I did my previous gaming-oriented build in an NCASE M1 a couple of years ago, but ended up selling most of it some time ago. The system sported a 4670K, a GTX 980, and Noctua fans all around. At that time I also built a NAS in a Fractal Design Node 304, but ended up putting parts of it on sale as well. As to what kind of system I had before that, I don't really even remember, other than the case being a Fractal Design Define R2 or something. Anyways, the point of all this was to emphasize that I have some history in small form factor builds prior to this one and that I intended to continue the trend.
The build is meant primarily for gaming and secondarily for programming.
I already kind of knew some of the parts I wanted to go with - like the GPU and the CPU - but didn't really have a clue as to what was on the market in terms of ITX cases. Although I liked (or even loved) the NCASE M1 when I had it, I didn't feel like building in it again, having already experienced it once before. I then did what I've always done and checked what Fractal Design had to offer and did in fact find something interesting in the form of the windowed Define Nano S. I even almost went ahead and called it a day and ordered it on the spot, but decided to still skim through alternatives in the end. And oh my was I glad I decided to do that. The NZXT H200i looked much like the Define Nano S, but even sleeker. Getting an ITX case of its size was also a welcomed change after having built in the M1, where extra space is at bare minimum. In retrospect, finding a suitable case wasn't hard at all.
Figuring out what monitor to buy was probably the biggest question mark for me. The monitor I paired my M1 build with was the 27" Asus PG279Q, which had pretty noticeable backlight bleed and looked very gamery. I basically never really liked the monitor that much, but appreciated it for competitive gaming and I believe it was pretty much the best you could get (for gaming) at the time. I think it's a shame that monitors with good refresh rates and response times still almost invariably have this old-fashioned gaming design language with red accents and quite literally zero taste. After having gone through a sea of 27-or-so inch gaming monitors from the big brands like Asus and Acer, I stumbled upon the ultrawide category which apparently nowadays also includes relevant options for gaming as well. The one that really caught my eye in this category was the 34" AW3418DW from Alienware. I was then curious to see what kind of competition it had and to me it looked like the only relevant competitor was the 34" Acer X34P. Where I live, the Alienware monitor was out of stock everywhere, but I ended up ordering one anyways. While I was waiting for the monitor to arrive - which by the way only took some 2 weeks after all - I tried out the X34P. I liked almost everything about it, but there were still some minor things that I managed to nitpick on, like the hideous Predator logo, the glossy back panel, and the external power brick. Not to mention it was also almost 200 euros more expensive than the Alienware. Having now used the AW3418DW for a bit, I can safely say that it is either as good or superior in every possible way when compared to the X34P. The monitor is probably my favorite thing about this build as it not only is great for gaming, but is also a fantastic monitor for programming due to the "extra" horizontal space.
Simply picked a tier-1 80 Plus Platinum SeaSonic PSU with enough wattage for my parts from this post on the LTT forums and called it a day.
For the motherboard I wanted to go with a reasonably high-end and well-rated board. I debated between the Gigabyte Z370N and the Asus Z370-I for a while, of which the latter was more expensive, but was included in an Asus promotion so I ended up getting it for the same prize as I would've paid for the Gigabyte one.
I think the 8700K was a no-brainer, although I could've probably also gone with an 8600K.
I had already previously used the NH-D15 from Noctua and saw that it was still relevant after all these years, so I decided to give the NH-D15S a shot in this build. The cooler itself fits OK inside the case with enough clearance between itself and the GPU, but it was the fans I had the most problems with. There is quite literally no space to manoeuvre the fan clips onto the heat sink on the top panel's side and it took me a good amount of time, sweat, and ninja-like moves with a screwdriver to lock the fans in, but after enough tries I finally got both down. Once the fans were installed, adding the Chromax covers wasn't too big of a deal, although the left cover did require some brute force.
I basically just wanted enough of non-flashy non-RGB-y memory and the Kingston FURYs seemed to have a pretty good reputation.
I initially almost ordered the MSI Gaming X variant of the 1080 Ti due to its great acoustics, but then realised that there was most likely no way I would fit a 2.5-slot card in the case I had chosen, plus it had red accents, so it was a no-go in the end. I then started looking into 2-slot 1080 Tis and pretty much the only (relevant) options were the EVGA cards. I had only heard good things about EVGA's GPUs and thus decided to scan the local supply only to realise that the SC2 was on sale for a lot more than the FTW3, which was odd, not to mention it was also out of stock, unlike the FTW3. It was around this time that I discovered a certain build on PCPP that gave me all the inspiration I could've possible wanted. Kudos to mekberg for the inspiration in the form of The Fame Monster.
In the M1 build I had two 2.5" Samsung EVO SATA3 SSDs in RAID 0 and never had any problems with them, so decided to stick with the brand, only this time with a single M.2 NVMe one.
Noctua all the way, this time with the Chromax variants. Oddly enough the NF-A14's only included four rubber pads of each colour, which was annoying because I was unable to use black on both sides on them. I ended up using brown pads (that I happened to have from a previous build) for the sides that were hidden from the case window.
As a minimalist I like the 60% keyboards and the Vortex POK3R that I've had for a few years still serves me fine, though I am thinking of perhaps getting an optionally-wireless one at some point. The mouse of choice is the Logitech G703 as it looks less all-over-the-place than e.g. the G903 while still being an exceptionally good wireless gaming mouse. The headphones I have are wireless and noise-canceling due to the nature of my work (programming), but seem to also serve me well when it comes to gaming, so I haven't at least yet seen reason to have separate headphones for that purpose.