I wanted to store recipes and play Mahjong, for over $1,000. Don't be stupid, I wanted to do some HD video editing and occasionally play games (fancier than Mahjong, not that there's anything wrong with Mahjong. I've said Mahjong four times now.) I had a new job and a dying laptop so I figured the time was now.
Now I had never built any PCs before, just swapped out optical drives, modems (remember dial-up?), RAM and the like, so I was overwhelmed by the options. The hardest part is learning when to ignore the bad reviews on products, everything has a shot at arriving dead, nothing you can do about it. I got lucky, every single part I bought worked out of the box and is, at least of this writing, still working. So a whole 3 months so far, OK nothing to write home about yet. Just as an example, there's a lot of reviews on the Kingston SSD complaining that they changed the hardware, with performance taking a hit. I don't really care, it's a boot disk and I can get in to Windows in about 10 seconds. I grew up with RAM measured in the KB and Windows 3.11 (as I'm sure a lot of you did also), so this is bordering on miraculous. Or my standards are just very low, I don't really know.
I waffled between a few different cases before picking the Phantom, and I'm glad I did. If you've never built before, cable management can be a little daunting, but this case makes it relatively easy. It's not my favorite shape (it'd be easier to put my external hard drive on top of the case but I cannot with the pointy design, oh, plus my external HDD just died last week for no reason anyway so it's entirely moot.) And for an added bonus, I was given a potential size-related compatibility flag with my choice of video card and case. I wasn't worried seeing as how you can remove the drive bay if necessary, but I popped the card in and lo and behold there was no issue whatsoever. With that said, the very tip of the card is close to the SATA ports on my MOBO so I'm not sure I can use that part of it, but I'm probably not adding any more drives any time soon anyway.
About the only "problem" I had was the cooler, I was overly optimistic in trying to get away with Intel's stock cooler but after watching my CPU temps hovering in the 40s while doing pretty menial tasks and skyrocketing to near-100s while re-encoding an HD video, I bought the 212 EVO. I installed it wrong the first time because I am not bright, and I'm still not 100% convinced I did it very well, but by golly, HD video encoding doesn't jack my CPU temps to 100C anymore, still gets a little warm but not near the danger zone (60s to 70s celsius as you'd probably expect.) Thanks for reading, enjoy the rest of your day. Or don't, if you don't feel like it. It's up to you, you're an adult. I assume.