Not strictly a GPU question, but I didn't know where else to ask.
Which setup is better for gaming, and which is more future-proof? (I'm not a hardcore gamer and I'm on a tight budget)
AMD A8-3850 APU + Radeon HD 6570 1GB
AMD Phenom II X6 1090T BE/1100T BE + GeForce 9800 GT 512MB (power-saver edition)
The 3850 is about $30 cheaper than the 1090 and about $50 than the 1100 that I'm looking at (which isn't an issue if the performance is superior). I already own the 9800 GT.
Most benchmarks I've looked at have the two graphics cards pretty close (but I don't know which categories are most important to look at). I would guess that the 9800 is slightly more capable, but I'm not sure, so help me out here! Also, does the 6570 being part of the APU benefit anyway in performance? I also read that the Nvidia 9000-series is not compatible with DX11 though while the 6000-series from ATI is. Is this important?
I dont know why you think you need 2 video cards. But the first one is integrated and will not work with the 6570
You dont really need more than a 4 core for at least another 4-6 years (I have no clue why they are really even pushing away dual cores. They run just fine still)
But video card wise. You need a video card with 1gb vram to run at a 1080p display games for 3+ years (on medium to low settings)
STAY AWAY FROM THE APU SOLUTION IF YOU ARE A GAMER!
The APU is a CPU+GPU. If you add a second card you only have ONE choice. You may choose from a couple but if they don't match you get SEVERE micro-stutter (see the article at Tomshardware). Even if it matches exactly the onboard graphics you still get micro-stutter.
And that is the ONLY card you'll ever get to choose from because the integration of the CPU and GPU requires the graphics portion never be off so you can't simply add a different graphics card and shut off the onboard graphics like a normal motherboard.
There's a small benefit in efficiency to having an APU (great for laptops which aren't upgradable anyway), but on a desktop the only reason I'd get this is if I was a non-gamer.
Stick with the traditional method of Motherboard + CPU + addon graphics card.