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First Build ($400ish budget, home studio/audio production build)

by seedpo



Date Published

April 24, 2014

CPU Clock Rate



Finally got around to building a computer as I told myself I would for years. I have a 5+ year old HP laptop that has been on the fritz for quite some time. I mainly intend on using the new machine for audio production programs, so I mainly just wanted the computer to be capable of handling playback for dozens of individual audio tracks simultaneously. I do game on occasion however, and have tried maxing out graphics options on a few different MMOs/shooters and this build seems to be able to handle just about any game really well on medium to medium-high settings (though FPS noticeably lowers when I max out settings).

AMD A10-6800K 4.1GHz Quad-Core Processor Bought at MicroCenter for $129.99 in combination with the MOBO. MicroCenter was offering $40 off for CPU/MOBO combos and luckily I live near the only one in Michigan. I am quite pleased with the APU as I didn't want to break the bank on a graphics card (I don't game very often anymore).

ASUS A88XM-A Micro ATX FM2+ Also bought at MicroCenter (it was priced at $79.99 but I deduced the $40 off combo deal from the price for this). Easy installation (even for a noob) and good set-up/installation directions included (though I had a hell of a time with the I/O shield).

G. Skill Ares Series 8GB DDR3-1600 Bought off NewEgg with a free shipping promo they were running. In retrospect, I probably would've gotten higher RAM speed to assist the APU but all beginners make mistakes I guess. The RAM may be my one regret with this build.

Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Bought off NewEgg with free shipping and a $5 discount. Before anyone asks why I didn't go with a 1 TB HD, I have an external HD already and didn't really see the need for an additional 500 GB. At one point, I may regret it, but I highly doubt it with a 2 TB external HD already by my side.

Inwin Dragon Slayer MicroATX Mini Tower I bought this on MicroCenter with intentions of getting the Inwin GT1 for less, but they only had this Inwin model in stock. I am so very happy that the sales rep. suggested it because I love this case. It's sleek, the assembly was fairly easy, the built-in fans are practically silent, and it's designed for a Micro ATX motherboard making it ideal for my set up. If I had anything bad to say about the Dragon Slayer case, it'd be that InWin's instruction manual that came with it is an absolute joke (only two pages in English when there are probably 20-25 installation steps relevant to this case).

Corsair 430W ATX12V Also bought at MicroCenter and they were promoting a $20 rebate (originally $39.99). Easy installation. Solid PSU from what I've read, and I'd agree based on what I've seen of it thus far.

Asus DRW-24B1ST Optical Drive Bought at MicroCenter. Keeps quiet and does the job. No complaints.

TP-Link TL-WN881ND 802.11b/g/n PCI-Express x1 Bought at MicroCenter. Was going to route an ethernet cable through my ceiling (my computer is now in the basement) but I figured I'd like WiFi capabilities in the future. Works well and the wireless signal seldom dips below five bars. Stupid thing put me over $400 though >:(

Overview All-in-all, I am very pleased with this build and how much value you can get out of so little money! The computer runs so quietly that it's not even noticeable, even when I'm in a game or running a dozen programs. As I said, my one main regret is probably not spending a little more on the RAM, but oh well. With the OS and a new 21.5" Acer desktop monitor, the whole set up cost me right around $600, but it was money well spent.

If anyone has any questions, just leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer them! I'll try to get some benchmark results up here as well. I also suck royally at cable management seeing as how this is my first build, so please offer suggestions. Any feedback is appreciated.

Comments Sorted by:

zngga 1 Build 5 points 42 months ago

Them cables man! Good cable management isn't just for aesthetics, but also helps improve air flow (and dust control) in the case.

thunderdan602 1 Build 2 points 42 months ago

Nice over all build. I do agree with you sir the ram. Them cables! Any way you can run them behind the ready using those holes in the tray?

seedpo submitter 1 Build 2 points 42 months ago

Thanks man! Appreciate the response.

Do you (or anyone else commenting on or observing this thread) have any cable management guide or resource they could point me to? This is all relatively new to me and I knew the cable arrangement was a mess.

atomicruns 2 Builds 2 points 42 months ago

Check out this video - it's got some good tips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERhxmzQR6xA

Good luck! Hope this helps.

thunderdan602 1 Build 2 points 42 months ago

Please forgive my horrid typing. Doing my typing on my Galaxy Note 2. What I meant in my previous post was if you could run your cables behind the motherboard tray. This guy has some good tips for cable management:


Good luck and I hope you have successfully cleaning up your cables.

nerve 2 points 42 months ago

Nice ram, I planned on getting that. The only thing I would change on here is the storage, you can get 1tb for $50 also.

BloodAnimus 2 Builds 2 points 42 months ago

The epicness of Microcenter is strong with this build

Erolian 2 points 42 months ago

A build with a clear purpose. I like these kinds of build.


SleathX1 1 point 42 months ago

clean up those cables

xx116xx 3 Builds 1 point 42 months ago

Very nicely done! FANTASTIC job with sticking to the budget. But like everyone else is saying, fix them cables!

pegotico 2 Builds 1 point 41 months ago

you should check your motherboard manual but I think the ram should be installed on the 2 black slots or the 2 gold ones.

Damjan25 1 point 36 months ago

how's the cpu in adobe premiere ?