The journey with this build started in December of 2016, well before the pricing apocalypse truly set in. First stumbles were mainly based on a lack of research or cheaping out on parts which I'd end up replacing.
This build started with an i5-6500. In Dec. 2016 the 6700k was the best available but would have locked me into a 6gb 1060 or RX 480 budget-wise.
The 8700k overclocks like a monster, though it has similarly monstrous heat output. Don't expect a cool 5.0 without at least a 280mm AIO or one of the larger air coolers.
Cooler: Thermaltake Floe 280
Initially, this build was FPS per dollar first, so the stock i5 6500 cooler worked fine. Once I got the 8700k and the Corsair 460x, I boarded the RGB train and bought the Thermaltake Floe 280. I'm pretty happy with it, but any of the lighting effects involving transitions are stuttery and not pleasant at all. Static single colors or combinations of colors look great. Software is functionally fine but looks like a pile of crayon vomit.
Motherboard: MSI Z370 SLI Plus
After ditching the h110m board along with the i5-6500, I opted for the modest but well-equipped MSI Z370 SLI plus. I don't need the two PCI slots, but the board was cheaper than a lot of competitors. It has 4 RAM slots and a compliment of decent-looking VRM heatsinks. The board temps according to AIDA64 were fine under stress test with 5.0ghz on the CPU and 2.1ghz on the GPU, so unless you're really pushing some crazy clocks or are after better aesthetics this board serves just fine.
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR4-2400
I initially had a single stick of 8gb because I was an idiot and didn't research the performance differences between single and dual channel. Ended up with a kit of 2x8gb 2400mhz from Corsair which clocks up to 2800 without much issue. Might be able to push it to 3000 with more relaxed timing, but I haven't been willing to spend the time for the minimal performance gains.
Storage: Crucial MX300 525gb
Ah, finally something I did make the right choice on initially. 500 is plenty for a few games and some work files, though I really need to get an additional bulk HDD or maybe another 500gb SSD.
Video Card: Gigabyte GTX 1070 Windforce
The windforce OC by Gigabyte has great thermals but it isn't the prettiest card around. When Volta/Ampere/Turing/Miyamoto comes out, I'll wait for AIB versions unless FE includes a backplate.
The 1070 is a great card for maxed 1080p and mid-range 1440p gaming and suits a 144hz monitor well. Clock speeds can typically be increased by ~200mhz and the memory by ~300mhz. I feel fortunate to have gotten this early at a fair price.
Case: Corsair 460x RGB
After getting frustrated with the lack of good cooling options for my first case, I settled on the Corsair 460x. Somewhat tight cable management aside, this case is a real beauty and not a bad deal for $140 when you factor in the 3 RGB fans and two glass panels. The large vent slot between the front and side panels ensures that it can breathe just as freely as its non-tempered glass brethren. Build quality of the steel components is disappointing in a case of this price, but it's where they're making up their margins for the glass and the fans.
Power Supply: EVGA 450w Bronze
I cheaped out like hell here, and ended up hiding horrid ketchup-mustard PCI and mobo cables with black extensions from Silverstone. They only cost about 10 bucks each, and are long enough that I'm sure they'll work with most case and PSU combos. If your PSU cables look bad and you have a side panel window, I can't recommend cable extensions enough. They definitely made things even more cramped behind the motherboard tray, but everything's covered by the non-glass right panel. As a side note, I was surprised when I calculated that 450w is more than enough to deal with an overclocked 8700k plus a 1070.
Monitor: Dell S2716DGR 27" 144hz 1440p G-Sync
I love this thing, except that it's a TN. The colors are good, but black levels are not. If IPS or VA 144hz G-Sync models ever go under 700, I'll definitely consider swapping.
Keyboard: Corsair K65 lux
The K65 does what I need it to do -- be TKL, mechanical, and RGB. CUE is pretty good now.
Mouse: Logitech G Pro
The G Pro is almost the perfect mouse for me. I have close to fairy hands, so the smaller size works well for my preferred palm grip. Apparently, the sensor is one of the best out there and is used by many of the big peripheral manufacturers, so it really came down to ergonomics and aesthetics. The RGB is bright, saturated, and can do smooth transitions, though not between a specific colors, only through the entire spectrum (you can only set single colors to be static or breathe). Why is it that every RGB component has to have annoying quirks which you actually pay more to deal with?
Headphones: Sennheiser HD6XX
Basically, HD650s for $200 from Massdrop. Definitely one of the best deals that exists in headphones if you can deal with the long wait.
Assembling this build was a process that literally took over a year, though I gamed and worked all along the way. It's been fun being able to treat my PC as an ongoing installation art project. I never realized the satisfaction one could feel by using PSU cable extensions to hide the reliable-but-ugly cables on the unit I bought over a year ago. Transplanting everything into a Corsair 460x felt like giving it the home it deserved. It's been an expensive but enjoyable journey, and I hope reading about some of my mistakes may have helped any first-time builders out there.
Holy single-threaded and multi-core performance, Batman! If you want a chip without compromise in either gaming or productivity, this is the closest you're getting. I've got mine running at 5.0ghz and 1.28v, could probably push it further but with these settings it stays under 80 at all times. Definitely interested to see if I could push it to 5.2 or 5.3 with a delid. Don't expect to overclock much with less than a 240mm rad or a decent air cooler.
This is a very effective AIO, but don't get this version (they all use the same Asetek pump) unless the value of the extra RGB fans appeals to you. In my opinion, the NZXT block's infinity mirror design looks better.
My main issue is with the RGB effects. The effects have a really low 'framerate' so they're very stuttery. Static single colors or combinations of colors look fine, though.
This is as no-frills as you're getting for the Z370 platform, but that doesn't make it bad by any means. I have a 5.0ghz OC running on an 8700k and temps across the board (ha) stay under 50 c. If you want to save a buck on your Z370 platform and don't need crazy power phases or modern-art VRM heatsinks this should serve you admirably.
This is a good kit for Intel setups since the speed deficit won't hit you as hard as on the Ryzen platform. Even then, I was able to clock my kit up to 2800mhz with no issue. Any higher and I can't maintain stability, though I haven't tried tweaking timings. Good-looking ram for a decent price.
Not as fast as the Samsung drives or a newer MX500, but if you can snag this for a good deal I'd highly recommend it, the general system performance and game load times are spectacular compared to any mechanical drive.
Overclocks great, looks meh when installed since it doesn't have a backplate. If you have a tempered glass or acrylic window, I'd look at a different card.
Temperature and clock-wise I love this thing. It can handle a +250mhz core / +300mhz memory offset with no problem, and I've literally never seen it hit higher than 77 c.
This case is beautiful, though the build quality of the non-glass components could be better. Some of the aluminum panels are a little thinner than I'd like. The mounting system for the glass isn't the best -- the rubber grommets which soften the connection between the glass and the rest of the case aren't fixed to the glass, so they can fall out and get lost if you aren't careful.
The dust filters across the front and top are easy to clean, though you'll have to remove the front glass to access the front filter.
Some have complained about the lack of room behind the non-glass panel for cable management, but I found it satisfactory. It doesn't offer much room to make things look pretty, but it's all going to be behind metal anyway.
Though I have complaints, I love this case and it's not a bad value for what you're getting -- a decent case to work in, two beautiful glass panels and three 120mm RGB fans, and overall presentation which will look great on your desk for a long time.