I'll try to keep this brief but this is my First Build that was set into motion after purchasing an HP widescreen monitor and a PS4 some months ago (only with hopes of playing FFVII remake when it releases...yes I was willing to wait that long). Not sure why I didn't think about it at the time but the PS4 couldn't take advantage of the full aspect ratio of the monitor and I ended up selling it right after. During that time I happened to find a deal on Amazon for Titanfall for 5 bucks. Now I've always heard and known that PC games looked much better that current console games but I never put much thought into PC gaming honestly. What sparked my interest was that the HP machine I installed it on didn't have the best specs for gaming imo ( Specs: nVidia 750ti, Quad Core CPU, 16g RAM, 500w PSU) but still looked significantly better than current gen consoles. Additionally, the game could take full advantage of the aspect ratio and some. This sparked my interest and I decided to build a system dedicated only to gaming as my previous pc was more of the work/family pc. I also wanted something in a small form factor that would last about 4 - 5 years without any major overhauling. I admit I had a hard time deciding on what parts to use and this particular case didn't seem like a good choice for a beginner as it has some misleading info about it and the power supply.. However, I came across this site and looked at every mITX build I could find reading comments and suggestions even some live streams provided. Now all I can do is enjoy and wait for FFVII to be released on PC. Now on to the parts list:
CPU: i7600k - I purchased this because I got a good deal on it on National Pi day from Microcenter for $314. If I get bored I may decide to overclock later on.
CPU Cooler - Thanks to all the Noctua fans out there ( no pun intended) I learned that you can't go wrong with their coolers/ and or fans. I initially was set on the Hyper EVO 212 which is also praised as a great cooler but at 160+mm tall it wouldn't fit in this case. Water cooling was another option but in the end I made a decision and stuck with it.
Motherboard - Although this is my first build I was still pretty familiar with Asus motherboards. My current PC actually uses an Asus IPIBL-LB / Benicia Motherboard and I like Asus products so this wasn't a hard decision. It was actually this or the MSI mini itx variant but because of the PWM fans I have and the extra fan headers on this board pretty much sealed the deal. It doesn't offer M.2 but rather U.2...still that wasn't a deal breaker for me.
Memory - I almost settled on the Kingston Fury until I found these puppies on new egg. I love the aesthetics of these RAM sticks and am happy with their performance thus far.
Storage - SSD is the way to go. Would love the prices to come down a bit more but they've made progress to make them more affordable. Samsung happens to make good drives, I've also heard that Crucial does as well. I may add another one sometime in the future. The Seagate mechanical drive will be a backup for apps that aren't accessed as much.
Video Card - This was hands down the easiest decision I made. I think MSI outdid themselves with this card. It's an attractive GPU card with great ratings and performance and once it caught my eye I never looked backed. I just had to ensure it fit in my case and for a moment I thought it wouldn't but some of the posts on this site reassured me.
Case - Honestly, had I seen the M1 case before I saw this one, I probably would've went with the M1. Don't get me wrong, I like the case, but outside of this site, you'd be hard pressed to find anything with a build in it. I decided to customize it a bit to give it more of that gaming system appeal.
Power Supply - Ugghhhhh!!! Corsair saved me. This is where things got interesting for my build. It is part ignorance on my part and part ignorance on Cougar's part. It is clearly stated that this case can fit mATX PSU up to 140mm long...This is true but good luck with that. I tried in vain to get a Fully modular psu to fit in this thing without having the cables push down on the GPU. Now, it may be possible with a non modular or semi modular PSU which again ignorance on my part I didn't think to use. I figured fully modular was the way to go with less cabling but that's only about 2 cables shy of using all cables that came with this psu. Still some of the other connectors would be applying pressure to the GPU in that tight space so as others have suggested just stick with a SF PSU. Thankfully Corsair just came out with their version of SF PSU because although Silverstone was dominating the market on those I read a number of negative reviews regarding their psu's making some high pitch noises. As you can see this case is well ventilated so i didn't need any additional noise.
Optical Drive - Probably didn't need one but it can't hurt to have one. Not many to choose from so easy choice.
Operating System - Must have - Loved XP, Like Win 7, Like/Hate Win 10 ( It's complicated lol)
Case Fan - Last but not least. The CPU cooler is the reason I decided to purchase the Noctua Fans. Many dislike the color scheme of Noctua fans and to be honest I initially did as well but it grew on me (They compliment each other). If Noctua made a 120mm Slim fan it would have taken the place of the Prolimatech Fan. The space under the GPU wasn't enough to fit a 120 X 25 mm fan comfortably, so I had to go low profile. Still not sure if it was needed but having one 80mm intake fan didn't seem proportioned as far as cooling goes.
Thoughts - Really though it was fun building my own PC and if money grew on trees I'd build another. Thanks for reading if you've made it this far and I'll be checking in on this site early and often to see all the great builds and to gain some insight. Please share any suggestions you may have...Peace!