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Helping with tech questions - TweakTown's Ask the Experts - Page 11


TweakTown's Ask the Experts


I've just upgraded my rig and want to get a new GPU, what card should I get?

Question asked by Scott from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Nov 8, 2012 3:46 am

So I just upgraded from a E8400 and 4 gigs of DDR2 ram to a i5-3570k and 16 gigs of DDR3-1600 ram and a new ASUS VS Series VS247H-P. I'm keeping the SSD and 550W power supply that I have in my case, but I'm thinking that I will need to upgrade my video card to maximize my rig's gaming potential. I'm a medical student on a poor-man's budget, so would it be worth upgrading from a EVGA GeForce GTX 460 Fermi? If so, what should I get?


Hi Scott,

 

Not knowing your exact budget will make it hard, but let's stick to around $200, shall we? For $200 you could get yourself a pretty decent graphics card, something that would be faster than your current EVGA GeForce GTX 460 card.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/7/5/75_06_i_ve_just_upgraded_my_rig_and_want_to_get_a_new_gpu_what_card_should_i_get.jpg

 

NewEgg offers EVGA's SuperClocked 2GB GeForce GTX 660 card for $229.99, alternatively, you can get a HIS Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition for $229.99.

 

Both cards would use less power, be quieter, and run much cooler than your Fermi architecture-based GPU. I hope this has helped your decision!

For 2560x1440 gaming, is a GeForce GTX 670 fast enough?

Question asked by Shah from Indonesia | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Nov 7, 2012 5:53 am

Is a GeForce GTX 670 enough for a good gaming experience at 2560x1440 or do I need to step up to a Radeon HD 7970 or higher?


Hi Shah,

 

At 2560x1440 (and higher) the amount of memory on the card becomes a valuable asset in most games, so starting from the 2GB GeForce GTX 670 is a good start. If you were to crank up the anti-aliasing to 8-16x, you might find that 2GB of RAM a bit restrictive.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/7/4/74_07_for_2560x1440_gaming_is_a_geforce_gtx_670_fast_enough.jpg

 

But, personally, I find at high resolutions like 2560x1440, the effects of anti-aliasing are not as strong as the game is being rendered at an already high resolution. So, a single GeForce GTX 670 should be absolutely fine for today's games. Tomorrow's games, that's a different question.

 

I would still recommend sticking to the single GTX 670, but maybe take a look at an overclocked card from ASUS or MSI - as their offerings are really kick ass. You could upgrade to the Radeon HD 7970 - but the performance increase isn't going to be that big, and NVIDIA (personally speaking) generally have better driver and game support.

 

On NewEgg's website, the ASUS 4GB GeForce GTX670 is only $40 more than the 2GB - so that could be another option for you.

 

But then I do have a soft spot for MSI's Twin Frozr range of cards, with the MSI 2GB GeForce GTX 670 Twin Frozr IV card just $389.99 - $30 less than the 2GB ASUS and $70 less than the 4GB ASUS card.

I'm having problems using the Facebook video calling feature on my Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone

Question asked by May Ann from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Mobile Devices Content | Posted: Nov 4, 2012 6:41 am

Just bought my tablet a week ago ,actually a Samsung Galaxy Note.. and I'm really getting a hard time on how to use the Facebook video calling.. is it really gonna work in here..? Help..


Hi May Ann,

 

On the Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Note, I would suggest downloading the proper Skype app to do your video-calling. I use multiple Android devices, and Skype is the best app to use as it's pretty much universal - it's on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/7/3/73_05_i_m_having_problems_using_the_facebook_video_calling_feature_on_my_samsung_galaxy_note_smartphone.jpg

 

Facebook partnered up with Skype for their video calling feature anyway, but Skype as a standalone app is much better, and easier.

 

And for you, someone who is having problems getting Facebook video calls to work, Skype is your perfect alternative. I personally use Skype on my Android device, to call my sister-in-law's iPhone, or my friends' Android-based phones.

 

Let me know how you go!

Which tablet should I buy? The fourth-gen iPad, or the Galaxy Note 10.1?

Question asked by Sanjay from Nigeria | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Mobile Devices Content | Posted: Nov 1, 2012 4:17 am

I want to buy either apple iPad 4 or Galaxy Note 10.1. I do not know which one is better, please guide.


Hi Sanjay,

 

This really is a hard question, as purchasing a tablet is a very personal decision. I'll answer this in two ways - first, hardware wise, the iPad is the better tablet. It sports a higher resolution "Retina" display at 2048x1536, compared to the 1280x800 display on the Note 10.1. Sure, the Note 10.1 has a quad-core processor, but there is tonnes of "bloatware" installed onto the tablet, slowing it down - unless you remove it.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/7/2/72_09_which_tablet_should_i_buy_the_fourth_gen_ipad_or_the_galaxy_note_10_1.jpg

 

The Galaxy Note 10.1 is more flexible in the way that it has expandable storage, the S Pen, and Android as its operating system. But in my review of it, it just felt very cheap and not up to standard. I think the iPad is the winner here, for sure.

 

The second part of this answer comes down to which OS you run on your smartphone - iOS (iPhone) or Android. If you're running Android, it might make more sense to grab the Note 10.1 - if you're an avid fan. Personally, I'm a huge fan of Android, and I still recommend getting the iPad. The iPad really is one of the best tablets on the market, but then we have one final part of this tablet puzzle - Google's Nexus 10.

 

I would wait for that, and then make your decision. If you need to buy it now, get the fourth-gen iPad, if you can wait a couple of weeks - grab the Nexus 10. The Nexus 10 sports a 2560x1600-pixel display, beating out the Retina display on the iPad. It also includes Android 4.2 which, in my opinion, is better than iOS 6 on the iPad.

What GPUs should I buy for a 5760x1080 @ 120Hz setup for Sim racing?

Question asked by James from United Kingdom (Great Britain) | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Oct 31, 2012 6:43 am

I'd like to be able to run 3 monitors at 5760x1080 and 120Hz for sim racing, but I can't work out what combination of gfx cards I will need to power this. As well as whether I will need any further adapters and If so what. Can you suggest a setup? I have no major brand preference and it would be on an I7 3820 and Asus P9X79 machine, although that can be changed if required.


Hi James,

 

It would just so happen that I run the same monitor setup, and let me tell you this - 120Hz is hard on any GPU. I would suggest looking at a minimum of 2-3 GPUs, but you don't necessarily need to go right up to the best GPUs on the market.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/7/1/71_03_what_gpus_should_i_buy_for_a_5760x1080_120hz_setup_for_sim_racing.jpg

 

I would suggest grabbing a handful of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670s, as they offer the best price/performance ratio right now, as well as great multi-monitor support and much better 120Hz support than AMD. Your motherboard supports quad-SLI, so you could even splurge and get four GTX 670s for some amazing frame rates.

 

The issue is, you'll want to achieve 120 frames per second minimum on those screens, to enjoy the fluidity of the 120Hz monitors. This will require some grunt, so it all comes down to how much you want to spend. I would look at getting 2 at first, minimum, if not three. See how the performance goes, and then buy the GPUs as you see fit.

 

You could just go all out and buy a 4-way GTX 670 setup, which is probably the best option. You'd be looking at around $369.99 per GeForce GTX 670 (MSI brand), which isn't too bad if you're looking to for at least three of them.

I currently use an AMD Radeon GPU, am I denying myself a better experience by not switching to NVIDIA?

Question asked by Owen from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Oct 31, 2012 2:59 am

I've been on the ATI/AMD side of the Graphics card battle for eight years. I now have the time to play games, >240 of every variety, for about three to four hours a day. Am I denying myself a better experience by not trying/switching to Nvidia?


Hi Owen,

 

This is actually a very good question, thanks for asking it. I could come at this in multiple ways, but I don't think there is much argument that there is something "missing" from not switching over to NVIDIA from AMD. NVIDIA doesn't really offer much different, unless you're talking about doing something more exotic, such as a multi-monitor setup.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/7/0/70_01_i_current_use_an_amd_radeon_gpu_am_i_denying_myself_a_better_experience_by_not_switching_to_nvidia.jpg

 

NVIDIA do have PhysX, but PhysX supported games are few and far between. Even when they do have support built in, it's not like the entire game world changes that much to the point of "I must own an NVIDIA GPU, right now!"

 

I personally think NVIDIA's multi-monitor tech is better, I've had a much simpler time setting that up and running it than I ever did with my Radeon GPU setups, but this changes setup to setup. It would really depend on the setup you've got, and which GPU. You would probably benefit upgrading to an NVIDIA card, as they offer some great price/performance ratios right now.

HDMI audio output not working with fresh install of Windows 8 and Intel HD graphics, please help!

Question asked by Jamie from United Kingdom (Great Britain) | Answered by Cameron Wilmot | Audio, Sound & Speakers Content | Posted: Oct 30, 2012 6:19 pm

I've just got done installing and setting up Windows 8 only to find that I'm not hearing any sound from my PC via HDMI output. I can see the audio devices in the Sound section under Control Panel, but it's still not working. Can you help?


Hi Jamie,

 

I actually experienced the exact same issue with my Windows 8 install on an ASRock CoreHT 252B Mini PC, which acts as my HTPC.

 

Probably the same or similar as you, I'm outputting both video and audio over HDMI to my amplifier and 5.1 speaker system. I was under the impression that Windows 8 installed the drivers properly for the Intel HD 3000 graphics just fine as everything appeared to be working as it should, at least on the video display side of things.

 

It wasn't until I ventured into the Device Manager (Control Panel, System, Device Manager) that I noticed one of the two items listed under "Sound, video and game controllers" had an installation error. It turns out that the drivers that ship with Windows 8 get the Intel HD graphics up and running just fine, but not the HDMI audio part. I was scratching my head for a while as I was replacing audio drivers for a while, until I remembered that it may be an issue with the graphics side, as it handles HDMI audio output.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/6/9/69_1_hdmi_audio_output_not_working_with_fresh_install_of_windows_8_and_intel_hd_graphics_please_help.png

 

In the end it was a quick fix to get everything up and running. I went over to the Intel website, hoping to find a newer Windows 8 driver for my system. I was in luck. Head on over to the Intel Download Center and find your product by category. In my case of the ASRock 252B Mini PC that includes Intel HD Graphics 3000 GPU. So, I selected the first category as "Graphics", the product line as "Desktop graphics drivers", and the product name as "2nd Generation Intel Core Processors with Intel HD Graphics 3000 / 2000". Of course, you should select your driver depending on your system specs. Once you've done that click "Find", and on the next page select Windows 8 at the bottom of the operating system list - make sure you select the right version, 32-bit or 64-bit. Then just click on the link below to download either the zip version or executable version, then download and install the driver.

 

After a reboot, you should be up and running. You can confirm this by heading back to the Device Manager to ensure that the error for the item under "Sound, video and game controllers", and you'll notice now too that it has a new name, such as "Intel HD Audio" or similair. Also make sure that your sound card / audio drivers are installed correctly as well. If you still do not have sound from your system, head into the Control Panel, then "Sound", and under the "Playback" tab make sure you have the correct device selected as the device playback device, as you may have changed it. You can then click on "Configure" at the bottom with the device selected to configure things such as how many speakers you have and more.

 

In this case we covered the issue with Intel HD Graphics, but a similar process of course with different drivers should also work if your system uses an AMD Radeon or NVIDIA GEFORCE GPU / video card, and has an issue with those different vendor drivers.

How do I activate Windows 8 with my TechNet MSDN key, or change my key?

Question asked by Julian from Canada | Answered by Cameron Wilmot | Software Content | Posted: Oct 30, 2012 5:36 pm

I managed to download my Windows 8 Pro ISO from my MSDN TechNet account, but now that I have the shiny new OS installed, how do I activate it with my MSDN key?


Hi Julian,

 

Another good question regarding Microsoft's latest operating system, and I can answer it for you.

 

Once you have got done generating your Windows 8 Pro key on the MSDN website, copy it and either keep it copied, or save it into a text file or something similar.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/6/8/68_1_how_do_i_activate_windows_8_with_my_technet_msdn_key_or_change_my_key.png

 

Now in front of your Windows 8 computer, go to the Start Screen / Metro screen and type "cmd", and it will bring up an app list with "Command Prompt" as most likely the only listed program. Right click on it, and click "Run as administrator" at the bottom of the screen. This will open up a black screen, the command prompt, as you can see below.

 

Now it's just a matter of copying or typing in the following, and then press enter:

 

slmgr.vbs -ipk 00000-00000-00000-00000-00000

 

"00000-00000-00000-00000-00000" should be replaced with your actual Windows 8 key. That process should complete fairly quickly, only a few seconds. Next up there is one final command we need to enter, and that is:

 

slmgr.vbs -ato

 

[img]2[/img]

 

Again press enter to execute the command. Now Windows 8 is activated with your MSDN TechNet key. Some users have reported that you need to restart your system for the activation to come into effect, but during our testing, we didn't need to reboot.

How do I install Windows 8 from a USB pen drive / flash drive?

Question asked by Bobby from Australia | Answered by Cameron Wilmot | Software Content | Posted: Oct 30, 2012 4:57 pm

So, I have got my copy of Windows 8 from my TechNet MSDN account in the form of an ISO file, but I want to know how to go about installing from a pen drive. Please help!


Hi Bobby,

 

Thanks for your question! We're glad you sent in this question as it's something I tried (and succeed) doing just a couple of days ago on one of our TweakTown test systems, and it's going to be handy as we see more and more systems go on sale without optical drives. All you need is around 15 - 30 minutes depending on the speed of your computer, and a flash drive with at least 4GB of capacity. Keep in mind that the contents of the pen drive will be removed, so backup any important data on it first.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/6/7/67_1_how_do_i_install_windows_8_from_a_usb_pen_drive_flash_drive.png

 

The process is actually quite simple, thanks to a program created by Microsoft called Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool. Please don't let the "Windows 7" name in the program confuse you, this tool works just fine with Windows 8 as well. Let's start by downloading it at this link.

 

Now once you've downloaded this tool you will want to install it, and it will create a shortcut to it on your desktop. Open the program, and the first thing you need to do is click 'Browse' and select your Windows 8 ISO file. Now just click 'Open'. And then click 'Next'.

 

In Step 2 of 4 you need to choose the media type, and in our case of creating a Windows 8 bootable pen drive, select 'USB device'. Now in Step 3 of 4 you need to select the drive. If you haven't done so already, plug the pen drive into a spare USB port on your PC and select the drive from the pull down menu. Once you have made sure you have selected the correct drive, click 'Begin copying'.

 

If the drive is not already empty, click 'Erase USB Device' if you asked - this will remove all data from the drive. Next we are up to Step 4 of 4 and this is where the drive is made bootable and the contents of the Windows 8 ISO are copied to the flash drive. This can anywhere from 10 - 30 minutes, just let it go and don't touch anything. Also, don't be concerned if the counter stays at a number for a long time (such as 91%), it takes time to finish. Once the process is finished the next screen should say that the backup was completed, and then you have your Windows 8 bootable install drive ready to go.

 

You will need to make sure that your computer is set to boot from a USB drive in order for the Windows 8 installer to begin when you restart your computer.

 

Keep in mind you can also use one of your favourite burning tools such as PowerISO to create an ISO image of your Windows 8 DVD. It's much quicker installing Windows 8 from a USB device - as long as it's a mildly new pen drive with good read and write speeds.

I want to upgrade my Tri-SLI GeForce GTX 470s and run 5760x1080 - what should I buy?

Question asked by Justin from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Oct 24, 2012 6:51 am

I have Tri-SLI GTX 470s and game at 5760x1080. What would be the best upgrade. I don't care about AMD vs NVIDIA, whatever is better I'll run.


Hi Justin,

 

Your GPU setup is quite powerful now, and I'm sure those reading this will be wishing that your Tri-SLI GeForce GTX 470 setup was theirs. For you, an upgrade is definitely a good path to get those frame rates up on your triple-monitor setup.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/6/6/66_06_i_want_to_upgrade_my_tri_sli_geforce_gtx_470s_and_run_5760x1080_what_should_i_buy.jpg

 

I'd suggest getting three GeForce GTX 670s, as you'd get a great price/performance ratio upgrade from them. You should see a great increase per GPU, and as a whole, a huge upgrade. I would say you should expect 50% or more in performance increases, as well as decreases in power consumption, heat output and noise.

 

The GTX 670s are great, and three of them would be quite the setup.

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