First, I’d say how easy it really is to build computers for gaming. My first build with my dad was an awesome learning experience and has led me to continue building computers semi-professionally for about 15 years now.
A lot of people get lost and frustrated when it comes to building, which is where /r/buildapc and pcpartpicker come in. Buildapc is probably the friendliest, most helpful, and most well-informed group of builders on the net, and I owe them more thanks than I could express. Next is pcpartpicker, which is kinda like shopbot, but exclusively for pc parts. Using that and a few other resources, I ended up paying less than half of what my computer costs full price.
As for the build itself. It all started when one of my bestest friends ever bought me an ASUS Radeon 7850 for my (late) birthday. After that, I slowly bought parts, watching for sales, and 3 months later I had a computer!
My first pick for a processor was an Intel i5-2500k, but when I saw I could get the i7-3930k for the same price, I had to jump on it. Next, the mother board was a fairly easy choice, as ASUS only made one model in my price range with SSD Caching, the P9X79 PRO. RAM again was an easy choice (the cheapest 1.5V/1600MHz/CL9 or 8 sticks I could find). I recycled a HDD from an old laptop and used an Intel 180GB 520 series SSD and used the SSD caching. What this means in non-computer lingo is that I’m getting the capacity of a regular mechanical drive and the speed of a solid state drive all on one letter.
Finally, the power supply and case both came from NZXT. The HALE series power supplies are basically rebranded Seasonics, which make them absolutely amazing PSUs. A modular power supply meant a clean looking case, and the NZXT fan meant it would be a bit cooler and quieter than a standard Seasonic in the same price range.
The case, although pricier than my first choice, turned out to be worth every penny. Cable management was an absolute dream with a raised backplate and plenty of rubber lined holes to route each cable precisely where I wanted it to go. The fan layout the case shipped with was perfect to enable front-to-back airflow. The one item that had me thoroughly confused was a second hand Corsair H100, a closed watercooling loop for the processor that had a dual 80mm radiator that I thought I might have to cut open and mount outside the case through the water tube grommets at the back of the case. After a few hours of head-scratching, I found two pieces of metal that turned out to be mounting brackets for the top of the case. Now the processor wont even break 50 C under load because of the push-pull going on with the 200mm fans on top of the case. Finally, the piece-du-resistance of the case is the sliding fan controller. With a quick slide, I can make all the fans on my tower go from super quiet to maximum cooling without alt-tabbing or playing with complicated software.