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Red Team rocking: Build the ultimate AMD gaming PC

Marco Chiappetta | Oct. 31, 2014
Dollar for dollar, there's still a strong argument to be made for AMD processors.

The process is certainly more complex than snapping an air cooler in place, but the assembly looks nice and clean when finished. It's also much sturdier than most air coolers and won't jostle out of place when moving the system.

The Corsair Graphite 780T also had some funky 2.5-inch drive mounts that required installing the SSD vertically, adjacent to the motherboard tray. It was a theoretically simple matter of mounting the drive to a tray that snaps into place, but the positioning was somewhat unique and forced us to route cables differently than usual.

Other than that, the build was pretty standard fare. The Corsair Graphite 780T was spacious and had a multitude of areas to route and tie-down cables, so assembling this one and making it look good was relatively simple.

The end result
We used a handful of readily available benchmarks to quantify the performance of our AMD FX 9590-based rig.

In the 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme benchmark, our system put up a very strong score of 4,995, which was higher than 63 percent of the systems in Futuremark's database. In the Unigine Heaven benchmark (v4.0), with Ultra quality settings at a resolution of 2560x1600 with 4X anti-aliasing and maximum tessellation enabled, the system scored 845 (with an average frame rate of 33.5 FPS)--another strong showing for a single-GPU setup. In the heavily threaded Cinebench R15 benchmark, the system put up 94.44 frames per second in the OpenGL test and scored a decent 698 points in the multi-threaded CPU test. In terms of overall system performance, our AMD FX-9590 build scored 5,547 PCMarks with the latest build of PCMark 7, and its storage score was a speedy 5,296.

We should also mention power consumption, considering the FX-9590 is a 220W CPU and its power use and heat output may be a concern for some of you. While idling at the Windows desktop, this system pulled a relatively modest 80 watts from the wall. If we let the GPU go to sleep (with the monitor dimmed), that idle number dropped to only 69 watts. Under stress, the effects of the FX-9590 are apparent: The system pulled 338 watts with the processor under a full load, and that's not even factoring in the Radeon card's power draw.

With a CPU like the FX-9590 at the heart of this system, you may assume it'll be fairly loud--but that's far from the case. The Corsair Graphite 780T and 750HXi combo are nice and quiet, especially with the case's fans set to their lowest speed.

Benchmarks tell part of this system's story, but the user experience matters, too. Quite frankly, I was pleasantly surprised by this build's performance. Intel has been giving AMD processors a drubbing in terms of single-threaded performance, IPC, and multi-threaded performance for years now. The scales have tipped so far in Intel's favor that lower-clocked, quad-core Intel processors can often outpace octa-core AMD processors in the vast majority of benchmarks, and the Intel processors consume less power too.


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