System Builder Marathon, Dec. 2011: $1200 Enthusiast PC

CPU, Motherboard, And Cooler

CPU: AMD FX-6100

By now it’s no surprise that AMD’s new FX family doesn't shine particularly brightly against similarly-priced Intel parts. However, we held out hope. We wanted to exploit the fact that all of the FX chips boast unlocked multipliers, whereas Intel doesn't give you that flexibility. Our first choice for a threading-heavy benchmark suite was the eight-core FX-8120, but that model wasn't available yet when we placed our order. As a result, we had to settle on the FX-6100.

Read Customer Reviews of AMD's FX-6100

With a relatively low $160 asking price, this processor's six integer execution cores should be ample for gaming. From what we've seen so far, though, the Bulldozer architecture isn't as lithe there as we'd expected. It will be interesting to see how far it can go with a powerful CrossFire graphics setup.

Motherboard: Biostar TA990FXE

Read Customer Reviews of Biostar's TA990FXE

Biostar’s TA990FXE AM3+ board already has a great reputation for overclocking well, and it supports two graphics cards with full PCIe x16 bandwidth for each. The relatively low $130 asking price makes this fully-featured premium model an easy choice for this system build.

CPU Cooler: Xigmatek Gaia SD1283

Read Customer Reviews of Xigmatek's Gaia SD1283

We’re fans of Xigmatek’s relatively low-cost, powerful CPU cooling solutions. We decided to give the Gaia a try. With a 120 mm fan and three 8 mm heat pipes for a reasonable $30, this large cooler doesn’t disappoint.

  • Zero_
    Something is not right here :pfff: . But awesome review of a bulldozer rig. It fails, big time.

    Bring on $600! FX-4100? :kaola:
  • compton
    I understand that the SBM doesn't have the flexibility to utilize sales or rebates, but seriously, the Vertex Plus is neither a Vertex or a Plus. There are better options for less money even. I just bought several new Vertex and Vertex Turbos for less than a dollar per GB. If you're not dead-set on one particular drive, have flexibility and when and where the drive is purchased, you can do much better for $87. I'd rather take my chances with buying a used drive than purchase a new drive I know is a turkey. There is probably also a reason that Arrowana FW has yet to be released for older Indilinx controlled drives with 3xnm NAND.

  • Dacatak
    Bulldozer is dozing all right.
  • manu 11
    your hd, seagate 1tb is only 130$
    fx 6100, i was surprised that it was such a deep bottlencek.
    biostar ta 990fx?, you can get asrock extreme 4 with sli and xfire support for 110$

    overall, indeed you have taken a chance.

    i was in a mood to buy fx but wow, this changed my ming, i will now surely go with i5.
  • slicedtoad
    I was shocked an disappointed when I saw 'fx' on that first page, but now I've changed my mind.
    It's quantified the exceeding suck of bulldozer far better than the official bulldozer review.

    Maybe win8 will change everything, but I think it dubious.
  • gtx_560tiuser
    lol 2 fps in metro 2033...
  • king_maliken
    Just to point something out, should it not say in the graphs current $1200 PC and not current $1000?

    Also on the article, why try something out on a system builder marathon, the FX should of been tested in an other article, such as a review. It does not really matter that yes in fact the GPUs are much better but the CPU is holding them way back... Why cheap out on a motherboard? that Biostar TA990FXE from what I've read is not great, not good even.

    *Thought this was for people who didn't really know what to build, or how to build a computer? I wouldn't recommend this build.
  • pharoahhalfdead
    Awesome article. Despite people bashing AMD's new BD, this is actually a build that needed to be done. Alot of people are building systems around the new BD, and these benchmarks can be helpful, since just about all of the reviews are centered around the 8100 series. I decided to go with a Phenom 980 instead of the 8150 after reviews, but I never saw anythang about the 6100 series.

    I still want to see how it handles multi-tasking compared to Intel.
  • cleeve
    king_malikenWhy cheap out on a motherboard? that Biostar TA990FXE from what I've read is not great, not good even.
    Based on what? It was a fantastic overclocker and stable as hell.

    What is your beef with the board?
  • pharoahhalfdead
    The vast majority of people who criticize BD does not have a system that is anywhere near as fast a this or as fast as an i5-2500k. They are mainly running slower and ancient dual cores from years ago, with 8600GT video card, yet they judge any new product that comes out.

    Personally, I don't care who has the fastest processor, becuase I don't have the money to purchase every new cpu or video card that come out, but when I do upgrade, I just want it to be significantly faster than my previous build. 80% of the benchmarks posted are not programs that most of us even use in everyday life.