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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

Introduction

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:

$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
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.