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Helping with tech questions - TweakTown's Ask the Experts - Page 12


TweakTown's Ask the Experts


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.

I want to upgrade from my Radeon HD 6870 to an NVIDIA card on my 3-monitor setup

Question asked by Shaun from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Oct 24, 2012 12:46 am

I currently have an HD6870 running three 1080p monitors. I love the Eyefinity feature, but after installing windows 8, the video drivers crashes periodically. What nVidia product could I switch to that can drive 3 monitors? Possibly with a bit of a performance boost.


Hi Shaun,

 

If you're looking to upgrade to an NVIDIA solution for your 3-screen setup, I'd suggest something like the GeForce GTX 670. This will give you a huge increase in performance, which is something you were after.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/6/5/65_03_i_want_to_upgrade_from_my_radeon_hd_6870_to_an_nvidia_card_on_my_3_monitor_setup.jpg

 

The GeForce GTX 670 will be a huge increase in GPU grunt, and would give you much better frame rates on your triple-monitor setup. One of the downfalls of using 3-screen setups is the amount of GPU grunt required to give a decent frame rate at the huge resolutions, but the GTX 670 will give you massive gains over your HD 6870 at the moment.

Should I get a Radeon HD 7870, GeForce GTX 660 or something else for $200-$250

Question asked by Tanner from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Oct 19, 2012 3:45 am

Should I get a HD 7870, a GTX 660, or a completely different card in the 200-250$ price range?


Hi Tanner,

 

There is no best answer here because both GPUs, the Radeon HD 7870 and GeForce GTX 660, are great mid-range GPUs. I would personally lean more toward the NVIDIA side of things, mainly because they seem to have better compatibility and less niggly software issues within Windows - but this is a personal opinion.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/6/4/64_04_should_i_get_a_radeon_hd_7870_geforce_gtx_660_or_something_else_for_200_250.jpg

 

The Radeon HD 7870 has better bandwidth numbers, which might help with those high-res games, which might help sway your decision.

 

But at the end of the day, both GPUs are great - and for the $200-$250 range, they're your best options. If it comes down to what I recommend, I say go for the GTX 660.

I have $450 to spend on my PC, should I spend it all on a GPU or split it with a GPU and SSD?

Question asked by Nate from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Storage Content | Posted: Oct 15, 2012 10:22 pm

I am an avid PC gamer. I have approximately $450 to do an immediate upgrade. I currently have an old 8600gts and a standard 512GB 7200RPM HDD. I try, as much as my current card will let me, to game at 1920x1080. Should I go all out on the video card and get a nice GTX 670? Or should I split the cash up and get a GTX 660 Ti and a 240GB SSD (since there are outrageous deals just about every day on SSDs)?


Hi Nate,

 

That's actually a great question, with a simple answer - do the GPU and SSD. A GPU will only give you so much more performance in games, and going from a GeForce 8600 GTS to even a GeForce GTX 660 Ti will gain you some serious performance improvements in every single game you play.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/6/3/63_10_i_have_450_to_spend_on_my_pc_should_i_spend_it_all_on_a_gpu_or_split_it_with_a_gpu_and_ssd.jpg

 

An SSD, will improve every single application on your computer from Windows, to your web browser, to your game load times. I would definitely suggest grabbing the mid-range GPU and a 240GB SSD.

 

Once you use an SSD, you'll never want to go back to a mechanical HDD for Windows/Games.

I want to replace my GeForce GTX 480 with something faster - suggestions?

Question asked by Russell from United Kingdom (Great Britain) | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Oct 11, 2012 3:58 am

I have a KFA GTX 480 Anarchy GPU. This card is faster than the reference 480 cards. My motherboard is a Sabertooth X58. My psu is a Corsair HX750

 

I would like to know what would be a good replacement GPU that will allow me to either get better results from 1 or 2 cards. I can't afford 2 GPUs straight off so my budget would be around £350 tops.


Hi Russell,

 

I would suggest starting off with upgrading to the GeForce GTX 670, as this should give you quite a great leap in performance. The GTX 680 is of course better, but the performance increase is not worth the added costs. Especially considering you'd like to go SLI in the future.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/6/2/62_07_i_want_to_replace_my_geforce_gtx_480_with_something_faster_suggestions.png

 

I checked Scan.co.uk for some local pricing since you're based in the UK, and you'd be looking at around £300 - £350 for a good GTX 670. This would give you a jump in performance, and then throwing another one in for some SLI action would give you an even bigger boost. Even sticking with the single GTX 670 is going to give you a nice performance increase.

 

On top of the increased performance, you'll notice it is much quieter, and cooler than the original GTX 480 GPUs, too.

Which GPU should I get? An AMD Radeon HD 7770, HD6850 or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 for FPS gaming?

Question asked by Rudolf from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Oct 10, 2012 12:03 am

I'm a new person to the world of gaming, and I wanted to buy a pc because i wanna play games like SC2, BF3, Skyrim, Fallout, maybe COD, and another bunch of games. I know which processor and components to choose, question is which Graphics card shall i choose? I was looking maybe for a HD7770 or a HD6850 or a GTX650. Also i wanna know which model (brand)?


Hi Rudolf,

 

If you're after the best mid-range GPU to play those types of games, such as Call of Duty, Battlefield 3, Skyrim and more, then you might want to lean toward AMD's Radeon HD 7770.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/6/0/60_01_which_gpu_should_i_get_an_amd_radeon_hd_7770_hd6850_or_nvidia_geforce_gtx_650_for_fps_gaming.jpg

 

In games such as Battlefield 3, the HD 7770 definitely has the edge, by around 15-20% over the GTX 650 from NVIDIA. But it doesn't make the HD 7770 the clear winner at all. NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 650 is still a great mid-range card.

 

AMD's HD 7770 will be around 5-10% faster on average compared to the GTX 650, so either GPU will be a good choice. I would lean toward the HD 7770. As for the brand, Sapphire have a great Vapor-X OC Edition out that we gave 95% in our review.

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