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System Builder Marathon, Q4 2012: $1,000 Enthusiast PC

FX-8350 Brings AMD Back To The Table

System Builder Marathon, December 2012: The Articles

Here are links to each of the four articles in this quarter’s System Builder Marathon (we’ll update them as each story is published). And remember, these systems are all being given away at the end of the marathon.

To enter the giveaway, please fill out this SurveyGizmo form, and be sure to read the complete rules before entering!

Day 1: The $500 Gaming PC
Day 2: The $1,000 Enthusiast PC
Day 3: The $2,000 Performance PC
Day 4: Performance And Value, Dissected

Introduction

I read through Chris' analysis of AMD's Vishera-based FX-8350 very carefully (AMD FX-8350 Review: Does Piledriver Fix Bulldozer's Flaws?) and was happy to see that the company at least had a viable alternative to Intel's Core i5-3570K on its hands.

Naturally, I wanted to know how an FX-based System Builder Marathon machine would compare to the box I built last quarter, which housed...a Core i5-3570K. So, I bought similar components this time around, except for the platform, and set off to figure out how our new benchmark suite would treat the competing architectures.

We know the FX-8350's performance can be inconsistent compared to the Core i5 due to its modular design. However, we've run enough tests to know that lightly-threaded workloads generally favor Intel, while more demanding applications go AMD's way. Although the Piledriver design does help the FX in games, we're expecting Intel to retain its advantage in that discipline.

$1,000 Enthusiast System Components
MotherboardGigabyte DA-970A-D3, Socket AM3+, AMD 970 Chipset$70
ProcessorAMD FX-8350 (Piledriver): 4 GHz Base Clock Rate, 4.3 GHz Maximum Turbo Core, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache$220
Heat SinkXigmatek Loki SD963 92 mm CPU Cooler$25
MemoryMushkin Enhanced Blackline: DDR3-1600, 2 x 4 GB (8 GB) Dual-Channel Desktop Memory Kit$50
GraphicsGigabyte GeForce GTX 670 GV-N670OC-2GD, 2 GB GDDR5$350
SSDOCZ Agility 3: 60 GB, SATA 6Gb/s$65
Hard DriveHitachi GST Deskstar 7K1000.C: 1 TB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB Cache, SATA 3Gb/s$90
OpticalLG GH24NS90 OEM: DVD Burner$19
CaseHEC Blitz$50
PowerCorsair CX600: 600 W, ATX12V, EPS12V, 80 PLUS-Certified$70
Total Cost$1,009

Since we ordered the parts for this build, some prices are up and others are down. Fortunately, the current $1,009 price tag is very close to the $1,000 target. Keep in mind that the previous configuration went $57 over budget, and the graphics card alone is down $50 since last quarter.

  • CaptainTom
    So a 600w PSU for one 670? Get a 500w, get kingston RAM that is $20 cheaper, a $50-$70 liquid cooler for the FX, and BOOM! More performance for the same price. I get you wanted to test a similar system, but just make that a different article...
    Reply
  • serhat359
    Could have used a 6 or 4-core FX and made more money for a better cpu cooler and case. You have already demonstrated that more than 4 cores aren't used in gaming and here you have an 8 core CPU...
    Reply
  • dkcomputer
    Thats like... The worst possible $1k build. wow
    Reply
  • boulbox
    @Serhat i agree with you but this would be a better all around build. I think he could have done better though
    Reply
  • dkcomputer
    Swap mobo for ASRock Z68 PRO3 GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 and processor for a sandybridge i5-2500. No overclocking needed.
    Reply
  • wolley74
    Dat hitachi HDD, you guys do know that Seagate Barracudas are around $70 for 64MB cache 1TB storage and SATA 6 right? and arguably are far more reliable
    Reply
  • aznshinobi
    Why wouldn't you drop down a bit to the FX-8320, that's about $40 saved, that could save you enough money to get the 7970 which clock for clock is better than the GTX 670.
    Reply
  • mouse24
    serhat359Could have used a 6 or 4-core FX and made more money for a better cpu cooler and case. You have already demonstrated that more than 4 cores aren't used in gaming and here you have an 8 core CPU...
    Its not 8 core, its 4 core with dual modules per core. Shared resources. Its why you see an increase in performance between a 4300 and an 8320
    Reply
  • DjEaZy
    http://valid.canardpc.com/2604796
    Reply
  • yyk71200
    mouse24Its not 8 core, its 4 core with dual modules per core. Shared resources. Its why you see an increase in performance between a 4300 and an 8320No, its other way around. It is 4 module cpu. Each module contains two integer cores (thus 8 cores total) and one FPU. It is more like reduced 8 core than full 8 core. Neverthles, Intel still is better.
    Reply