Building an 8-core AMD FX system

Building an 8-core AMD FX system

Summary: What do you need to build an 8-core AMD FX system?

TOPICS: Processors

Now that AMD's 8-core FX Bulldozer processors based on the 'Zambezi' 32nm architecture are out, here's a quick run-through of how to build a system around AMD's latest silicon.

RelatedHow to: Stress test your new PC to shake out any faults

Note: As usual, I won't be recommending a case or peripherals ... there are too many possibilities, and personal choice/tastes are varied.

The processors

AMD kicked off the new lineup with a total of six FX processors:

Note: Speeds of the processors given in base/turbo/max turbo.

Additional note: Bold indicates CPUs available at launch.


  • FX-8150 - 3.6GHz/3.9GHz/4.2GHz - 125W TDP - 8MB L2
  • FX-8120 - 3.1GHz/3.4GHz/4.0GHz - 95W TDP - 8MB L2
  • FX-8100 - 2.8GHz/3.1GHz/3.7GHz - 95W TDP - 8MB L2


  • FX-6100 - 3.3GHz/3.6GHz/3.9GHz - 95W TDP - 6MB L2


  • FX-4170 - 4.2GHz/ - /4.3GHz - 125W TDP - 4MB L2
  • FX-4100 - 3.6GHz/3.7GHz/3.8GHz - 95W TDP - 4MB L2

So, if you want an 8-core system, you need either then FX-8150 which has a MSRP of $245, or the FX-8120  which has a MSRP of $205.

The rest of the components -->

The motherboard

To go with your new FX processor, you're also going to need 990-series motherboard.

Here are a selection for you to choose, along with ballpark pricing:

  • MSI 990XA-GD55 - $115
  • GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD3 - $145
  • MSI 990FXA-GD80 - $175
  • GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD5 - $190
  • ASUS Sabertooth 990FX with UEFI BIOS - $190
  • GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD7 - $235

I like the ASUS Sabretooth, mainly because it features UEFI, but also because it's a solid motherboard.


Since RAM is pretty cheap (you can pick up some really good deals if you know where to look) let's pack 16GB into this build.

I've gone with Patriot Extreme Performance 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) which you can pick up for around $99 if you shop around.

The Graphics Card

If you're putting together a gaming rig then you're going to need far more GPU horsepower than you would if you were building a general purpose system.

For gaming I'd go with something high-performance like a Radeon HD 6990 at around $700 (heck, stick two in there if you want!) or a HD Radeon 6970 (a more modest $350).

For a more general-purpose system, I'd go with a HD Radeon 6750 (around (100).

The Storage

If you want performance, then SSDs (Solid State Drives) are the way to go. The don't offer anywhere near the $/GB value that hard drives do, but the performance from even the cheapest SSD is spectacular.

A 120GB OCZ Solid 3 will set up back around $185, which is more than a 2TB hard drive would cost, but the performance from this is blazing.

Don't skimp on the storage, get an SSD! Install your OS and programs on this drive. If you want more storage, get a cheap 1TB hard drive like the Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EARX for $140.


The FX-8150 packs a lot of punch, so you're going to need a generous PSU (especially if you are pairing it with Radeon HD 6990, but you still don't need a mini nuclear power plant inside your PC.

Here I'm going with a CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 650W unit which retails for $95. If I was adding two graphics cards, I'd probably up this to the TX750 or even the TX850 just to be on the safe side.

The Total Cost

Let's look at the price list:

  • AMD FX-8150 - $245
  • ASUS Sabertooth 990FX with UEFI BIOS - $190
  • Patriot Extreme Performance 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 - $99
  • HD Radeon 6970 - $350 (keeping things modest!)
  • 120GB OCZ Solid 3 - $185
  • Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EARX - $140
  • CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 650W - $95

TOTAL = $1,304

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Topic: Processors

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  • Many apps broken with just 6 cores let alone 8.

    The current version of Firefox breaks with just 6 cores, either I7 or Phenom 2.
    • RE: Building an 8-core AMD FX system

      @arnyk@... then Mozilla needs to get its act together ...
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • RE: Building an 8-core AMD FX system

        @Adrian Kingsley-Hughes I can't find anything about this claim via Google. In fact, I did find many people who running the latest version of Firefox just fine on the 6-core AMD chip; I believe either the original poster is mistaken or may be experiencing problems that have nothing to do with core count. A software crash caused by an arbitrary number of cores doesn't even make sense.
    • RE: Building an 8-core AMD FX system

      I have a six core. No problems with FF or any other program.
  • RE: Building an 8-core AMD FX system

    Its almost like you are building a mini-stove. What do you plan to cook on it after you get this thing put together?
    • Obviously you don't remember the glory days of 2010 GTX 480's


      This is the whole point of purchasing a late model custom pcb with enhanced cooling features like the MSI twin Frozer II or ASUS DC II HD Radeon 6970 2GB. (Very nice build; the only safe bet for a computer case though for any of the AMD long cards is the Coolermaster Storm Enforcer.)
      Rob T.
    • RE: Building an 8-core AMD FX system

      had you tried one?
    • RE: Building an 8-core AMD FX system

      @LoverockDavidson_ the fastest 8 core is just a bit hotter than a light bulb and i have never seen anyone cook on anything on a bulb
      • How about this?


    • RE: Building an 8-core AMD FX system


      Do you have anything positive to say about anything? REALLY?
  • RE: Building an 8-core AMD FX system

    Good luck finding a FX-8150, they are sold out pretty much everywhere. Pisses me off because I really want one lol.
  • RE: Building an 8-core AMD FX system
  • RE: Building an 8-core AMD FX system

    I dunno, honestly the system just seams weak! I have yet to see a benchmark that says this is a good CPU.
    • Agreed

      @Peter Perry: Sadly AMD didn't deliver with the first release of this CPU. Hopefully they'll be able to significantly improve it as they refine it.
    • RE: Building an 8-core AMD FX system

      @Peter Perry I guess a world record benchmark doesn't count?
      • Hand picked, one off, special circumstances.

        @Bates: [i]I guess a world record benchmark doesn't count?[/i]

        Your guess would be irrelevant for the vast majority of users.
  • RE: Building an 8-core AMD FX system

    Intel still has not made their consumer level 8 core cpus yet. 8 cores are cool, but only people who will notice any difference are profesionals and content creators who use professional level video editing, CGI special effects, 3d modeling, or other software.

    Gamers don't need a 8-core system. A high end GPU is still needed for games. All they need is the fastest dual core CPU and the current top end Radeon or Geforce. The fastest Dual Core CPU is the i5 unless you talk mobile which would be i7 mobile cpu.

    While AMD and Intel fumble around with outdated x86 technology. ARM is doubling in speed every year. New Windows 8 will support ARM. ARM is already faster than the old computers from a few years back.

    ARM will be the defacto in the future.
    • RE: Building an 8-core AMD FX system

      8 cores (and more) are also critical to virtualization where the extra thread counts can help a great deal. I virtualize nearly everything these days. In Windows 7's case, it can actually run BETTER/faster in a VM than on native hardware with a modern processor (i7/PhenomII), so I stopped running it on native hardware and my Windows stability has also gone up. Unfortunately gaming options are still limited in a VM, so I dual boot my "gaming station"...

      ARM doesn't do virtualization well (yet), and porting games to it won't be easy either. With that said, the newer ARM procs will be great and even overkill processor wise for small/low power general purpose systems.
    • RE: Building an 8-core AMD FX system


      "ARM is already faster than the old computers from a few years back." Er, so are newer computers. That's a given, not a reason to think that Arm will be or should be in anyone's desktop in the near future.
  • RE: Building an 8-core AMD FX system

    my best friend's mother-in-law makes $72/hr on the laptop. She has been without a job for 9 months but last month her paycheck was $8712 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read about it on this web site