The core of this build (everything but the video card) is two years old now but it's still an amazing system for me. This build replaced an AMD Athlon X4 955 BE system that lasted me for nearly five years, so I think this one will last longer.
I decided to downsize my rig this time from a regular ATX build to this current mATX. Getting old and having my own family now, space is becoming more and more of a premium in our home. I also go to a couple of LAN parties throughout the year. I wanted a case that's small, easy to carry, sleek and stylish yet easy to work with, hence the mATX form factor. Corsair really came through with a high quality mATX Obsidian case in the 350D. It just looks absolutely stunning and easy to work inside with its spacious interior despite the smaller form factor.
I initially had an EVGA GTX 770 2GB ACX video card. I decided to upgrade the video card to a 4 GB model. PC games these days are getting more demanding when it comes to VRAM (GTA V is a good example).
The GTX 970 fits my budget. I was also looking for one that has a blower style cooler to accommodate possible SLI configuration down the road (I used to have one with 2 x GTX 660 and loved it!). So why this particular model of the 970? The Maximus V Gene motherboard supports SLI but the PCI-e slots are not spaced far enough as it is with regular ATX boards. Two cards would fit but the lack of space in between would leave the top GPU starved for air. A blower style GPU solves this because it would blow the air right out of the case through the back rather than have it circulate inside the case first. It just so happens when I was looking at 970's Asus released this white "Turbo" variant. It's exactly what I was looking for!
The rest of the parts are typical fare. The XFX power supply is surprisingly built really well! I've used it before in a GTX 660 2-way SLI setup and it ran those cards with ease. This is also my first modular power supply. I used to have a non-modular TX750 from Corsair. Modular PSU's just absolutely makes building / cabling components so much easier and cleaner.
I threw in a basic 120 GB SSD. I think this is good enough for me as it only stores my operating system. The rest of my files / games are on the regular HDDs. The 500GB is used for installs of applications, while the 1 TB is used to store backups of my Steam games. The available space on my HDDs are becoming smaller over time, but now that I have also built a file server from spare parts and a 2 TB HDD for starters, it solves the space issue.
My future upgrade plans for this is to hopefully get another GTX 970; preferably the same Asus blower style model. I'm also looking into getting a G-Sync monitor but the tech is still expensive so that might not be a couple more years down the road. I'm also looking to add 8 more GB of RAM (though 8 GB is still good these days). I initially had 16 GB but decided to split it to put the other 8 GB into my file server build. I also have a Bitfenix Prodigy case lying around (what I was going to put my file server in but my mITX board bit the dust), so I may downsize even further to mITX, but Z77 ITX motherboards are soooo rare that I'd end up having to buy a new CPU and motherboard. This combo of 3570K and Maximus V Gene - I think - is still an awesome combo.
That's it for now. Thanks for looking!
2015/07/15: I finally bought a WD Red 2TB Hard Drive for my File Server box. I pulled the old 1TB drive from there and added it to this build. It will only be used for storage, mostly Steam games backups.
The HDD caddy in the 350D only has room for two. My SSD was occupying the top slot. I reinstalled the SSD caddy that came with the 350D. Out of the box, Corsair initially had the SSD cage installed at the top (right underneath the 5.25" bays) which looked odd to me. I did not know it can also be placed right above the HDD cages until today (it snaps right on top of it).
I'm also now running 5 fans total (2 front intake, 1 exhaust and 2 fans for the H100i radiator). With the H100i taking up the CPU header on the mother board, I ran out of fan headers (I was short 1). I picked up a Swiftech fan hub from NCIX a long time ago and haven't installed it until now. Works well and fits the back of the 350D perfectly (you can see it on the fifth picture).
2015/07/22: Replaced the rear 120 mm rear exhaust fan from a Corsair AF120 Quiet Edition to a Corsair AF120 Red LED fan