I am looking to build a mid-range ($1,000-$1,200), compact gaming rig on a micro-ATX platform. Looking for a board with the Z77 chipset. Plan to run an HD 7950 or GTX 670 connected via HDMI for A/V so the on-board audio doesn't matter; and will likely NOT SLI/Crossfire. Plan on an i5 (3570K) or i7 (3770K) processor, and will likely do some moderate overclocking of the CPU. Will likely splurge on a mid-size (~256 GB) SSD; haven't decided which one yet, maybe Samsung 840.
I have been reading up on a few candidate boards - Gigabyte G1.Sniper M3, Asus MAXIMUS V Gene, Asrock Z77 Extreme 4M.
Here is what I'm asking:
- Board recommendation (based on actual experience) - the ones I've listed or others; I'm not opposed to taking a different path
- Memory recommendation (again, based on actual experience, preferably with the board you recommend)
- Case recommendation - I think I like the Lian Li PC-V354 based on prior experience with their products, but would consider something in a similar form factor (note: I plan to put the PC in a living room media center cabinet).
Input welcome - appreciate responses based on actual experience with the product(s) you recommend. Thanks.