Big thanks to PCPartPicker for the feature and for bringing us a great website for the community of builders!
I was finally able to talk the better half into letting me build her a new PC. I was given a limited budget, and a focus on low noise. She doesn't play any games that require a lot of horsepower, but spends most of her time on Chrome and playing flash-based "Big Fish" games.
All new parts except for the 250GB SSD and an older EVGA GTX-460. While I didn't start out with much of a color theme, she picked out the white Phanteks P400S tempered glass case and I started from there. I didn't realize the case would come with an RGB strip, but testing it out I ended up going with as many white components as I could (within the budget) so that whatever color she set the RGB strip to, the components would blend in visually. She keeps it on the slow color changing rainbow effect. I really wish the RGB controller would let me dim the RGB to half brightness, but she's happy, so that's that.
Building in the Phanteks was easy. I like the power supply shroud as the budget would only allow for a non-modular PSU. No nasty birds nest of cables can be seen, so my slight OCD nature can rest easy. The case had standoffs pre-installed for standard ATX, and I needed to reposition a standoff for the micro-ATX mobo I ended up using. It would have been nice if they included a standoff removing bit for their standoffs, as the bit I had from a Fractal build was too small to fit the Phanteks standoffs. The two included 120mm fans are a little noisy if you get close, but not so bad from where the PC sits on the floor. I added a Noctua Redux 140mm fan and it is very quiet indeed.
Fit and finish on the stamped steel case is nice. The magnet mounted plastic top covers are a slightly different shade of white and have a matte finish, but I think it matches well and adds some visual interest on the top. Buttons have a nice positive feel, although the tiny hidden buttons under the top lip for the included fan controller and RGB lights can be hard to hit if you have fat fingers like myself.
My plan for components originally was an i3-7100 and a single stick of 8GB RAM, but when I visited my nearest Micro Center they had the i3-7350K on sale for $130, and if I got a motherboard with it they would discount the purchase by $30. When I asked about RAM, it just so happened that they had a white kit of 2400MHz 16GB Ballistix, and they'd knock off yet another $10 if I purchased it together with the mobo and CPU. In the end I went a little over budget, but I figured I needed to build this with the minimum RAM to last the useful life of the build, and the slightly higher performance of the 7350K for $10 more than the price of the 7100 sounded worth it. I might even try to OC it if I can distract her away from the PC on my day off. ;) The good old Evo 212 cooler really wasn't needed I suppose, but I wanted things cool and quiet. I ended up buying the red LED version and swapping the LED fan with my PC's non-LED fan so that the constant on red lights wouldn't distract from whatever color she chose to run at the moment.
The GTX-460 was left at my home by a family member, so I pulled the cooler, cleaned out about a metric ton of dust and repasted. Might sneak in a GTX-1050ti in the future, but I don't want to sleep on the couch just yet, so that'll have to wait. Anyways, if you leave a component at my house, you might find it refurbished and put back to use!