EDIT: Now that over a year has passed since this build, I have updated it with reviews of the parts. Everything continues to operate flawlessly. The CPU and GPU have exceeded my original expectations and have offered so much value for what I paid for them that I would consider buying them again even over a year later.
This build was created for personal use, primarily for gaming. I got most of my parts on Black Friday deals which influenced my choices somewhat, but I am very happy with how it turned out!
I went with the i5-4690K as my processor because of it's strong gaming performance and overclocking potential. Even at the standard clock speed I haven't yet been able to strain it, so it should serve me well for quite a while.
The MSI Z97 PC Mate was a great motherboard choice for me, offering a Z97 chipset for a great price. The board seems well build and has all of the features I need so far.
I chose the Intel 730 series SSD because it was on a good deal at the time. I'll add another SSD in the future when I begin running out of room.
I got the Sapphire R9 280 for a great price and have been very happy with it so far.
I enjoyed working with the NZXT Phantom 240 case. It is well designed and was easy to build with.
More CPU than my GPU knows what to do with. It is a gaming champ, and for my purchase price of $178 I would buy it again in a heartbeat a year and a half later.
The heatsink is excellent and looks great to boot. The fan is just so-so. It's not the quietest in the world. It has a manual speed control knob which might seem like a nice feature, except that I forget to adjust it meaning I end up leaving it on high most of the time just to be safe. Annoyance aside, it keeps my CPU frosty even under load.
I got everything I wanted for what (at the time) was an excellent price. It has remained stable and inconspicuous since installation, so I'm happy.
Memory has come down a lot in price since I bought this, but back then this was good value RAM. I'm happy with its performance so far.
It's lightening fast! Gone are the days of going and making a sandwich while your computer starts up. I can boot cold in just a few seconds. My limited game time only permits me to give attention to one or two big titles at a time so a year and a half later 240GB is still enough for my needs.
In a GPU market that marches relentlessly onward to newer and faster cards it's pretty impressive that I would strongly consider purchasing this card again even a year and a half later. The R9 280 is a real sweetheart of a card and is standing the test of time very well despite having been outmoded by two successive models since. Sapphire's cooler is quiet and effective - I almost never notice the fan noise.
I found this case fairly easy to work with during assembly. It included all of the features I needed plus two truly whisper-quiet fans. On top of that It looks darn sleek.
So far so happy. The unit and included cables give off an air of quality, the fan has remained inaudible, and the warranty gives me peace of mind should anything go wrong. It looses a star for value - I think it would be a more attractive offer if it was $20 cheaper.