Help me build a budget system

I'm planning to build a new system -- my last one was homebuilt by my brother in lawabout 5-6 years ago, so it's time for something new. This new system will be my first time building one on my own. I need some advice, so I don't waste money, or underspend:

Part I: I would like to know what I can get for around $500 (not including OS or monitor). Basically, given this budget, where should I put my money for the best possible performance. For detail on my typical usage, see below.

Part II: Next, I'm wondering if it would be worth spending more -- up to about $750 or $800 approximately. Given the above ($500) system recommendations, what would change if you now had an $800 budget? And, what would I notice different about this machine on a day to day basis?


Here are my usage considerations:
-- I don't usually play games but would like the ability to do so. I wouldn't need the best gaming machine, just something that can handle a game well (so it's fun, not a hassle) if desired.
-- multiple programs and applications simultaneously (including firefox, Word, Excel, iTunes, Vegas Movie Studio, Picture Project, etc.)
-- storage for a lot of pictures and video...I have a 10 MP dSLR camera, so the pictures can get fairly large; I have kids, so I take a lot of photos.
-- would like to be able to edit and create DVDs from my home video footage.
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  1. Hi, for a $500 build it would not be a good idea. I would spend $700-$800 on a build with a q6600 (a quad core) since they are not about $180 with it a great value as you said you want to edit videos and run multiple applications.......quad core would be best choice for you then. Tell me exact amount of money you would like to spend and I will help you pick best bang-for-buck parts :)
  2. I would defently spend the extra money to get a q6600 system. You probably want to get atleast a 750gb Hard drive
    180 for CPU
    150 for hard drives
    80 Mobo
    150 for gpu
    80 for 4gigDDR2PC800
    p35 would be best bang for buck Mobo chipset

    so your lookin at atleast 640 and that isnt including case & PS so you might be lookin at 800 for a q6600.

    If you wanted to stay at 500 you would be giving up the quadcore for an overclocked pentium C2d, might save 100 bucks there, less hard drive space and a weaker GPU. For 800 bucks you would have a good multitasker that would be very good at games now and in the near future.


    Since it seems your main usage is image/video editing and multitasking the benefits of having a quadcore will be substantial in reduced processing time shaving minets from encoding times, and your environment will be much more responsive with mutliple windows/tasks running.
  3. Thanks. From my research so far, I kind of thought the q6600 or the e8400 would be really nice, but wasn't sure if they'd be overkill for what I do. Sounds like the Q6600 would do well with the multi-tasking I tend to do though.


    Also, I have a 160GB Western Digital ATA drive that I put in about a year ago. Would I be able to use this as a second drive? Seems like all the drives I see are SATA.
  4. buzillibyte said:
    Also, I have a 160GB Western Digital ATA drive that I put in about a year ago. Would I be able to use this as a second drive? Seems like all the drives I see are SATA.
    You can do that without a problem.
  5. From what your use would be i think a quadcore is the best choice for you
    CPU - 6600 quadcore $195
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115017
    Motherboard- a Gigabyte P35 board $75
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128084
    RAM - DDR2 800 2x2GB Mushkin $65 after rebate
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146731
    Case/power supply combo- Antec Sonata with Earthwatts 500w power supply at $100 ...leans more towards quiet rather than great cooling
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129024
    Hard Drive- western digital SATA 640GB- $90
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218
    DVD/CD burner- SATA Samsung with lightscribe $28
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151154

    That comes to about $550, without shipping or taxes (if applicable) Graphic card can be $97 after rebate for a solid HD3870
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131095
    to a better and faster HD4850 for $155 after rebate
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131111
  6. Excellent..thanks for these suggestions. I have a DVD/CD burner that I should be able to use, so that'll take it down another $25-30..
  7. Which is better case/PSU/Motherboard combination:

    1) Cost of $175 for the setup noted above by Dirtmountain (Antec Sonata III with PSU included, and a Gigabyte P35 board), or

    2) Cost of $220 for the ASUS P5K PRO LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard, Rosewill R6252-BK Screw-less Dual Fans ATX Mid Tower, and a CORSAIR 650W PSU --- Newegg has a combo deal (save $20) on the mobo and case, and the PSU is $80 after rebate.

    So, option 2 costs $45 more, but is the motherboard better? Also, I like the idea of having a seperate PSU. I think the Antec unit may be inseperable (?).
  8. Also, how's the performance/price for the HD3870 in contrast with the HD4850? Trying to determine if the extra cost will be worth it over the next few years. I plan to have this machine for a few years.
  9. Quote:
    -- multiple programs and applications simultaneously (including firefox, Word, Excel, iTunes, Vegas Movie Studio, Picture Project, etc.)
    -- storage for a lot of pictures and video...I have a 10 MP dSLR camera, so the pictures can get fairly large; I have kids, so I take a lot of photos.
    -- would like to be able to edit and create DVDs from my home video footage.
    Zero difference between 3870 and 4850.

    For gaming; This chart shows what is about the average difference in 3870 and 4850 performance
  10. buzillibyte said:
    Also, I like the idea of having a seperate PSU. I think the Antec unit may be inseperable (?).
    The Antec Earthwatts PSU is wholly seperate from the case and you can but it stand along on NewEgg
    [:wr2] It's a very good, high efficiency power supply.
  11. Starting new thread to solicit comments on my newegg public wish list -- see post here:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/254234-31-here-budget-system-newegg-public-list-changes
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