Built to take up the gaming side of my computing needs (my laptop works fine for my school and work-related needs), this is a mid-range build that, so far, is working quite nicely.
CPU: Intel Core i3-8350K
While I was initially aiming at the i5-8400 or 8600k, for other reasons I decided to downgrade slightly and go for the 8350k instead. I have achieved a stable and steady overclock at 4.5Ghz and 1.27 (I could go higher, but it's stable here and the rig runs cooler), and the chip is quite capable for a budget chip, as I am able to achieve a solid 60fps on a more CPU-intensive game like Total War: Warhammer II. I am planning on upgrading down the line to either an i5-8600k or i7-8700k, however.
CPU Cooler: Cryorig H7
A very efficient fan cooler, I have not seen temps go higher than 71o C even under load, and my overclock is currently stabilized at around 55o C average under stress. Installation was a bit finicky, but not horrifically so, and I have had no problems with it after installation. It also doesn't interfere with the RAM slots on my motherboard, which is rather nice.
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming WiFi
All around, a fairly solid motherboard, and one of the cheaper ones at that (I got it on sale and on rebate through Newegg). The onboard WiFi works quite well, it comes with two M.2 slots (though one only runs NVMe drives, so do be careful with that), and plenty of USB 3.0 ports in the back; it even comes with a USB Type C slot in the back, which is also very cool. Overall, quite satisfied.
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 8GB (2x8GB) DDR4-2666
I actually purchased one stick initially, but got some extra money through an unexpected stipend for something I do at school and splurged on another stick (same type for compatibility reasons). Sticks are fairly low profile and don't interfere with the cooler, and while I could go higher in terms of clock speed, with memory prices being what they are right now, I'm cool with these.
Storage 1: ADATA Premier SP550 240GB M.2-2280 SSD
Used primarily as my boot drive and for storing a few loading-intensive games and important applications. It was one of the cheapest SSDs available, and the M.2 form factor means less cords that I needed to deal with for cable management. No problems with it so far! Works great for its intended purpose, and way faster than an HDD.
Storage 2: Seagate BarraCuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM HDD
Used for storing all of my other games and documents, works just fine so far. I wouldn't use it as a boot drive (always go for an SSD boot drive if possible), but it's way faster than the HDD I used to have on my laptop and has enough storage for everything that I need.
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
Paid more than I would like to get this, but I was lucky to snag it for only this much with the recent resurgence in graphics card prices after the mining craze started up again. It's a fairly good mid-range graphics card, and can handle most of my games at 1080p at 60fps, which is all I'm asking for right now. The dual fan design is very quiet. The card is rather long, so do be careful if you have a smaller case - it fits just fine in my case, but does take up a lot of space and can make accessing the SATA slots on the motherboard difficult.
Case: Phanteks Eclipse P300 Tempered Glass ATX Mid Tower
All around, a fairly solid and beautiful case for its price. The cables can be easily routed through the side so that cable management is easy, and it comes with a few velcro straps to help with that as well. Dust filters cordon off the intake spaces, and the LEDs are a nice touch. The PSU shroud doesn't leave much room below, however, especially as it shares space with the HDD drive bays. The space around the CPU power plugin was rather tight as well, especially with the fan in place, and I had to attach the CPU power plug and case fan plug in before screwing in my motherboard due to lack of space (though I do have big hands, so that's probably part of it). Finally, that tempered glass side panel is beautiful. Overall, I recommend this case.
PSU: SeaSonic M12II 520 Bronze
Due to noise issues with the Corsair CX550M, I swapped it out with this model. The full modularity is very nice, and it is significantly quieter than its predecessor - my case fans and CPU fan get way louder than it under load. Plenty of juice for my system as well. Highly recommended.
OS: Windows 10
It's Windows 10. Do I really need to say anything else that hasn't already been said? :)
Case Fans: Corsair SP120 120mm
I grabbed the high static pressure fans specifically for the front of the case, which doesn't have a ton of intake space available. They're very quiet, and the purple LED colors are fun as well.
Monitor: Acer KN242HYL 23.8" 1920x1080p 60Hz
A very nice monitor for its price range, I managed to snag it on sale for nearly half-off from Newegg. It's not 1440p or higher than 60Hz, but it's quite large and looks good with its IPS display. The on-board speakers are rather tinny, unfortunately, but a good pair of headphones can get around that problem. For what I paid for it, it's very good.
Keyboard: AmazonBasics KU-0833 Wired
Really basic, cheap keyboard; I wanted to put more of my budget toward the actual components, and for basic keyboard use, it's just fine.
Mouse: Logitech M317 Wireless Laser
See above re: keyboard; works just fine, even if it isn't a gaming mouse. I'm not doing a lot of shooter games or anything that requires rapid response anyways.
Total: $1263.50 USD
Ignoring the OS and peripherals, it totals at about $1012 for just the tower, and less if you forego one of the RAM sticks. For what I'll be using it for, it works excellently, and I'm quite happy with my first desktop computer in nearly 10 years.
Note: This build originally had a Corsair CX550M as its power supply; however, due to noise problems with its fan at odd times (and some research indicating that this can be a recurring problem with it regardless of whether its defective or not), I replaced it with the PSU currently in the list.
For an i3 CPU, this puppy actually manages to be very good overall. As a quad-core CPU with good overclocking capabilities (I've got mine set to 4.5Ghz at 1.27v), it's easily a match for the previous generation i5 chips, and much cheaper overall. The 8th gen i5 and i7 chips will likely be better for gaming, especially in the future, but at 1080p 60hz this CPU does just fine for even most modern AAA games.
For only about $30, this fan cooler keeps my CPU running cool even under load with a moderate overclock, with average temps maxing out at about 55 degrees C. It is rather tall, so do make sure that your case has enough space for it - this would probably not be able to fit in an mATX case, for example, unless it has a lot of space. Highly recommended if you're looking for cheaper but excellent CPU cooling solutions (i.e., not wanting to pay for an AIO).
I managed to snag this on rebate from Newegg, and it's an excellent board. The built-in wifi means that I don't have to purchase a separate wifi card or try to run an ethernet cable back to my room, and it has a fairly solid connection for wifi. Two M.2 slots are also quite nice (I only use one currently, but it's nice to have room for expansion), and plenty of USB 3.0 ports on the back plus two USB 3.1 ports (one Type-A, one Type-C) are very appreciated. I don't make use of the RGB headers, but if you're into that, it's got plenty of them. Overall, very good for being one of the cheaper Z370 chipset boards.
While I was slightly skeptical at the fact that this wasn't a Crucial or Samsung SSD, it's been running excellently in my system so far. 240GB is just enough for my OS, applications, and a few large games (Total War: Warhammer II, Civ VI, XCOM 2), and everything loads up very quickly. It was also super easy to install, at least on the motherboard I chose, and it makes for two less cables in my build.
It's a very solid hard drive, what more can I say? Works excellently alongside my SSD for storing the rest of my game library, as well as movies and other stuff that would take up too much space on my SSD. It's cheap, and it runs quite quickly (having primarily used 5400rpm hard drives prior to this one thanks to mostly owning laptops).
If you're looking for 1080p gaming at around 60fps, this card will do quite nicely for you. The dual fans only spin up when they need to and are very quiet, and it's capable of handling modern AAA games very well. Only downside was the price, and even then I managed to get it for just over $300 before the cryptocurrency mining price surge really kicked into gear; maybe wait for that to die down before purchasing if you can.
A beautiful looking case for a very good price. Two USB 3.0 ports up top are handy for easy access, there's plenty of space in the interior, and it's very easy to disassemble, with plenty of thumbscrews. The tempered glass side panel is beautiful. The bottom PSU shroud helps to hide a lot of the cables, and the back has plenty of cable management options, with the ability to rout most of them off to the side and hold them in place with velcro cable ties that come with the case. Two SSD mounts and two toolless HDD bays are nice if you don't need a ton of storage. The interior parts are rounded off nicely and everything is smooth - no danger of cutting yourself on this case (your motherboard's I/O shield being the usual exception, and that's not the case's fault). The only qualifier I would make is that it only comes with one exhaust fan - I would recommend picking up a couple of static pressure fans for the front, as it has room for up to two 140mm fans there (it's also where you would mount the radiator for your AIO if you're using one). As a first-time builder, I highly recommend this case - it's not too expensive, and it is very easy to build in, not to mention it just looks good!
PURPLE!!! These fans are actually surprisingly quiet, and the purple LED glow is fun. I grabbed three of these for my build, and they work very well.
I managed to snag this on sale for $80 through Newegg, and for that price, I am more than happy with it. It's nearly 24", it has an IPS display, and it does its job very well. The onboard speakers are rather tinny, but if you're using a headset, that isn't too much of a problem.
It's a very basic keyboard, which is pretty much all I needed. I wasn't willing to spend more for something like a mechanical keyboard (I can upgrade to that later if I want), and it does its job well enough.
Your basic wireless laser mouse. It works quite well for what I need it to do, and I didn't want to pay more for a fancy gaming mouse.