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I have a Z77-based motherboard and want to install 32GB of 2400MHz RAM, should I buy 2 x 16GB kits?

Question asked by Sinclair from United Kingdom (Great Britain) | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | RAM Content | Posted: Jan 8, 2013 3:10 am

I have a Z77 motherboard and ivy bridge i7 processor and would like to make use of it's full potential by fitting 32gb RAM. As the Z77 only uses Dual Channel RAM I am finding it very hard to find a set of 4 x 8GB 2400mhz dual channel RAM modules. Would it work it I bought 2 sets of 2 x 8gb 2400mhz Dual Channle kits and fitted them both?

Hi Sinclair,


Definitely - go for two 16GB kits of 2400MHz DDR3 RAM - that will be the best bet. Finding a 32GB kit would result in you buying a quad-channel kit - which would work - but would be more expensive than buying two 16GB kits.




You can get something like Corsair's Vengeance 16GB DDR3 2400Mhz (CMD16GX3M2A2400C10) for 198.29 pounds from Scan Computers.


Two of these kits would be some seriously slick RAM for any PC.

What PSU would be needed for two ASUS Radeon HD 7970 DirectCU II GPUs?

Question asked by Vincent from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Cases, Cooling & PSU Content | Posted: Jan 7, 2013 9:10 am

I have two ASUS 7970 DC-II cards, How large PSU is need for CrossFire?

Hi Vincent,


Each ASUS Radeon HD 7970 DirectCU II GPU is going to use, at a maximum, of around 300W each. So using two of them in CrossFire is going to use around 600W just for the GPUs - without taking into consideration the rest of your setup.




I would suggest something like an 850W or even 1000W PSU to be safe. You won't need, or require that much power - but it's always better to have more than not enough. Any brand name PSU would do, but I'm a big fan of Corsair's range of PSUs, so you could go for something like the Corsair AX860, or the HX1050.


NewEgg sell the AX860 for $199.99 and the AX1200 will set you back $299.99.


If I had to make the decision for you - I'd go with the AX1200, only because I'd want to cover myself for future upgrades. That way, you are pretty much future-proof for any next-gen GPU action.

Should I get an Intel Core i5 3570K now, or wait for the Haswell-based chips to arrive?

Question asked by Bryan from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs Content | Posted: Jan 6, 2013 12:09 am

Hello to everybody.


I have a question about if buy an Intel core i5 3570K Ivy Bridge (with an ASRock Z77 Extreme6) or wait for an possbile Intel core i5 4570K Haswell (and an hypothetical Z87 motherboard).


I love the CPU overclock and performance but i don't know which processor buy.

Hi Bryan,


It would really depend on how patient you are and just how much work you're doing with the CPU. If you're a gamer, you're not going to notice a huge change in performance between the current-gen Core i5 and the next-gen Core i5.




Yes, the Haswell-based processors will definitely be better, but that depends on how they're being used. CPU intensive applications will definitely show a performance increase, but it also comes down to price/performance ratios.


A Haswell upgrade might cost hundreds of dollars more than the current Z77 motherboard & Core i5 3570K processor would today. You'll have to account for that when making your decision. I would suggest getting the current hardware, and letting Haswell unveil itself and show just how much more performance is included.


The money saved could go toward an SSD if you don't have one already which would make a huge difference in overall performance.

Should I wait for the PlayStation 4, or grab a PS3 now?

Question asked by Saji from Indonesia | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Gaming Content | Posted: Dec 31, 2012 3:58 am

Should I wait for the PS4 or buy a PS3 now?



We should hopefully hear about the PlayStation 4 at E3 which is held in June next year. If Sony do announce the PS4 at E3, and release it a few months after E3, we're only 6-9 months away from next-gen consoles. If you haven't already bought a PS3, I would wait it out.




That's my opinion - as it'll be the latest and greatest console from Sony. But, the PS3 has hundreds and hundreds of great games already and would be a fair bit cheaper than an off-the-shelf new next-gen console.

Since Intel's Core i7 is cherry-picked during the binning process, does that make them better than the Core i3 or i5 for general performance and gaming?

Question asked by Reece from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs Content | Posted: Dec 31, 2012 2:16 am

This is sort of a long question (well, short question with a lot of background info), so get ready for a read.


Most people say an i5 is exactly the same for gaming performance as an i7, because very few games can even utilize more than two cores, and no games currently need more than two cores to run, so the extra 4 threads are useless. That is true.


However, Intel's binning process involves selecting the badly deformed chips, and putting an i3 or lesser name on them. Cache is usually the deformed part. Slightly deformed chips are put into the i5 category, and near-perfect chips are given the i7 name. Since the i7's are binned higher, this means they've formed more perfectly. Doesn't logic follow that if they i7's have formed more perfectly, the cores can achieve higher clockspeeds? I know that usually the cache is deformed, so all an i7 guarantees is better cache, but there's also a strong chance, though no guarantee, of higher clockspeed tolerance.


For example, my i5 can only go up to 4.6GHz, no matter how much voltage I apply. However, most people's i7's can go up to at least 4.8GHz, if not 5GHz. I admit, I have seem i5's go up to 5GHz, and i7's stop at 4.5GHz, but I see way more 5GHz i7's than i5's. Since clocks can be pushed further, doesn't that mean single-core performance, and thus gaming performance increases with an i7?

Reece, first of all, thanks for a brilliant question.


Now let's get into it - two parted answer here. Intel's binning process is mostly about - as you said - making the chips that can handle the cache and clock speeds formed into the higher-end Core i7. The ones that don't handle the cache and are deformed, are pushed down the line and turned into a Core i5. The worst of which are turned into Core i3's.




Most Core i7's can handle huge overclocks, personally I have my Core i7 3770K sitting at 5GHz stable. But then you've got to bring in Hyper-Threading to the conversation, which I disable to give me slighter higher clock speeds, while using less voltage and giving more stability while running cooler. Hyper-Threading is great for those pushing core-intensive applications, but games? Nowhere near as much.


I think a 4.5GHz quad-core processor is all anyone would need for gaming, as CPU speed starts to decline in terms of how much performance improvement it will offer after the mid-4GHz mark. If you were running a 3- or 4-way GPU setup, with multi-monitor tech like Eyefinity or Surround Vision, then the CPU speed will help another bit - but not that much. It would be better to have voltages lower and have 4.5GHz than crank the voltages higher to achieve 5GHz.


Now, the second part - how does this help in games? Well, my Core i7 at 4GHz or 5GHz offers no visible change in frame rates or load times. These days, I have my CPU cranked up to 5GHz "because I can", not because it offers visible performance improvements. I just like to remove performance bottlenecks - so if it's capable of 5GHz, then it sits there. My old Core i7 860 used to sit at 4GHz and I see no difference between that first-gen chip and this third-gen chip with the extra 1000MHz.


But, the single-core performance (without HT) is better with a Core i7 overclocked than it would be with a Core i3. This all depends on how CPU-intensive the task is, as games only use up to four cores anyway. This will change next year when next-gen consoles arrive, which should hopefully sport more than four cores, which I'm predicting will have 6 cores with some HT-like technology.


The other benefit now is that Core i7's are not that much more than decent Core i5's... which makes the decision that much easier.

I just upgraded from my Dell 27-inch monitor to an LG 42-inch TV and experience lag - why is that?

Question asked by Jeff from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Displays & Projectors Content | Posted: Dec 28, 2012 5:46 am

I recently upgraded My Dell 27 Inch monitor for an LG 42 inch 1080p TV. This did not make my wife very happy but then again she doesn't Borderland 2. It seems to work fine with all the extra stuff turned off but there is some game lag.

Hi Jeff,


What you're experiencing is actually motion input lag, which is usually caused by the image processing technology in your TV. This can include the higher refresh rates, motion or edge smoothing and other features. This takes a few microseconds to happen, and adds "lag" to the game.




So you might press W, A, S, or D and it will feel like it's taking longer for it to respond. When moving the mouse, it will feel like there's lag on the screen - but it's just lag on your input method. This is why controllers on consoles feel so much slower to operate in a first-person shooter than a 60/120Hz monitor on PC using a mouse.


The response time on an LCD monitor is much better than most TVs because of this - so to go from your Dell 27-inch monitor to the LG 42-inch HDTV, it's actually a step backward in quality (if quality is lag/response), but an upgrade in physical screen size.


This is why I personally use 120Hz-based monitors for my first-person shooter gaming. I have the latest Samsung 55-inch Smart TV, and while it's a lot better than most TVs out there in terms of input lag, it doesn't even begin to compare to a proper LCD monitor.




One of our great readers Justin, made a very good point about enabling a "Game" mode on the TV. Jeff replied saying that this, along with some other tweaks he made, made a huge improvement in his experience.

I want to buy a new tablet and would like some advice

Question asked by Nikki from United Kingdom (Great Britain) | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Mobile Devices Content | Posted: Dec 27, 2012 4:47 am

Hi there,


I am wanting to buy a tablet but have no idea what sort!


I want one for the usual; surfing the web, emails, FB, photos, movies etc, but I'd ideally like one with at least Microsoft Word, or a way I can record/write anything I need to, a good variety of apps, adequate memory and speed.....and if I was really to be demanding a USB port (but that is not a 'must have').


I'd appreciate any advice on options, cost is not really an issue, but nothing too unreasonable (probably 600 pounds max :)


Thanks in advance,



Hi Nikki,


There is probably one best answer here for the tablet you're after, and that would be Microsoft's iPad competitor, the Surface tablet. They've only started arriving in the UK, where I've read that Surface is available at John Lewis, in both 32GB and 64GB editions.




The Microsoft Surface 32GB is 399 pounds and you can get it right here.. Surface comes with a single, full-sized USB port which can take most USB devices on the market which makes it a much more versatile tablet than the iPad, or most competitors' tablets.


What you want to do on it, can easily be achieved - email, Facebook, photos, movies and more. Word is available on Surface, where most other tablets don't have Word yet. The USB port that you want, but isn't a must have, is a default on the Surface which makes it the all-round hero here.

My son's Xbox 360 DVD drive isn't opening

Question asked by Bonnie from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Gaming Content | Posted: Dec 23, 2012 3:51 am

My sons Xbox door is not opening, why is it doing that?

Hi Bonnie,


There could be a few reasons why it's not opening - first, the DVD drive itself could be faulty. Maybe it's a power- or motor-related issue, and it won't work until it's fixed. Another option is that there could be a disc (or more) jammed inside and it won't open.




I took a search for this and came up with a few results, and hopefully some help for you. This one is directly from Xbox Support, and shows you how to manually eject your Xbox 360 optical disc tray.


The one below is from YouTube, and shows you how to open up a stuck Xbox 360 DVD drive.



If these methods don't work, try a console repair shop.

I'm building a flight simulator with 28 screens, what GPUs should I go for?

Question asked by Elton from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Dec 20, 2012 12:29 am

Hi, I'm building a flight sim that uses 28 screens. The most graphics cards you can fit on a motherboard is 4, with the best offering at most 5 outputs per card. If cost is absolutely not a factor, how do I get enough graphics cards running to generate all of the DIFFERENT screens?

Hi Elton,


This is actually a great question! Now, I can't guarantee any of this as I haven't tried it myself, but I know that you can daisy chain two DisplayPort monitors from a single miniDisplay Port connection. This means you can go for 4-way CrossFire X on Radeon HD 7970s and enjoy 24 screens. Obviously you'd need a motherboard capable of 4-way CrossFire and a CPU overclocked enough to give you the benefit of pushing all of those GPUs as well as a good enough PSU and cooling throughout your case.




I would go with XFX Double D FX-797A-TDBC Radeon HD 7970 Black Edition 3GB, which NewEgg sell for $419.99 and then you'd need two of Sapphire's VID 2X Display Expanders. The VID 2X connects to a single miniDP port and gives you two DisplayPort outputs. This will give you:


4 display outputs through Sapphire's VID 2X

2 display outputs from DVI.


This means you'll have to be careful on what monitors you buy - as you'll need a bunch that are DisplayPort-capable, as well as DVI-capable. I would recommend buying one GPU, and 6 displays first - trying it all out and making sure it works, then continue on and buying 3 more GPUs and the rest of the screens.


But this Ask the Experts is going to be different - I think you should write something up (if you have the time) on your journey, with a bunch of pictures and videos if possible and we'll make a news story out of it if you like? If so, e-mail me (anthonygarreffa AT tweaktown DOT com) and we can talk about it.


I think it'll be an awesome experience, and something people will really love to read. 28 screens!!! 4 GPUs!!! The things dreams are made of!

I'm upgrading my system but need some help with the motherboard choice!

Question asked by Sahil from India | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Motherboards Content | Posted: Dec 19, 2012 4:40 am



I am going to upgrade my system this Christmas, I have chosen the Core i5 3570k and gskill 8GB (4gb*2)


Now the most difficult part: to choose the MOTHERBOARD


I have shortlisted to the following boards:


1) ASUS Z77 sabertooth = $309(in Indian price)

2) MSI Z77 MPOWER = $272

3) ASRock Z77 OC Formula = $309

4) ASUS Maximus V Gene (

Hi Sahil,


This is an answer that will change from person to person, and I'll probably get flak for not giving you a specific answer that others were looking for, but unless you're throwing in a bunch of GPUs and other hardware, a decent motherboard is all you need.




The MSI Z77 MPOWER board is great value for money and offers some great performance, too. It has everything you need for high-end performance, USB 3.0, tonnes of SATA ports and more.


Alternatively, the ASRock Z77 OC Formula is also a great board, but the real statement that needs to be made here is that all of those boards on your list are going to kick ass in your system. You can choose any of them, and you'll have a great system and you'll have a great time with those boards. If it was my decision, I'd spend the least amount of money - and whatever you have left over could spring for an SSD drive if you don't already have one.

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