Help with 400$ Budget build?


Apr 8, 2009

Iv been reading this forum for a long time. And researching on the cheapest/yet most powerfull computer I can get my build for my first build, and was hoping to tap into some of your expertise!

I'll be using this computer primarily to produce/edit/multitrack music with high end soft DAW's such as CUbase SX4, utilizing some cpu intensive VST plugins and such (meaning i need alot of CPU power and ram, im guessing)

Over the past couple months iv been doing as much research as I can, and Have decided to go with DDR2 800 Ram instead of DDR3 (price to increase performance just isnt there from what I can tell)

So basically, heres the system That I'm thinking of so far. Im fairly confident its a pretty fast PC for the money, But, the things I lack most in knowledge about it chipset pro's and con's, North and South Bridge intricacies, and so forth, so hopefull someone will reposnd to my long, bloated post and help me out.

I'm also willing to go AMD, if I can get more performance out of the same price,etc.

Heres the Intel comp hardware im looking at:

-HEC 6C28BB8S Black Steel ATX Mid Tower - 34.99 (free Shipping)
-Q6600 Core 2 Quad - 189.99 (free shipping)
-ASRock G31M-S LGA 775 Intel G31 Micro ATX mobo
-hec HP585D RETAIL 585W ATX12V Power Supply - 29.99 (free shipping)
-4GB G.Skill DDR2 800 2x2GB 36.99 (free shipping)
-Western Digital Caviar 160GB - 41.99 (free ship, will expand later)

that brings my total to: $387.93 (from

Im looking for for approx 300% performance boost over my existing DELL pentium D 3.0 Ghz POS computer im using now.

I know I seem cheap, but I'm on a budget, (those of you with children will understand) So I'm trying to get best performance but as CHEAP as possible. Also, I have an IDE DVD/CD burner, should I go sata? also, of course I have a soundcard already.

here are the links from newegg:





Also, when I began my search for this computer, the price for a Q6600 (two months ago) was the same as a E8500, 189.00. Slowly the price has risen, and right now its at 219.00 on Anyone know the reason? was it underestimated or something? anyhow, thanks all for your future feedback and help!

The price of the Q6600 is going up because it's an old CPU that's being phased out. I wouldn't trust a system to an HEC PSU. This build comes in right at your $400 budget with better components:

Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 2.33GHz 4MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail $164.99

GIGABYTE GA-G41M-ES2L LGA 775 Intel G41 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $64.99

G.SKILL HK 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail $40.99

WESTERN DIGITAL WD3200AAKS 320GB SATA 7200 RPM 16MB Hard Drive $51.99

Antec NSK4480B Black 0.8mm cold-rolled steel construction ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 380W Power Supply - Retail $79.99

Total - $402.95

You should really consider a 64-bit OS so you can use all 4GB of RAM.

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English for System Builders 1pk DSP OEI DVD - OEM $99.99

A SATA DVD burner would be a good idea and are only about $25. I've had the best luck with LG and Samsung drives.


Apr 8, 2009

thanks for your response, man that was quick!

I have a couple question regarding your suggestions.

first, I was also looking at the E8500 3.16Ghz 6MB L2. But I'm guessing that the benefit of having 4 cores, even at almost 1ghz lower clock speed and only 4MB L2 (shared?) is better than the core2duo E8500, Since my audio programs are designed to utilize multi-core processors.

would I be correct in that assumption?

Also, are there any significant differences in the G.Skill Ram that you suggest over the G.Skill i suggested? I comared the two but couldnt spot anything except heatskink color. =)

and lastly (sorry for the barrage of questions but youre learning me good)

I dont want to run the power suppply at it max, and sometime in the future I plan on getting a better GPU card. Or id like the option to anyhow in case I do get money to splurge a little.
would the 380w power supply leave enough headroom for me to add a couple perfiferals such as a mid-range GPU and/or some extra case fans or PCI cards (possibly SD card reader, or 1394 ports).

Thanks again for your help!!

Yes, I would stick with the quad core CPU if your software is really optimized for multi-core CPU's.

The RAM that you chose doesn't have heatsinks and is CAS 5 instead of CAS 4. The CAS 4 RAM is faster.

The 380W PSU would power the system above without any problems, but wouldn't allow for much more than about a 4870 GPU. That was the only quality case/PSU I could find without going over budget.


Apr 8, 2009
Thanks again shortstuff! you have put my mind at ease. I keep picturing myself buying al this stuff and while puting it together, realizing I was way off.

Im sure you have helped many people out with your quick responses! thanks again.