This is my first build. I'm planning to use it for photo/video editing, gaming, and screwing around on the internet when I have other responsibilities to take care of.
In short, it wasn't too difficult to build as I did almost nothing; had some OS issues that are now resolved; now that it is all set up it has a few kinks to work out (set up BT/mouse stutters sometimes/experiment with fan arrangement); runs cool and sorta quiet mostly; IGN 420/10 would build again.
TL;DR WARNING: Lots of words below
Build: Putting it all together wasn't too bad, I had help from my cousin who is a seasoned builder, although mounting the CPU cooler was like defusing a bomb. Also I managed to drop the MOBO at one point from an upright position on the desk to flat (like a 90° drop, not a high drop) but luckily it seems to have survived.
Cable Management: My cousin did it all and he did it pretty well. It seems to be good and the H440 is definitely a clean case but could use a little extra room at the back panel and near the power supply to make cable management easier.
Lighting: Lighting is dope. Got the NZXT Hue+ for some dank MLG rgb action. Had to mount the rear strip with the help of some duct-tape and the magnets that are part of the strips. The strip on the right side is mounted with the magnets/adhesive that are both part of the strip itself. The top and bottom strips are only magnetically mounted as they tend to stay in place. The H440 also has its own LED's: one at the top - lighting up the power button/one lighting up the NZXT logo on the PSU shroud/one on the back - acts as a utility light so you can see all the plugs without fiddling with a flashlight in low/no room lighting. NOTE: The rainbows in the pictures are not exactly as seen and the CAM software used to control the LED strips only has a rainbow preset that alternates around the case in a loop. You can however use the Custom tab to set the color for each individual LED and emulate the look of as if the rainbow spectrum preset has been paused, it will take a little time to adjust each light however. They could have made this more convenient than it is, but nonetheless it is possible.
Cooling/Noise: It runs pretty good temps. i7 6700k Skylake CPU runs around 23-28°C almost constantly but during gaming can hit about 50~60°C. GPU idles around 30~35°C and can hit about 65~70°C running GTA V. The fans aren't too loud and are pretty much inaudible with my apple earpods on, but I don't have a reference for fan noise so I can't tell if it counts as "silent" or "mildly loud", seems to maintain a constant noise level even during gaming so my idle fan speeds might actually be excessive right now. I have 2 top exhaust fans which are the stock 120mm NZXT fnV2 fans, the three static pressure 120mm Cougars are frontal intakes and the 140mm Cougar is a rear exhaust, although it is also SP so I may experiment with swapping that and the stock 140mm fnV2 exhaust. Also removed several HDD trays as I currently don't need them and it opens up more space behind the intake fanes.
POST/Startup: It POSTed on the first try but installing the OS was a pain. It was unable to recognize the boot USB and an external LG optical drive with an install disk for a good hour and we ended up having to pull an optical drive from my dad's PC and plugging it in inside the case, as the cable was too short to reach out and the fact that the H440 does not support internal optical drives. As you can see from one of the pictures above, it was a mere 2cm away from clipping the CPU fan and tearing it all up. In the end, it worked.
OS: I was happy because my cousin had an extra Win 7 Pro key but it turned out to be 32bit (blegh!) After some research I installed Windows Media Creation Tool (something like that) from Microsoft's website and created a Win 10 Pro 64bit file and did a clean install. I had some trouble getting it onto the SSD because of some (UEFI/MB something error - sorry I forgot what it was called) but resolved it by deleting the partitions that were created for Win 7 and formatting the drive. After that it installed fairly easily and I was able to activate it with the Win 7 Pro key, as Win 10 is a free upgrade. I was surprised how easy it was after the original headache. Personally I like Win 10 although there are some compatibly issues with certain programs, more on that later.
Storage: As recommended by every thread on the internet, I used the SSD as a boot drive and to store my main programs and games. The file viewer window was initially a mess but I was able to make the 1TB Western Digital HDD (D:) become the default storage drive for the main libraries by copying the libraries over to the (D:) drive>right clicking the original library>Properties>Location>and finally selecting the copy of the same library that was on the (D:) drive to be the new location. Sorry if that doesn't make sense, it's as clear as I could word it.
Network/Wireless/Bluetooth: I'm using ethernet as my main connection as it is blazing fast but I also installed a Wireless card (TP Link N900). I'm trying to install a different card for Bluetooth (so I can connect my PS4 controller wirelessly) but it requires an additional USB header on the MOBO which does not seem to exist. Will figure this out later.
Gaming: Runs Club Penguin on Ultra at 420fps so I'm pretty happy with it. Far Cry 3 would not launch initially, someone on this post suggested that it may be NZXT's Cam software interfering with U-Play and they were right. Launches every time now with no issue. Runs GTA V on almost max settings/1080p @ 60fps so the GTX 970 was definitely worth it.
Update 1 (4/23/2016): Removed the two stock 120mm fnV2 fans as top exhaust as I'm trying to achieve negative pressure and they are loud enough that it kind of defeats the purpose of having quiet Cougar fans. Considering 2 more 140mm fans as top intake instead. Moved the GTX970 to the top #1 PCIe slot as per everyone's request. Mounted my 2TB Seagate External HDD to the top using some duct-tape and labeled it Casey Neistat style. Looks better than it was before.
Update 2 (3/16/2020): Swapped the GTX 970 (great card) for the Asus ROG STRIX GTX 1080Ti 11GB when prices were relatively low in the Summer of 2017. Picked mine up for a mere $780 on Amazon on 7/4/2017. Have also added additional internal storage - a WD Black 5TB as well as a WD Black 6TB. The internals are getting a bit cramped and I'm considering getting a separate drive bay altogether so I can run multiple HDDs in RAID 1 for on site backup. Also using the Dell Gaming Monitor S2716DG (27" - 1440P - 144Hz) as my main display and my old trusty Asus MX279H (27" - 1080p - 60Hz) for my side monitor. This update is very late and probably nobody will read this but I figured I may as well document the changes on here anyway.