First build, works nice
This is a great motherboard. Besides looking totally badass and matching my color scheme, the Asus Maximus VIII Gene comes with all of the features I could ever need (or want, to be honest) and has enough space for everything I plugged into it. Plus, unlike some of the cheaper motherboards I researched, its sturdy feel and heavy weight gives the impression of quality and durability, and I believe it will last many years to come.
My only complaint is that it comes with a really flimsy I/O shield. Considering the high quality of the motherboard itself, I was very surprised, but in the end, the motherboard gave me everything Asus promised me, and I was satisfied.
Originally, I was going for a typical full-tower case (Nanoxia's Deep Silence 1 ATX Mid Tower Case was my favorite) but it just isn't practical if you're a college student.
In the end, I settled on Thermaltake's Core V21 MicroATX Mini Tower Case because of three simple reasons: it's small and it looks cool, but it's also understated. Aside from having really great reviews on every site I've visited, the case has a nice big window to view your computer's beautiful innards, plus it's sturdy enough to last me as long as I need it to. Also, it's not striped, ridged, or any of the other crazy things that other cases pull. The honeycomb front allows for great air flow while adding some flair, but otherwise, the case is simple. Nice.
For anyone looking to buy this case, I'd note a few things. First, you don't immediately see it, but there is a great big intake fan hidden in the front of the case that Thermaltake included. (Surprise!) Second, there is no space to include a 5.25" inch drive, so if you want your computer to be able to read DVDs, you need to buy a USB CD/DVD reader. Third, the case will scare the **** out of you multiple times if you're a first-time builder like me and don't really know what you're doing.
Case in point: Thermaltake, ingeniously, has included built-in motherboard standoffs in the case to make it easier and quicker to install the motherboard. However, this information is NOT mentioned in the manual, and it took a lot of nervous Internet searching to determine that I wasn't actually missing any standoffs, nor was I going to spontaneously fry my motherboard once I plugged it into the power supply.
Anyways, the case is perfect in every way, except for one thing. The drive bays. They are really flimsy. I'm glad I don't have to pull them out unless I need to install or replace a drive, otherwise I'd be terrified of breaking them.