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

AMD's FX-6100 Gets Its Big Chance

System Builder Marathon, December 2011: The Articles

Here are links to each of the four articles in this month’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 $2400 Performance PC
Day 2: The $1200 Enthusiast PC
Day 3: The $600 Gaming PC
Day 4: Performance And Value, Dissected


We've already seen that Intel's Core i5-2500K is a great processor at this price point, and we've been using that model in our mid-range System Builder Marathon configuration since it was introduced. Needless to say, it hasn't disappointed us yet.

But we already know what Intel's Core i5-2500K is capable of achieving, and we know there are plenty of readers who want to see another option, if we're only cautiously hopeful about its potential.

With this round’s mid-range hardware budget increased by $200, we have an opportunity to see if AMD’s FX can exploit a powerful CrossFire-enabled graphics card configuration. Without further ado, here’s the parts list for the last middle-of-the-road SBM build of 2011:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
$1200 Enthusiast System Components
MotherboardBiostar TA990FXE Socket AM3+, AMD 990FX Northbridge$130
ProcessorAMD FX-61003.3 GHz (3.9 GHz Max Turbo Core), Hexa-Core, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache$160
CPU CoolerXigmatek Gaia SD1283$30
MemoryMushkin Enhanced Redline 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) 240-Pin DDR3-1600 Kit Dual-Channel Desktop Memory Kit$40
Graphics2 x Gigabyte Radeon HD 6950 1 GB  1 GB GDDR5$480
Hard DriveOCZ Vertex Plus 60 GB SATA II SSD 60 GB, SATA 3Gb/s$80
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar Black 750 GB 750 GB, 7200 RPM, 32 MB Cache SATA 3Gb/s$180
OpticalLite-On iHAS124-0424x DVD Burner$22
CaseRosewill Challenger-U3$50
PowerCorsair TX650 V2 650 W ATX12V, EPS12V, 80 PLUS-Certified$95
Row 10 - Cell 0 Total Cost$1267

As you can see, current pricing forces our total about $67 above the original $1200 budget. We have to thank skyrocketing hard drive prices for that, as the 750 GB Western Digital Black was closer to $60 when we placed our orders last month.

  • 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.