Here's my first AMD build. I use this mainly for gaming and programming and it does a good job at both. It could use an upgraded GPU for multi-monitor gaming, but still, definitely can't complain!
Before this I was using a Dell Dimension with an 8400GT and a 3GHz Pentium 3 with XP. I had that Dell forever and it never let me down but the graphics weren't enough. I overclocked that 8400 to its max but it could barely run Oblivion and forget about Skyrim. 3D modeling and video rendering were very tedious. After I decided I needed a new computer I checked out Youtube for some reviews and it seems like the majority of videos were recommending AMD products as a cheap way to upgrade a system. I had no experiences with anything AMD but I figured I could get a ~$600 rig and check it out. After going through review after review after review, I ended up with the current parts at about a $2000 price tag. For comparison I ran the Tomb Raider benchmark on the Dell I had at the lowest settings and got ~3 fps, using the same settings on the final AMD build it was ~310 fps. Many thanks to the commenters here, their recommendations were spot on. I've had this computer for about 6 months now and everything is good.
The Netgear wireless network adapter and the the Logitech Z506 was purchased at Best Buy. The Seagate external hard drive was purchased at Target. Everything else was purchased from Newegg.
AMD FX-8350: Though this processor holds back the physics scores in 3DMark, overall its an awesome processor. I was looking at the i7-4770k but I really wanted to try out AMD. The price difference (including motherboards) was about $300, not bad at all considering the performance gains. In my opinion the 9590 just seems like an overclocked 8350 so I didn't feel like the extra $100 was worth it. While rendering HD videos on the old Dell I would have to let it run overnight, with this I sit and wait a few minutes and its done. For the price you cannot go wrong with this processor! Definitely recommended if you want to go with AMD.
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO: This was recommended to me on this site and its perfect. Its huge but it keeps the CPU cool. I can vouch that this thing will fit in a stock Galaxy 01 case, however I did have to change up my case window a bit. The stock case side panel is expanded a couple centimeters just enough to pass over the cooler. The panel window I put in though had to be moved to the outside to pass over it. I planned on having the window on the inside of the panel so the edges wouldn't be visible but oh well. I had to install it 3 times because I wasn't paying attention. The first time I had the label upside down. Then I realized it would block a slot of RAM so I switched up the slots so I wouldn't have to reinstall it if I added more RAM. Third time was a charm.
Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3: No complaints here. I got it mainly because of the available USB 3.0 ports. It also provides power through USB after shutting the computer off so portables devices can charge constantly.
G.Skill Ripjaws X Series: Another excellent recommendation from this site. 8GB is plenty of RAM. I really only want more to fill up all the slots. I've ran a bunch of programs at once (Game software with level, IDE with multiple pages of code, 3D Modeling program with model, Web browser with multiple tabs, photo editor with multiple photos, and other stuff I may keep open) and it only uses 4GB of RAM, 2GB dedicated, and leaves 2GB free. I haven't checked while video rendering but that would probably be the only time when it gets filled up.
Crucial M500 240GB SSD: If you don't have an SSD, get one. I think $120 was a pretty good deal. Programs load with a quickness. Windows 8.1 loads faster than the bios, its ridiculous. 240 GB is not enough though. Its already filled up with programs and documents and maybe 3 games.
Seagate Barracuda 1TB: I don't really use this hard drive. I keep all programs on the SSD and my Steam folder is located on the 3TB external HD. Just recently I've set my security camera to record videos on it but it its only using 36MB so far. I live out in the woods, not much happens here. As to Seagate or Western Digital decisions, both are excellent brands. I've always outgrew my harddrives before they failed, with the exception of one but I transferred the data before it went out so no harm there.
MSI Radeon R9 290 4GB TWIN FROZR: Awesome video card. Before I got it I read about how R9 290's run hot and are loud but not this one. I usually keep it in silent mode where it clocks itself depending on the situation (37C; 300-480MHz at idle, ramps up when you start a game). There are also videos pointing out how MSI messed up the design by putting the power pins in backwards making it hard to remove cables, but I guess that got fixed that by the time I got mine. I purchased the MSI version because it was shorter than others, but I'm glad I did. The quality of the card itself is perfect, the software that comes with it is good, and every card I get from now on will probably be MSI. Graphics are incredible, in 1920x1080 just set every game to the highest settings (Except PhysX, turn that off in Metro Last Light!). Playing Far Cry 3 in 5964x1080 using Ultra settings is good, 30 fps isn't perfect but definitely playable. I was looking at the 770 or the 780TI, but this outperformed the 770 and I couldn't justify the $700 price for the 780TI vs its performance. There are some cons, not directly related to this card, but I do like NVIDIA's software better. With AMD's Catalyst Control Center sometimes I have to set something two or three times before it takes effect. For instance, with my TV I want it to use the RGB pixel format. I change it, a minute later it changes it too YCbCr automatically. I change it again, it changes back. I change it, restart the computer real quick and then the change is final. Sometimes I can get away with restarting it but its still a pain. Sometimes the scaling goes crazy. I like everything to be pixel for pixel, not scaling 640x480 to 800x600 for instance, and sometimes (rarely) it will change. Another issue is with my desktop icons. I don't bother organizing them anymore because they change positions randomly almost everytime I start the computer. These issues probably have to do more with Win 8.1 than with AMD and are rare but the icon problem is definitely annoying! For the moment: If I didn't have any card right now I would go with a 980.
Rosewill Galaxy-01 case: I'll start off with this: I like the way it looks. Unfortunately there are some problems with this case; the HDAudio cable was too short and I had to splice it to get it to reach without crossing over the motherboard. The covers for the PCIE slots have to be broke off and there's only one that can be replaced. The front fan takes up space in the hard drive bays. You have to have your hard drive stick out about an inch (maybe not possible with all graphics cards) or you have to keep your 3.5" HD on the bottom bay that is not blocked by the fan. There is only one mounting bracket for a 2.5" internal drive and the drive mounts on its side. I cut a hole in the side panel and added an acrylic window with a mount for a 140mm fan. I tried to drill some holes to act like a grate in front of the fan, but the plastic wanted to chip away so I used a Dremel to cut out a hole that matched the opening in the body of the fan. It looks cool, gets maximum airflow, but it can also suck in bugs or anything that comes near it. When I accidentally stuck my thumb in there I only cried for 20 minutes. (jk its harmless!) I have the front and side fans blowing in, and the top and back fans blowing out. It seems to work pretty well. The fan on the CPU cooler is pulling the air straight up into the fan on the top. I put auto trim around the window edges to hide them, I really wanted to have the window on the inside but the EVO needed to be about 1 centimeter shorter. I was thinking about heating up and rolling the tubing but I probably would have broke it. I still like the way it looks and the cable management is really nice except on the bottom of the case where I just let the cables lay as is. The side panels are hard to put in/take out and there is really not much room behind the motherboard to fit all the cables. I had to use both hands and feet to close the side panel properly. I hot glued the top fan's cable to the side of the case so it wouldn't be shown. I also heat shrinked black tubing around the white wires so they blend in. I'll add in some close up pictures when I upgrade the GPU. This thing is a dust/fingerprint magnet. I might 3D print an AMD logo and put it in the window.
EVGA 750W power supply: Semi-modular, pretty nice. For the price I paid for it, its perfect. I haven't done any power draw tests but it seems ok, though I would like to verify its power output. This is probably where I kinda messed up because 750 watts isn't enough to power future upgrades. I thought it would be, but for crossfire it will have to be replaced. It claims 750W RMS but I can't say for sure.
Asus Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer: This wasn't the most important part but I got it anyway. Personally I think optical drives should be a thing of the past and movies/games/installers should be stored on flash drives. I always hated having a game that didn't work because of a scratch. Well, this thing can copy/write any optical medium and its cheap.
Microsoft Windows 8.1: Once you get use to it I guess its ok, I'll leave it at that.
Acer H236HLbid: These monitors are just ok. The monitors sit slightly crooked to the right on their stand and they can only be tilted forward and back. There is no VESA mount so you have to get use to the monitors not lining up properly. One of them has a slightly different screen color than the other two and they can't be adjusted to match. There is a magnetic section with a paper clip molded onto the base. This paper clip is non-functional and can't be removed. Its like someone glued a paperclip to it as a joke. If you only get one you won't notice the poor quality control. I can't really recommend these monitors though. I got these for ~$400 but I think I could have got something better for ~$600.
Netgear WNA: Okay wireless network adapter. I recommend an internal wireless card though. And don't shop at Best Buy, they filter their reviews so their products get artificially boosted ratings.
Cooler Master CM Storm Devastator Gaming Bundle w/Optical Mouse: This is just a basic keyboard and mouse. The mouse scroll wheel doesn't always work as it should. For the price its ok though.
Rosewill RHTS-8206 headphones: Awesome 5.1 surround headphones with vibration. Vibration should be standard on all headphones.
Logitech Z506 speakers: I got these on sale at Best Buy for $60. You can't beat the price, the speakers are plenty loud for a computer and the bass is good too.
Seagate 3TB External Hard Drive: I keep my Steam Library on here and use it to backup my files.When I go to set up my other computer I can install everything from this drive and not have to download anything or keep transferring files back and forth. It does need an external power supply so you can't use it on the go.
Here's some benchmarks. I tried to use games that had real benchmarks but I also included Far Cry and Portal because they're popular (and awesome). Personally I prefer 40 fps+ but turning down settings or resolution is unacceptable. I'd rather wait for an upgrade before playing through Arma 3 or Far Cry 4. Note: These are all using Eyefinity, for reference Tomb Raider runs at 60 fps at 1920x1080.
5964x1080 Portal 2 - 60 fps Hitman Absolution - 37 fps Arma 2 - 29 fps Tomb Raider - 39.4 fps Sleeping Dogs - 32 fps Sniper 3 - 19.7 fps Far Cry 3 - ~30 fps Arma 3 - ~20 fps Far Cry 4 - ~25 fps
Note: These are the preset demo resolutions.
1920x1080 3DMark Fire Strike - 8202
1600x900 Unigine Heaven Extreme - 1645 65.3 fps
Bonus: If you're still reading check out this game I made for a game jam Enemy