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I need a hand upgrading my PC, what should I do next?

Question asked by Kimir from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Computer Systems Content | Posted: Feb 18, 2013 3:36 am

I currently own:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K overclocked to 4.5GHz Quad-Core Processor
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master V8 69.7 CFM Rifle Bearing CPU Cooler
  • Motherboard: MSI P67-G45 (B3)
  • Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory
  • Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive
  • Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive
  • Storage: Corsair Force Series GT 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk
  • Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk
  • Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 6990 4GB Video Card
  • Case: NZXT Phantom (Black) ATX Full Tower Case
  • Power Supply: NZXT HALE 90 1000W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply
  • Optical Drive: Samsung SH-B123L/RSBP Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 Professional (OEM) (64-bit)
  • Keyboard: Razer Blackwidow Ultimate 2013 Wired Gaming Keyboard
  • Mouse: Razer DeathAdder Wired Optical Mouse
  • Monitors: SA350H x2
  • Other: Arctic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo


I plan on upgrading my motherboard to the ASUS Maximus V Formula Z77 for better OC of my 2600k, purchasing a single 6970 for Tri-fire, then possibly getting a premade liquid cooling system for my CPU.


If I do what I described above, will I see a significant performance boost? Is this a good decision, or should I sell my 6990, not purchase a 6970, and get another GPU?


Also, what liquid cooling system (premade) would you recommend (Swiftech 220) for overclocking 5 ghz, or would you stick to the Coolermaster V8?



Hi Kimir,


Nice system you have there! It already kicks enough ass, so the upgrade I'll suggest is quite tame. Sure, you could upgrade your motherboard or cooler and get a little bit more out of your CPU - but that's all - a little bit.




If you're after more gaming performance, upgrade your GPU. Sell your current GPU, which would get a couple of hundred dollars and yourself two new fast single-GPUs. Two Sapphire Radeon HD 7950s, or two new GeForce GTX 670s.


You'd see a near doubling in gaming frame rates, easily. I wouldn't bother upgrading your CPU until you're completely bottlenecked by your GPUs. You're already running a Core i7 at 4.5GHz - that's more than enough. Cranking up to 4.8-5GHz won't give you any gains at all in games from 4.5GHz.


Third-generation Core processors are of course better, and they will give you slightly better performance in everything (including games), but the investment would be better injected into your GPUs - in my opinion. If you were running a stock 2600K, then I'd suggest overclocking or maybe an upgrade - but you're already sitting on 4.5GHz.


Get some new GPUs! :)

I want to buy a new monitor, but would I need a new GPU if I bought a 120Hz monitor?

Question asked by Drugsh from India | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Displays & Projectors Content | Posted: Feb 15, 2013 1:49 am

I am looking for good 27-inch monitor for gaming and movies... since I'm using Sapphire's Radeon HD 7870 XT GPU, I am very confused between 60Hz or 120Hz monitors... but my real question is, can the HD 7870 XT provide 120 frames per second?


I can't afford a better GPU, so it really worth upgrading to a 120Hz monitor? Which monitor should I go for in both segments?



Hi Drugsh,


I'm a huge fan of 120Hz monitors, with four of the awesome monitors in my lab. Onto your question - yes, I think you should upgrade to a 120Hz monitor, but you won't get the full benefits of the monitor in most games. The monitor, overall, will be a huge jump from a 60Hz panel.




This is noticeable everywhere, from sliding windows around on your desktop, or moving your mouse cursor - the fluidity of a 120Hz monitor is unmatched by anything else on the market. Even those $1500+ huge 30-inch IPS-based monitors with 2560x1600 as their resolution.


Of course, in games, it helps even more - but you have to be achieving a minimum of 120 frames per second before any of the benefits are met to 100%. But, just because you can't reach 120 fps doesn't mean you won't tell a difference. I find even at 60-80 fps on my 120Hz monitor, it is smoother than a 60Hz panel.


So I would suggest buying a 120Hz monitor, specifically Samsung's S27A950D - I run this and I love it. You can always slot in a new GPU in the future, but for now you can just turn down some of the details to achieve 120 fps. In the games that you can't crank to 1080p and achieve 120 fps, you can reduce the resolution to something like 1280x720 and keep the details at medium-high to achieve high frame rates.


Watch this space, too, as we'll be bringing you some 120Hz content in the very near future.


Chris has commented saying that the Samsung S27A950D has been discontinued, which is weird as I purchased my nephew one just last week. So I'll change my recommendation to ASUS' VG278H monitor - another 27-inch, 120Hz-capable screen. Newegg sell this bad boy for $599.99.

Would my Mushkin Joule 700W PSU run Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 Vapor-X GPUs in CrossFire?

Question asked by Abood from Bahrain | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Cases, Cooling & PSU Content | Posted: Feb 14, 2013 4:24 am

Can the Mushkin Joule 700W run two Sapphire Radeon HD 5870s Vapor-X Edition on crossfire with an AMD Phenom 9950 BE and couple of Hard Drives ?

Hi Abood,


That's a good question, and something I think you'll be happy to know the answer to - yes, you should be fine. There's two 6-pin PCI-e power connectors required per GPU, with 75W through each connector gives us 300W. The board itself will provide 75W to the GPUs, so you're getting close to 450W there.




The rest of the system will use around 100-150W of power, so you should be fine. I don't know if you've already go one Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 Vapor-X GPU and are looking to get another, if this is the case, get yourself a HD 7770 and replace the 5870.


Your Mushkin Joule 700W PSU should be fine for either setup.


You can always CrossFire those GPUs down the track and they'll use less power, too.

I have a VisionTek Radeon HD 7850 clocked at 1GHz, if I want to CrossFire, does it need to run at the same speeds?

Question asked by Mark from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Feb 13, 2013 8:12 am

I have a Visiontek 7850HD clocked at 1000mhz. If I want to run in Crossfire mode with another 7850HD do the core clocks have to match?

Hi Mark,


Yes and no. It's better to have another GPU that is identical - mainly for aesthetics and clock speeds to be the same, but it doesn't need to be identical. If you choose to purchase another GPU that doesn't match your current VisionTek Radeon HD 7850 with 1GHz on the core clock speed.




If it doesn't match it, both GPUs will slow down to the slowest one. So, if you buy another HD 7850, and its core clock is say 950MHz, your original GPU at 1GHz will slow down to 950MHz.


I would suggest buying another VisionTek GPU, but if you can't - you should just be able to overclock the new GPU up to 1GHz to match your current GPU. Happy CrossFiring!

I'm looking to upgrade my system, can you offer some suggestions?

Question asked by Robert from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Computer Systems Content | Posted: Feb 12, 2013 4:08 am

Hello, I've been out of the component game for a while currently running the following setup and want to know if it's worth upgrading and any suggestions would be appreciated! Thank you!


  • ASUS Sabertooth X58 LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
  • Intel Core i7-950 Bloomfield 3.06GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor BX80601950
  • EVGA GTX 470
  • SSD for startup
  • 1TB for storage
  • 12 Gigs Corsair RAM

Hi Robert,


It really depends on what you're doing with your system, so we'll take it from two angles. First, if you're gaming, then I would suggest getting yourself some new GPUs. Maybe you could look at two Radeon HD 7970s, or you could get two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680s?




This would let you max out all games right now, no matter your setup - 1920x1080, 2560x1600, or even an EyeFinity or Surround Vision setup. Let's move onto the second option: CPU, motherboard and RAM upgrade.


Here I'd suggest two options - Intel's Core i7 3770K or the Core i7 3970X. The former is much cheaper, but the latter features a six-core design (12 threads with Hyper-Threading). If you're doing CPU intensive tasks like video editing, this would be the way I'd be going. Motherboard-wise, you just need to get yourself something that would match the CPU - and if you're moving to new GPUs, something a little higher-end.


I'd suggest Gigabyte's Z77X-UD4 TH, or X79-UP4 - both of these boards would kick ass in a new system. You could bring over your current RAM for the systems, but if you wanted some of that quad-channel goodness in the LGA 2011 system, you'd need to buy some new RAM.

If I upgrade my motherboard, will I see improvements to the frame rate in games?

Question asked by Shady from Egypt | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Motherboards Content | Posted: Feb 11, 2013 1:23 am

If I've changed my motherboard to a high end one, Will there be some improvement in frame-rates ?


If there are some tips please write it to me.


my PC

  • AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE ( Overclocked to 3.70 GHz )
  • Gigabyte GA-MA78LMT-S2 Motherboard
  • MSI R6970 Lightning ( Factory Overclocked )
  • Kingston Value-ram 4GB 1333 MHz
  • Western Digital HDD 160 GB 7200 RPM
  • Cougar 700CM Power Supply
  • Thermaltake Armor A60 Case
  • Samsung 900p LCD Monitor


Thank you.

Hi Shady,


I don't think you would see any improvements, as the motherboard doesn't really improve the overall power of your system. What I would suggest is, if you were to upgrade your motherboard - upgrade your CPU at the same time.




It's not worth investing more money into your system, because at the end of the day you're still constrained by your AMD CPU. Yes, it's overclocked, but it doesn't begin to compare with a mid-range Intel Core i5 processor, which you could buy for around $200, and a great motherboard for $100-$150.


This is more than you wanted to spend, I'm sure, but you could sell your current CPU and motherboard to contribute toward your upgrade. Doing this, would give you a huge change in your frame rates, and it would be visible in most games.


From here, the next option I would suggest is buying an SSD - this again will help your system feel much, much smoother. Your GPU is fine and won't need to be upgraded, the same goes for your RAM and PSU.

What's a good result for the new 3DMark? I'd like to know if my system is running well or not

Question asked by Ian from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Software Content | Posted: Feb 7, 2013 6:44 am

What is a decent 3DMark score for the new 3DMark? I'm just wondering if my system is decent or not.

Hi Ian,


There's no best or worst score in 3DMark, but you can find a close score to yours by visiting 3DMark's 'Results' site. There, you can search for systems with a particular CPU or GPU. From there, you can look at some results of a GPU or CPU close to, or exactly the same as yours.




This is the best way to see what results are close to yours, and whether your system is getting results that are similar (within 5-10% of those scores). Remember to check if they're running stock or overclocked CPU or GPU clocks, too!


If you find yourself not scoring near the compared results, I always suggest a fresh format and re-install of your operating system. This way you can get fresh drivers on, and wipe away any congestion on the system - kind of like a spring clean of your system.


Happy 3DMarking!

I'm after some new GPUs for my 2560x1440 gaming, help!

Question asked by Clint from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Feb 6, 2013 5:19 am

I currently have an i7 920 @ stock and tri-sli GTX-280's. What would help out gaming@2560x1440 the most from these options: get a good closed loop water cooler and OC the CPU to ~4GHZ and a single hd7970/gtx-680 or save the money from the water cooler leaving cpu @ stock, 2x hd7950's / 2x gtx-670's. My budget is around $650 and time frame for upgrading is going to be in April.

Hi Clint,


Definitely overclock your CPU, but whatever you do, do it on air and save all of the cash for some GPUs. Your biggest bottleneck is going to be the GPUs and the higher the resolution, the more GPU grunt you're going to require.




I would go down the route of some CrossFire AMD Radeon HD 7950s myself, after using them for some testing, they're incredible pieces of hardware for the money. You could check out something like Sapphire's VAPOR-X HD 7950 3GB OC with Boost. Two of these in CrossFire would be insane, and would give you 60fps minimum in any game out right now.


The other thing to remember is, you're only on a 60Hz screen. Any frames above 60fps are wasted, so ideally, you want to be maxing out at 60fps. Two Radeon HD 7950s would allow you to reach this with all eye candy cranked to maximum, anti-aliasing (AA) included.


Alternatively, you could push for the HD 7970, or overclock the 7950 itself and get yourself a Corsair H100 cooler, too. Newegg sell the Corsair H100 for $99. Then you could overclock your CPU, which would become the new bottleneck with the new GPU setup.

I'd like to know about the advantages of 120Hz monitors

Question asked by Bryan from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Displays & Projectors Content | Posted: Feb 5, 2013 5:09 am

Hello. :D


First this my Gaming PC:

  • Intel core i5 3570K
  • Gigabyte G1.Sniper M3 Z77
  • Corsair H80
  • 7870 or GTX 660 (coming soon on 2 weeks)
  • Samsung MV3V-4G3D/US DDR3 2x4GB 1600MHz
  • Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB
  • Cooler Master 690 II Advanced


I have a question about is necessary use 120Hz (1920x1080) monitors for more smooth movements and better peformance for gaming over 60 FPS without activate V-Sync.


And so if using their monitors improve on Full-HD movies. (all formats)


I seen on many forums but don't sure about buy a 120Hz monitor or 60Hz monitor and 60GB SSD.


PD: Not interested in using 3D, just a Full-HD monitor with more frequency than 60Hz.

Hi Bryan,


You'll be glad to hear that we'll be featuring many articles on 120Hz monitors here at TweakTown in the near future, as that is what I personally use at home. I have four of the bad boys on my desks, and it's very hard for me to use anything but 120Hz monitors now.




Fluidity in games is very important, especially for first-person shooters, but the biggest issue is achieving 120 frames per second to enjoy that smoothness. Sure, a 120Hz monitor is smoother by default than a 60Hz monitor, but you get absolute perfection - as close to a CRT as you can get - by getting a minimum of 120fps on a 120Hz-capable monitor.


Enabling V-Sync on a 60Hz monitor helps, but it doesn't even begin to come close to the fluidity of a true 120Hz monitor. I would definitely recommend getting a 120Hz monitor, but the GPU you have chosen won't be capable of pumping out 120fps at 1080p in most games like Battlefield 3, for example.


I personally run a Core i7 and a Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 OC, and if I overclock it and reduce my details down a bit in Battlefield 3, I can reach 100-120fps average. An HD 7850 or GTX 660 will require you to drop the resolution down to something like 1280x720, but you would hit 120fps pretty easily.


That's the problem with 120Hz monitors, they'll always have you buying new GPUs to keep up with game releases!

What's the best GPU for gaming at 1366x768?

Question asked by Rumy from Bangladesh | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Feb 4, 2013 3:26 am

Suggest me the best GPU for 1366x768 gaming.

Hi Rumy,


For gaming at 1366x768, I would suggest something like Sapphire's Radeon HD 7850 GPU. These bad boys can be acquired for less than $200, with NewEgg selling them for $169. The 1GB of on-board RAM will be enough to crank most games up to medium or even high detail at 1366x768.




So while you won't be gaming at Full HD resolutions, you'll be able to enjoy some high detail in your games with the GPU's extra unused bandwidth.

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