December 2012 System Builder Guide - AMD Budget System

Article Index
December 2012 System Builder Guide
AMD Budget System
High-Performance Machine

AMD System:

On the other side of the fence is AMD, and while they don't have the highest performing products anymore, they still have a lot to offer in terms of performance for the dollar.  We'll put together an AMD system that should compare with the Intel system in terms of price and see how that shapes up as well.

CPU AMD FX-6300 (3.5GHz) ~$139.99
Motherboard ASUS M5A97 2.0 ~$94.99
Video Card Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 ~$169.99
RAM Corsair Vengeance LP DDR3-1600 8GB Kit ~$41.99
HDD Seagate Barracude (1TB or 2TB) HDD ~$84.99 or $109.99
Case NZXT Source 210 Elite ~$49.99
PSU XFX Core Edition 550W ~$69.99

Build price ~$650

AMDIntel has some very good processors, but AMD also has a lot to offer gamers with a smaller budget.  Compared to the Intel system, the AMD system has slightly less powerful CPUs at higher clock speeds.  The FX-series does very well in multithreaded applications but runs a lot hotter due to higher power consumption.

For the AMD system, we picked up the FX-6300 Six-Core Piledriver CPU.  As is the case with other FX models, you have the ability to overclock with the unlocked multiplier.  This makes overclocking easy for the performance seeker.

Our motherboard choice is the ASUS M5A97 R2.0 that runs the AMD 970 chipset.  You get six SATA 6.0 Gbps ports, four slots of DDR3 memory, and up to four USB 3.0 ports.

Other components are identical to the Intel system. This means that the Radeon HD 7950 Boost graphics card, 8 GB Corsair Vengeance LP DDR3, mechanical Seagate Barracuda in 1 or 2TB and computer case NZXT Source 210 Elite.  The PSU is again from XFX and is the Core Ed. 550W number.  This should be powerful enough for overclocking and future modest upgrades.

On the last page, we'll put together a high-performance machine that should provide a very good gaming and general computing experience to those with a few more dollars to spend.