I prefer small, quiet, sleek builds, with tons of RAM, SSDs, and Intel core processors for an awesome all-around computing experience. I'm not gaming or overclocking focused, and usually let stock fans and integrated graphics do their thing (to keep the noise, the profile, and the power requirements low.)
Notes about this build:
- This build booted on the very first power-up, everything fit well, no surprises.
- I didn't get a separate GPU, the integrated graphics work great for a linux workstation.
- I didn't get an optical drive, I booted / installed from a USB stick. You could easily add an optical drive.
- No monitor, keyboard, or mouse on this list, I already owned those. Any USB keyboard/mouse will work - there are no old-school PS/2 ports.
- I installed Ubuntu 14.04.1 on the SSDs in RAID0 (requires server installation disc), but you could (with less partitioning hassle) just use one drive.
- I use this machine with my 27" 2560x1440 Dell U2713HM monitor over displayport - one of the reason I chose this motherboard was the displayport capability.
- For this build, a friend gave me the cooler, so I decided to try it out.
- I like the Rosewill Line-M. I've previously used the Rosewill FBM-01 (both small, quiet cases by tower standards.) The Line-M has nicer mounting hardware and USB 3.0 on the front. The Line-M comes with two 120mm case fans - a clear/blue-LED one in front and a plain black on in back. I swapped them as I don't appreciate the blue glow. The black one, however, is a bit loud so I turned it off in the BIOS. I might replace it for a quieter fan.
I use this machine as a Linux workstation - I run lots of terminals, compile projects, browse using Chrome with tons of tabs open, run various services locally for debug (MySQL, MongoDB, web servers, etc.), as well as running VMs for other tasks (Windows 7 with Photoshop for example). A beefy machine like this is a fast and economical way to do all that without a hiccup.
Thanks for a great website, PCPartPicker!