my own money and used a $100 gift card that I got for Christmas to buy the CPU.
Motherboard - I went with the H97m Pro4 since the CPU is not unlocked and again, I can get a Z-series Mobo down the line if decide to start overclocking. For being pretty cheap, I'm extremely happy with the AsRock board. Its got quite a few features that are seen on higher end boards and it fits my needs perfectly. The motherboard was paid for with $30 of my own money and the rest with gift cards.
Case - After quite a bit of debating, I ended up going with the Corsair Air 240 Case and I'm really glad I did. I wanted a case that was small enough that it could fit next to my 7.1 surround sound receiver/sub-woofer, but also underneath my 55" TV that doubles as my monitor. The Air240 is a very well thought out case. Even being my first build, the separate sections make cable management a breeze and I was able to achieve a super clean looking build without running into any major issues. Everything fit perfectly with careful planning and the case gives excellent airflow. The Air240 can fit most of the higher end GPUs and I even have room to SLI another down the line if I decide I want to. he i5 4590 idles in the low 20s C and even under full load rarely hits 50 C which is pretty damn awesome. The case I paid for half myself and half with gift cards.
Cooling - I decided to go with the Corsair H100i because the Air240 isn't wide enough for a lot of the popular air coolers. I couldn't be happier with the H100i. Not only does the H100i look like it was designed for the Air240, but there is a huge difference in temps compared to the stock CPU cooler. Adding on 4 Corsair SP120 fans in a push-pull configuration allows the CPU to idle around an icy 21-25 C. The H100i was paid for completely with gift cards.
Memory - Went with the Corsair Vengeance Pro because I got them for a good price. Went with 2 x 4gb sticks for now and will likely add another two 4gb sticks at some point later. I paid for about half the ram myself and the rest with gift cards.
PSU - For the PSU I went with the Corsair CX 600m. Definitely not the best PSU in the world, but it has no problems handling this build and with a $20 mail in rebate I ended up getting it for only $48 shipped. For the price I couldn't pass it up, and it hasn't given me any issues. (No GPU coil wine, power issues, etc) The PSU was paid for entirely with gift cards.
Storage - For storage I went with a Samsung 840 EVO 120gb SSD for the OS, and a 2tb Seagate for everything else. Both are working great and the Samsung SSD makes the system very quick. My computer boots up in about 7 seconds and does a full re-boot in about 10 seconds. Both hard drives I paid for myself.
Video Card - The GPU was the last component that I bought. For quite some time I debated on getting a GTX 960 right away or waiting awhile, saving up gift cards, and splurging on a GTX 970, which is a lot more future-proof than a GTX960. I ended up waiting, saving up $180 worth of gift cards and paying only $150 of my own money for an EVGA GTX 970 SSC+. All I can say is I'm really glad that I waited. The EVGA GTX 970 destroys anything I throw at it, without even breaking a sweat. Even with the H100i, the EVGA GTX970 fits into the Air240 without a problem.
Custom - As far as other stuff, I bought blue sleeved extension cables for the 24-pin ATX, the 8-pin EPS, and the 8-pin/6-pin PCI-E's. The blue cabling was relatively inexpensive and they really add to the color scheme and look of the build. I also added Remote-controlled Multi-color LED strips for the case lighting and I'm happy with how they came out. The picture that shows the front of the case with the front cover off and a cable that is electrical taped is the receiver for the remote. I placed it so it doesn't hit the front cover and I hid the receiver eye behind the mesh grill and dust filter so I can just point the remote at the front of the case to dim or change the lighting. I originally was going to get a NZXT sleeved LED cable kit, but decided that I would have gotten sick of it being the same color all the time. So instead I bought an LED light strip and rewired it to be powered off the PSU instead of a wall outlet. The lighting came out really well and I like that I can change it to pretty much any color I want with a click of a button. The lighting and blue cable extensions I paid for myself.
All in all, I'm super happy with how the build turned out. Any comments or suggestions are definitely appreciated!