This build was one long learning process and that is exactly what I wanted it to be from the start. A year ago, I knew next to nothing about building computers. I considered myself a software-only guy but some friends of mine sparked my interest and I went from there. The number one reason I decided to do this was the advantage of being able to swap parts in/out and having the option to upgrade. I really wanted to have tangible or measurable outcomes for each piece of hardware I upgraded or added. I started with the most basic setup, case, cpu+cooler, 16gb RAM, integrated graphics instead of discrete, and an old 2.5" HDD. Part by part I would add/replace components and get some benchmarks to see what kind of difference each addition would get me. There weren't really any surprises, as I wasn't doing anything revolutionary, I just needed to do the steps myself and learn. Eventually I reached what I considered the first completed version of my build (nothing overclocked) which is documented here.
Quite a bit has changed since then, the most notable being the custom water loop but these are some other changes: 2nd card for SLI revamping the storage solution doubling the RAM beefing up the PSU to handle overclocking and the extra components a monitor worthy of this hardware painted the case and dustscreens carbon fiber paper on the PSU, radiators and mobo IO casings
I don't see myself making any further significant upgrades to this setup as the components are well-balanced and any steps up on this chipset would be minimal. In my opinion, not worth the money or time. I am committed to getting the most out of what I decided on initially and at some point in the not-near future upgrading my chipset as well as a higher-threaded CPU. I also realize that a lot of people are of the opinion that SLI vs a better single base card is not worth the money, but like I planned from day 1, this build was about improving and upgrading, not just buying the best possible combination of parts for a given price. While some extravagant costs prevented some cutting-edge choices as far as hardware goes, I wouldn't have spent the money to add RAM cooling to my custom loop if cost were that much of a priority. Everybody has their lines and eventually you just have to make a decision and be happy with it.
Were I to start a build today with what I know now, a lot of things would be done differently. That being said, I have no regrets about the part choices I made (I'll refer anyone who disagrees with said choices to my repeated comments about this being a learning, upgrading process with careful intentional choices ;)) and love this machine! I plan on it being my personal rig for many years to come.
Notes: Included the monitors and primary peripherals, but did not itemize ALL the water cooling parts, internal hubs, etc. I'm happy to share that information if it's desired but for now I'll save myself some tedious work.