I've wanted to build a custom PC for a long time after I bought my previous laptop (the Dell Inspiron Gaming 7000 base model). That worked fine for a while, but after I started getting into CAD and Premiere, the GTX 1050 and 7300HQ weren't cutting it.
So with a budget of $1500 I set out to find the most RGB and performance I could get.
CPU I went with Intel since they had great single threaded and multithreaded performance and the motherboards offered more RGB than AMD ( ͡~ ͜ʖ ͡°). Overclocked it to 3.8 GHz, but more just for saying I've got an OC CPU in my build than anything else.
CPU Cooler The choice was fairly obvious. I wasn't planning on doing any major overclocks, at least to start, and when I saw this AURA SYNC compatible CPU Cooler that was quiet and capable, I was addicted from the start. It is performing well so far.
Motherboard In my opinion, Asus Aura Sync is the best RGB control software out there at this moment, so I wanted an Asus board. The most RGB per $ was awarded (by me) to the ROG STRIX Z370-E GAMING, so I went with that one. The decision was also made by the fact that it has great onboard wifi and it has SLI for future upgrades. The IO shield is nice, but the padding on the interior side is really annoying since it is really hard to install the motherboard in the case because of the thickness of the IO shield. I had to get someone to hold the motherboard tight against the shield in order to screw in the motherboard to the standoffs.
Storage I wanted a crazy fast M.2 drive for fast load times and everything, but they are very expensive. So, I ended up with a creatively named HP EX920 512GB M.2 SSD. Wow HP quality naming there. It compares well in terms of read/write speeds to the Samsung 960 EVO SSD, but it is $50 cheaper (at the time of writing).
RAM RGB RAM: the best thing that ever happened to the world, except for the wheel. The G.Skill Trident Z RGB RAM is in my opinion, the best looking Asus Aura Sync compatible (sometimes) RGB RAM on the market, with 5 individually addressable RGB LEDs. However, the RAM doesn't always show up in the Aura Sync program, which might be a bit of a problem.
PSU I wanted a fully modular, 620 watts or more. Thus, Seasonic came through with an incredibly cheap PSU. Nothing special, it works and isn't loud.
GPU I managed to get my hands on a 1070TI founders edition from NVIDIA for $449.99 and applied a few discounts for the final price of $399.99. The 1070TI is basically a 1080 but without DDR5X memory, so its a great value (vs. 1080 or other high-end GPUs)
Case At my local Fry's I got the Zalman Z9 NEO since it was a great case, and I didn't want to wait until Amazon got their act together and shipped me a P350X from Phanteks. Glad I made the switch. The 3 included blue fans and 2 just standard fans are quiet, and great additions to a great case. A few complaints: I had to fix my power button, which came broken (had to remove the front panel, tighten a really really janky mounting mechanism for the power button and its actual sensor (the button part of the button if you know what I mean). The entire thing that holds the button in place is a standoff, screw, and washer, which is zip tied to the front panel. Jeez you'd think for $85 they could have made a plasic bracket or something. Tempered glass and ventalation is great, and having 4 USB ports for front IO is better than some $200 or more cases. Finally, another con is that the 4 pin wire for the rear exaust fan has to be run through the groove in the side of the fan to clear the motherboard IO cover (at least with the Z370-E). Overall good case.
Great budget-ish processor. Turbos up to 4.5GhZ easily without going above 50C with a CPU cooler fan running at 803 rpm. The 6 cores chow through any multithreaded workloads with ease.
Looks amazing, quiet, RGB IS AURA SYNC, keeps a 8600K nice and cool even under mild OC or full turbo on all cores.
Great motherboard, WiFi is great for an integrated motherboard wifi. Stand for the Wifi antenna is a little hard to get the antenna into, and there are no instructions on the matter. IO shield is padded, so it takes some strength to line up your motherboard with the standoffs. The pressure needed made me feel like I was going to break it, but I didn't so yeah.
Its RAM. Period. Works well, OC works well.
One thing: doesn't do great with aura sync. Half the time mine doesn't appear in the aura program, which kinda sucks because I bought this over vengeance RGB for the aura sync.
Fast, budget-ish, M.2 SSD. Looks aren't great, but it's under a heatsink so who cares. Worth the performance drop for 12 more GB and a few hundred less MB of read/writes in sequential tests. Blazing fast, not very noticeable difference in speed between this and a 960 EVO from Samsung.
Great budget power supply. Cables aren't bad, though I wish they would include a single 2+6pin PCIe cable since the only ones included in the box are 2x 2+6pin PCIe cables. The included cable ties can be used to make it look like one cable if you don't have 2 GPUs.
Windows 10. Pricey for a USB version.