I'm happy to help but I just need a bit more information first.
- Do you already have your monitor/mouse/keyboard/OS?
- Would you prefer something understated and quiet or something with aggressive looks and windows/lights?
- Would you prefer a smaller mATX or mini ITX system or a standard ATX mid/full tower?
- Any brand preferences?
- Which games do you play and are you looking for ultra high settings with ultra high framerates or just something generally playable?
EDIT: Also, how likely are you to overclock at some point?
size and looks don't matter, that means if an open case (or caseless) is better performing then there we go.
I'm *NOT* a fan of experimental hardware like open cases under any circumstances - you don't want to trust your expensive components to something that's going to conduct static electricity and has the potential to be build-frying.
If you want a good ~$1600 - ~$1700 build try this:
Well the obvious choice for the CPU would be an i5. If you plan to overclock pretty heavily I'd get the 2500k, if you will just overclock a bit then I'd get the 3570K.
For the RAM I'd get 2 x 4GB. 1333Mhz for the i5-2500k/1600Mhz for the 3570K. Something without the tall heatsinks will be best so you can fit a nice big CPU cooler.
I'd get a Z77 motherboard, ATX would be best if size doesn't matter as it gives a bit more room for expansion.
I would stick with a single graphics card instead of going for an SLI/Crossfire setup. It means you can avoid the unnecessary heat, high power consumption and compatibility issues. The GTX 680 would be best but there are some supply problems with it at the moment so I'd grab the HD 7970 3GB.
I would go for this at your budget:
Intel Core i5-3570K (Doesn't overclock as well as Sandy Bridge but as a rule I would go with newer tech for things like native PCI-e 3.0, lower TDP and HD 4000 graphics.)
8GB G.Skill Ares 1600Mhz (2x4GB)
ASRock Z77 Pro3 LGA 1155
ASUS HD 7970 3GB
Intel 520 Series 120GB
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB
SeaSonic M12II 520W Modular PSU
Coolermaster HAF 922
Total - ~$1500 on Newegg
That cooler might seem a bit pricey but it's one of the best on the market so you can really push those overclocks and make up for the heat difference between Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge.
The SSD and PSU may seem a bit expensive too but they should also be extremely reliable. Seasonic and Intel have excellent reputations for PSU's and SSD's respectively.