If you want to go carb will have to spend a bit more but it can be done. I love the look of the LS intake which I can reuse cheaper oem parts. This is my first ever engine build and I am having the time of my life. I went with a junkyard 5.3 Vortec iron block due to cheap price and great performance.
Yes cheap is definitely a relative term, but you can find these 4.8/5.3 complete for around $500 which ain't bad for 300-330 HP stock then I will literally add only a cam(stage 2) and be around 400 HP , I'd like to see you match that HP per $, you can't.
Lets see how this plays out on cheap build.
$150 used short block with good rings and flat tops melling oil pump.
Old chevy truck 1978 ish $500 pulled engine radiator and transmission had roller cam in it and RPM air gap.
Rebuilt 4 bolt 350 aluminum china heads new radiator multiple cores.
Sold truck for $550.
Cost 25 in gas to get it here.
$25 ahead. More if I sell the stuff I do not need.
$60 Regrind the roller cam to Hot cam specs but 110 LSA and exhaust lobe duration on both intake and exhaust.
Gaskets $70 cam button Not much.
25 each for complete vortec 906 heads with rocker covers and all and another 10 for crack warranty.
IOU for screw in studs and guide plates labor.. would have been 80. Yea I spent 80 more flowing them after I ported them.. spent less than 20 porting them.
OH yea Pac springs and retainers $190
Yea you can do it on the cheap if you get crafty.
Yes mine is adding up.