One of my friends wanted to finally upgrade to a PC that could actually run his games at max settings at 1080p. He was also computerless for about a month because the old one died. He had never built a computer before, so I said I'd gladly create him a parts list and show him how to build it. He mainly plays games that are a few years old, so I didn't need to worry about getting a graphics card that had to handle the newest stuff. His budget was around $550, so it took me a while to finalize some parts and research enough to find out what cheap parts weren't going to make the computer explode.
I decided to go with the 960 and i3 because I have had great experiences with Intel processors and Nvidia cards. The 4gb version was not that much more, so I went with that. As we were building it, I was not a big fan of the tesseract case. The case does not have great cable managing features and the metal is really flimsy, but it looks cool and its only $40.
So far, the PC has run very smoothly and is really quiet. He hasn't found any games that can't be run at max settings in his library thus far, so it was a success!
Good case for the money, but if you can spend a bit more, I would definitely go for one with better cable managing and sturdier panels.