Building sub-1000 AMD Gaming PC

I have been reading tons of forum topics here, and am to the point in my build plan where I need the communities advise, because I can't find the answers elsewhere (in the specific format I'm looking for), and am in need of specific help on some hard decisions. I've been researching this for over a month now, and am just trying to get the most for the least, etc. I've also realized that there is a difference between my needs and my wants, so I am basically looking for exacts on what will best fit my needs.

Before you ask, I am hard-set on AMD, so mentioning something like this:

Won't do me any good, because even if It might end up a little less than my overall build, I would rather go AMD. Primary purpose for this Rig is Schoolwork and Gaming. I also want to future-proof it as best as possible, so that IF either : Steamroller turns out to be an Intel killer AND/OR Someone somewhere finds a firmware/software/Windows makes a real AMD multi-core solution that solves the current problem with Bulldozer & Company, that I can either utilize/upgrade without gutting my whole rig.

Primary games played at this point will be: Planetside2, League of Legends, Mechwarrior Online, Borderlands 2.

Admittedly, ASUS themselves calls the Sabertooth990fx a harcore board for real enthusiasts who plan to overclock bigtime,which means it's likely overkill, but I LOVE their 5yr warranty on it, and all the goodies it is loaded with.

Also, I either won't be overclocking, or will only be doing a very mild overclock.

For the TL;DR for the QUESTIONS I have specifically, just skip the build and go to the bottom.

The main portion of my build that isn't likely to change is this:

COOLER MASTER RC-692A-KKN5 Black Steel body / Plastic + Mesh bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 89.99

Rosewill HIVE Series HIVE-750 750W Continuous @40°C, 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified, Modular Design, Single +12V Rail, ATX12V v2.31/EPS12V 89.99

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Profile Desktop Memory Model CML8GX3M2A1600C9 38.99

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM 19.99

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 Continuous Direct Contact 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with latest Intel ... 34.99

MSI N660 TF 2GD5 GeForce GTX 660 2GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card 229.99

**about 70-80$ on a 120gb SSD, such as a kingston SATA 3** 80.00

=========Main total (minus mobo and cpu) = 583.94 + 50 for misc. stuff, such as fans, thermogrease, etc. = 634======

ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX R2.0 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS 189.99

AMD FX-8120 Zambezi 3.1GHz Socket AM3+ 125W Eight-Core Desktop Processor FD8120FRGUBOX 159.99

Makes the total $984, well within my budget.

Now, I've been deadset on the Sabertooth, because everything I've seen puts ASUS as one of the top MOBO makers out there, and the Sabertooth includes things I probably don't need, but like the idea of, such as 10 temp sensors around the board, to let you monitor every aspect of your pc all the time. Admittedly, this is the R2.0 version, which is only a slight tweak(from what I can tell, just a few extra usb 3.0) from the original. With the original, I could do a combo that Newegg has for:

AMD FX-8120 Zambezi 3.1GHz Socket AM3+ 125W Eight-Core Desktop Processor FD8120FRGUBOX COMBO 329.98

Which makes the total 964$

Other options with the same board though, depending on the answer to the question of how much processor I REALLY need for Gaming/Web Browsing/Movie watching/Schoolwork/Email/etc. include:

AMD FX-6100 Zambezi 3.3GHz Socket AM3+ 95W Six-Core Desktop Processor FD6100WMGUSBX 291.98

Making the total 926$

AMD FX-4170 Zambezi 4.2GHz (4.3GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 125W Quad-Core Desktop Processor FD4170FRGUBOX 119.99

ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX R2.0 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS 189.99

Would make the total 944$ (Interestingly, more than the fx6100 would be)

BUT it gets even more complex, because Newegg is running a deal right now for :
Team Xtreem Dark Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model TXD38192M1600HC9DC-D (normally 38.99) FREE

I need to know how this memory compares, though, or if it's all basically the same quality, in which case my possible prices go to:
(with Sabertooth990fx R2.0)945
(Sabertooth990fx + fx8120)925
(Sabertooth990fx + fx6100)887
(Sabertooth990fx + fx4170)905

BUT, If I change the Motherboard down one product line with ASUS to the one they say is for *most* non-clockers, and use the
ASUS M5A99FX PRO R2.0 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS 154.99

It actually costs 5$ more THAN with the Sabertooth, because of the free ram deal is only on the sabertooth UNLESS I get the following combo
AMD FX-8120 Zambezi 3.1GHz Socket AM3+ 125W Eight-Core Desktop Processor FD8120FRGUBOX 294.98

Which would total 928.98(or exactly the same with the sabertooth, different ram, with the same ram it would be about 2 dollars less)

If I add other brands of motherboards into the equation, it gets messy, Tom's rated the Sabertooth as best in their shootout, among things they mentioned was that it was better built than any of the other contenders, with things positioned more intuitively, etc, making this prettymuch my board of choice, especially since right now it will save me on my build more than the difference between it and a lesser product.

*********************TOO LONG DIDN'T READ***********************
Right, so, onto my questions. and why I've posted this mess of build possibilities, as background.(Mind you, most of these comparison questions are things I've been googling, youtubing, and researching for over a week, and still haven't found a side-by-side comparison specific to my needs, only conjecture)

1.Of the FX-xxxx bulldozer chips, which is the best suited for gaming.(I assume anything that can handle gaming can handle most other things I'll throw at it, since I have been getting by with an Athlon 64xduo for 5+ years now, for everything BUT the gaming) Not just price, but performance.(for instance, if the fx-6100 and fx-4170 are going to give the same framerates etc, and the only difference is one's cheaper and the other has a higher clock speed, I'm ok with that being said)

2.Is Piledriver really going to be so much better, for gaming performance/experience, that I should hold off and then drop an extra $100+ for a "new + better" chip. I understand that with this build, we're probably parcing between 60-70fps etc, so unless it's giving handies for head shots, I doubt this is what I'll be doing.

3. Is this ram good quality-wise(reliable, won't burn out, etc.), and good enough performance-wise to handle what I'll be throwing at it without bottlenecking? Everything I've seen says that 16gb is a waste right now, and this leaves me room to upgrade in the future, while saving money now.

Team Xtreem Dark Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model TXD38192M1600HC9DC-D (normally 38.99) FREE

4.Is there a noticeable performance increase between the GTX-660 and GTX-660 ti to justify going FX-6100 build, so that I can drop an extra 70 dollars and get the Ti(and free borderlands 2 :)? Is the GK104 better than the GK106, or are they essentially identical, and I should ditch them for a :

XFX Double D FX-795A-TDJC Radeon HD 7950 3GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
(with sleeping dogs, a game I've never even heard of), because AMD Graphics cards and CPU's have some weird voodoo that makes them work better together/stops nvidia's from working as well.

So yeah, I'm kind of in need of help. I thank you in advance, for anyone who reads this stupidly long wall of text that I just spent the last 2 hours writing, and to anyone who has any worthwhile input to give.

Also, any alternative components that would be better for less would be welcomed. I went with specific things because of features they had, etc.(such as that PSU is highly rated on the Eggxpert Tiered Power Supply List and is modular(big plus for me), and that case has plenty of fan mounts(which the mobo has connectors for), grommets on the wire passthrus (it's the advance, the prev gen didn't have it), and has a decent front end, with status lights, reset button, etc. I take function over form, for the most part. Performance over pretty.
9 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about building 1000 gaming
  1. Was also considering this Case/PSU, which would save me 20$, but I don't know if it's worth losing a modular PSU, 100w of psu headroom, and my preferred case.

    CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 650W ATX12V v2.31/ EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC High Performance Power Supply
  2. The 7950 outperforms the 660 Ti in terms of gaming.
    Are you set on Bulldozer? The Phenom II x4 965 is still a bit better if it's a gaming rig.

    You don't need that much wattage, unless you're gonna SLI/Crossfire. Even then, a 700w would be recommended.
  3. I know I don't NEED that much wattage, but I was trying to leave myself a bit of headroom. From what I remember about electricity, if you're running at less than full load, you create less heat, less wear/tear, etc. Hence why I gave myself a 20amp cushion, for the inevitable better video card in another year or two.

    Is the difference between the 7950 and 660/660 ti enough to be actually noticeable, or simply benchmarkable (as in, the difference between 50 and 70 with dips below 40, or the difference between 90 and 100 fps , with no dips below 60?)

    Also, 7950 is even more (price and heat), and doesn't come with Borderlands 2.

    Not that a game is a necessary selling point, but I was a HUGE fan of the first on Xbox360, and I have friends who will be playing it on PC that I can play with.

    I was originally set on the gtx 660, the only reason the 660 ti even got consideration(besides the game) is because of the deal to save 40$ on ram, IF that particular brand/model of ram is worth the 40$ I'd save.
  4. I'd honestly wait for piledriver with it being not too far off.
  5. Best answer
    It's all on the matter of your preference at this point.
  6. Wow, nice bench gadget, never seen that before. And they have a similar one for cpu's

    Are these virtual/synthetic(as in, assumed) tests, or did they just benchmark everything, and database it?

    (edit:) Dangit. they don't carry data for anything but the fx8150. I'm kind of surprised that Tom, or anyone else for that matter, hasn't done a side-by-side shootout of all the Bulldozers against each other. Wonder if it's on purpose, or just oversight. Or considered bad form to take someone's products and compare them directly to each other.
  7. I doubt Anandtech would post assumed scores. :P So yes, it was benchmark'd.
    Hence, the unavailability of recently released GPUs.
  8. It brings about a curiosity, then. The FX-4170 is highest rated in the bunch by Tom's Hardware's Gaming CPU chart 2012., among the AMD offerings, and the FX6100 is second lowest, only to the FX-4100.

    Is there a reason for this? Is it all in the clock speed for gaming, or was there another reason for this? I only mention this specific match up, because the FX-6100, for my build, is actually 20$ cheaper. (The difference of a newegg combo package discount), but they are otherwise the same price.

    I'm not a cheapskate, but I'm a bit frugal, if I plan to upgrade to a Steamroller in a year(or three, depending on when it's released)
  9. Best answer selected by The3HolePuncher.
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