The computer I was aiming to build was one that was compact, quiet, and didn't draw too much power. The case that interested me was the Silverstone ML08B-H model that had a slim design, but also had the option to have a carrying handle. I also considered the Corsair Graphite 380t, but ultimately went with the silverstone because of the pricing difference.
Since the computer was primarily for gaming, and not quite so much encoding, I chose the intel i5, since I wouldn't really benefit from hyperthreading. Skylake had just come out, so I wanted to future proof the system so I chose to use a 6th gen intel i5 processor. I fortunately live near a MicroCenter, and the i5-6600k was prices at a great value there. I considered just using the I5-6500 since i was not planning to overclock the processor, and just using a more affordable I170 chipset. There was a great deal for the Gigabyte Z170n-gaming 5 motherboard at the time that brought its total just around 5 dollars more than the I170 version, so i decided to splurge a little bit. I paid around $113 for the motherboard because Newegg had a promotional offer, combined with a special discount for veterans. The sales pricing was a major deciding factor on the brand of motherboard. The features on the motherboard also seemed great, and it included some features like USB 3.1, along with an optical jack for sound.
I chose the "Zalman CNPS8900 quiet" because I've had good experiences with other Zalman heatsinks. It turned out meeting the requirement that i wanted a quiet computer, and i felt that its design would help cool the motherboard components with the way that it blew air down and across the motherboard. The ML08B doesn't have any case fans, so this seemed like a good feature for the CPU cooler to come with. The bottom of the heatsink was actually not very flat though, so it was filed to be more level. Technically it exceeds the maximum measurements for the ML08B case, but it fit with a tiny bit of room to spare, and it was also able to clear the G.Skill Trident V RAM.
I wanted to stick to one video card, and originally i was going to go with a GTX 970, but saw a special ad on an EVGA GTX 980 FTW ACX 2.0 that was fairly comparable to the price of the GTX 970's. It was available as a refurbished unit on NewEgg and it currently runs great. The reason why I chose an EVGA is because forums seemed to have recommended the cooler they used for this particular case. The GPU seems to typically run at 70 degrees C while under load which seems okay. The fan monitor showed it was typically running around 30-40% of maximum speed.
For hard drives, I wanted to choose an M.2 because it would eliminate some cable clutter. The Samsung 950 pro seemed like it was one of the best performers so I chose to go with it. I also considered a Crucial MX200 because of its lower pricing, and from what reviews were saying, its resilience.
Since this was going to be a gaming PC, I was really interested in a G Sync monitor. I found an advertisement on the local craigslist for an Acer 27" monitor for $300. The monitor was in great condition, and still had its protective plastic on it, so out of circumstances I chose to go with it. It was also available new at the microcenter for around $400. The seller mentioned that the amount of light bleeding through the edges wasn't as bad as some other gaming monitors. At higher brightness it definitely is noticeable if I look for it, but typically I won't run a monitor that bright. The monitor is incredibly bright and i run it at 3/100 brightness.
Powering the computer didn't leave that many options. The two major considerations were Silverstone PSU's. The 500w and 600w units. I ended up going with the 500w unit because it had the 120mm fan, and since i wanted a quieter system, it seemed like a better option with the amount of power the PC would be drawing. The PSU is typically silent, but it makes a really quiet trotting sound when the fan is at its lowest RPM, otherwise it is either not running and completely silent, or the PSU is loaded and since its spinning faster then its lowest RPM, it doesn't create the trotting sound.
Something that i noticed is, since the case is made of metal, the build quality is great but, it also transfers quite a bit of heat from the graphics card. The top graphics card bay actually gets fairly warm to the touch and it could be a concern for some. There seems to be enough room to install 80mm fans in the top if I feel like modifying the case. It's possible I may install 2 exhaust fans up top by creating some vents. Or maybe possibly remove one 2.5 bay, and install a fan and create a duct to blow air onto the base of the GPU to help remove some of the hot air around the GPU. The area with the CPU, Motherboard, and PSU seem to be keeping fairly cool with this setup though.
Update 1 (11/16/2015): So I noticed that the graphics card will clock itself down to 1278mhz because it reaches 80C. I tried attaching 2 case fans to the outside of the case, and it didn't really assist with lowering the temperature because the EVGA ACX 2.0 GPU cooler did a more then ample job of drawing air in through the intake. The problem seemed to be getting the hot air out of the case because of the top exhaust vent being on the wrong side. When i remove the GPU case cover, the graphics card immediately clocks itself to 1410mhz, and also operates 5 degree's C cooler, while maintaining a 30% fan speed. There is enough room inside the case to install 3 80x15mm case fans over the GPU. Once some parts come in, i'll try using a circle saw to cut a 3x3" holes along the top, and attaching 3 80x15mm fans to the top so that the hot air can be exhausted out of the case. Will update with more pictures once I'm able to accomplish this.
Update 2 (11/18/2015): So 3 vents were added up top using evercool 80x15mm fans. I had to remove the tiny optical drive clip to fit that third fan in. Now when running games, it runs 1C hotter than removing the cover entirely, but it fixed the problem where the graphics card would get too hot and have to throttle down. Also, it runs quieter while gaming, but louder when idle. Maybe a third project will be to add a thermal switch to the graphics card to turn the fan on and of depending on a preset temperature. Photos have been added of the vents on top. They were cut using a circle saw, and the holes were either drilled, or filed to attach the fans and vent covers.
Update 3 (2/11/2016): A thermal switch was added in series with the 3 vent fans on top. Its a normally open switch that closes when it reaches 45 degree's, and it was insulated in shrink tubing, and placed so that it touches the back of the GPU where the chip would be. The fans now stay off until the GPU reaches a higher temperature, so it keeps the PC significantly quieter when just browsing the web, watching movies, etc.