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Helping with tech questions - TweakTown's Ask the Experts - Page 2


TweakTown's Ask the Experts


What do you think of my recent GPU upgrade?

Question asked by Erick from Brazil | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Dec 17, 2013 11:24 pm

Hi guys. My rig:

 

Intel Core i5 3450, 8GB RAM, 240GB SSD Racer from VisionTek, Hadron Air case (with its own 500W PSU). My GPU now is a AMD Radeon HD7850 2GB. I play mostly hack 'n' slashes (Torchlight 2, Diablo 3), and occasionally something up to Deus Ex: Human Revolution but not too often. I use to play those high graphics games at 1600xsomething resolution, to keep FPS high.

 

I got a ASUS GTX670 Mini DirectCU for 249 dollars. My reasons to choose it was: 1. size, it's the perfect match for the EVGA Hadron Air small size. 2. Still future proof for my gaming profile.

 

My question is... Was it a waste of money for my gaming profile? Besides the fact that I can crank up my playing resolution now... What you guys think?


Hi Erick,

 

Upgrading from your Radeon HD 7850 to the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 is quite the move, you should be seeing some improvements in performance, but I think your resolution and the games you're playing are holding you back.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/1/7/178_05_what_do_you_think_of_my_recent_gpu_upgrade.jpg

 

This is most likely why you might be thinking its a waste of money - what I would recommend, for the games you're playing, is crank everything else up. Increase the anti-aliasing and anistrophic filtering, as well as all of the in-game details.

 

You have plenty of GPU horsepower that isn't being used, especially if you're playing at resolutions less than 1920x1080.

 

As for the GPU, the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DC Mini is a great card, a super-small card that packs a serious performance punch. I don't think you've wasted money at all! Once you move into higher resolutions, you'll still be able to play games without sacrificing too much in-game quality.

I need a new GPU, what do you recommend?

Question asked by Milos from Serbia and Montenegro | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Dec 12, 2013 4:32 am

I want to replace my current GPU - MSI 6950 TFIII PE OC. My configuration is:

 

  • Core i7 4770k @ 4.5GHz
  • ASUS Maximus VI Hero
  • 8GB G.Skill RAM
  • 1x 60GB SSD
  • 1x 1TB HDD
  • DVD/CD burner
  • Cooler Master HAF 932 Advanced
  • Seasonic SS-620GB

 

As I mentioned, I want to change my GPU, but don't know which one to buy. My biggest dilemma is should I buy NVIDIA or AMD? Budget is around 400 euros.

 

Thanks for your help.

 

Milos


Hi Milos,

 

You have a great system there! Once you've acquired your new GPU, you'll be enjoying games in a whole new light. But, it's a hard decision between NVIDIA and AMD, isn't it?

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/1/7/177_03_i_need_a_new_gpu_what_do_you_recommend.jpg

 

I would say that the new AMD Radeon R9 290X is the best bet, but you have a 400 euro budget - which is around $550 US or so. The R9 290X is $599, which is a bit out of your budget. If you want to go on Team Green, and get the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780, it would cost you just $499.

 

For $499, the GeForce GTX 780 is an amazing GPU, and would play any game at 1080p at 60FPS with high/ultra graphics settings. I think I'm confident in recommending the GTX 780, you won't regret it!

Which CPU should I get for my video editing workstation?

Question asked by Robert from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs Content | Posted: Dec 6, 2013 12:53 am

What CPU/MB do you think would be best for a video editing workstation?

 

I will be running the Adobe tool set. From my reading it seems that video editing benefits from more cores/threads that does gaming. Would an 8-core AMD CPU be better than a 4-core Intel part, for example? What other factors, besides the obvious like lots of RAM, should I consider?

 

Thanks for your help.

 

Rob :-]


Update: Our own Chris Ramseyer has some wisdom in this subject, so I'll paste in his input here - which is very valuable:

 

While CPU performance makes a difference in most of the progRAMs we use today, Adobe has implemented new rendering techniques that use your computers video card. AMD is well ahead of the competition in this area but the flagship models with two processors are slower than a single GPU.

 

The current flagship from AMD is the R9 290X and it would have a significant impact on your render times.

 

If you are already running a high-end video card for rendering and want to know just about CPUs then you need to look at the thread efficiency. Intel's Haswell, or 4th Generation Core architecture has the highest threaded efficiency to date. In some enterprise applications Haswell's 4 cores outperform 8-core Xeon processors.

 

Hi Rob,

 

First off, if it's a video editing workstation, completely scrap the idea of getting yourself an AMD CPU. AMD's CPUs in that type of use, do not begin to compare with an Intel CPU. The Intel Core range of processors are heavy hitters, that's for sure.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/1/7/176_03_which_cpu_should_i_get_for_my_video_editing_workstation.jpg

 

If you want the best, without really breaking the bank, you can go for the 12-thread (6 cores, 6 HT cores) Intel CPUs, which come in the LGA 2011 socket. These are more expensive, but you do get the joys of enjoying 12 threads for video editing. This option would result in you choosing between two processors, the Core i7-4930K, which is $579 on Newegg, or the Core i7-4960X processor, which is $1049.

 

From those two CPUs, I would find it hard to recommend the 4960X because of its massive price, but the 4930K would do the job just fine.

 

Stepping below that, we have the 8-thread (4 cores, 4 HT cores) Intel CPUs which come in the LGA 1150 variety. These are known as "Haswell" and you can get something like the Intel Core i7-4770K for $325 from Newegg.

 

At the end of the day - it's up to you. The LGA 2011 socket would last much longer, but the LGA 1150 option is around $200 cheaper, and then you'll also save another $100-$150 on the motherboard.

 

If the decision was up to me, I'd recommend the 4930K and a mid-range motherboard. RAM is cheap these days, so you could load the board up with 32GB of RAM, too.

Which phone should I get? Nexus 5? Galaxy S4 mini?

Question asked by Midhun from India | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Mobile Devices Content | Posted: Dec 4, 2013 12:54 am

I am planning to buy a mobile and here are my choices:

 

  • Galaxy s4 mini
  • Nexus 4
  • Nexus 5
  • Xperia SP

 

I am not a big gamer, but I am looking for a good battery life and does a lot of browsing and WhatsApp. The S4 mini has QHD screen and the rest have HD screens, so when coming to the application support will I face the problem of non supported apps with S4 mini?


Hi Midhun,

 

You have a great selection of smartphones there, but I think I would definitely have to choose the Nexus 5 out of them all. The Nexus 4 is old now, so that is erased straight away form the decision table. The Sony Xperia SP, same rules apply.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/1/7/175_04_which_phone_should_i_get_nexus_5_galaxy_s4_mini.jpg

 

The decision comes down to the Nexus 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4 mini. The fight then goes into the OS, the Nexus 5 device is pure Android - and version 4.4 KitKat at that - while the Galaxy S4 mini won't have 4.4 KitKat for a while yet.

 

The S4 mini also has Samsung's TouchWiz UI on top, which is something you'll have to consider - but that is more of a personal choice. I don't like it, and I find the pure Nexus experience to be much better. If it was my help that pushes you into the arms of one of those devices, get yourself the Nexus 5 - you won't regret it.

Which GPU should I buy? The Radeon R9 280X or HD 7970?

Question asked by Chris from Australia | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Nov 14, 2013 2:34 am

Hi

 

I'm looking to do a small upgrade just a PSU and Video Card to keep up with some of the latest games that I have like BF4 and COD: Ghosts. Not looking to SLI or Crossfire setup otherwise would mean I need a whole new PC as my motherboard is not quite adequate for that.

 

My current system is:

 

  • Intel Core i7 870
  • ASUS P55A
  • 16GB Corsair RAM
  • DVD/CD Burner
  • 1 x 128GB SSD
  • 1 x 256GB SSD
  • 2 x 1TB WD Black running in RAID0
  • 1 x 2TB WD Green
  • Antec 902 V2 (4x120mm FAN's and 1x200mm FAN)
  • 1 x 24" DELL (running at 1920x1200 (landscape))
  • 1 x 22" DELL (running at 1050x1680 (portrait))

 

My current GPU and PSU is an ATI 6870 and a Corsair 650W.

 

I'm looking at buying either the R9 280X or the 7970. Since the price is almost the same what would be the ideal GPU to be running some of the latest games that I have mentioned above? Also what would be the ideal PSU size to accommodate the above set-up and also the GPU I am looking at?

 

Thanks,

Chris


Hi Chris,

 

Both of those GPUs are going to give you a kick-ass upgrade to your Radeon HD 6870 GPU, but it'll come down to how much you want to spend.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/1/7/174_03_which_gpu_should_i_buy_the_radeon_r9_290x_or_hd_7970.jpg

 

Originally, I read that you were after a comparison between the R9 290X and HD 7970, but it's the R9 280X and HD 7970. Sorry for the confusion in my original answer: but I would definitely recommend the new R9 280X over the HD 7970 - as its is $379 with Scorpion Technology, not a bad price for a new GPU!

Should I go with SLI or CrossFire with my AMD FX 8320 CPU?

Question asked by Rimon from Malaysia | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Sep 25, 2013 2:58 am

Hi currently my processor is the AMD FX 8320 and my GPU is the Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 XT (LE). I was thinking to do a dual graphic setup in future.

 

My question is should i change my GPU to GeForce GTX 760(SLI) or stay with my HD 7870 XT (LE) to do crossfire? I can get a GTX 760 at additional $40+ trading in my old Sapphire 7870 XT. Which setup is more future proof?


Hi Rimon,

 

Most people would've purchased another Radeon HD 7870, but I would recommend ditching it, and getting yourself the GTX 760 SLI setup. For one, AMD is about to launch its next-gen GPUs, and secondly, the GeForce range of GPUs works great in virtually all titles in SLI.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/1/7/172_06_should_i_go_with_sli_or_crossfire_with_my_amd_fx_8320_cpu.jpg

 

You should see a nice improvement in games, too, between the GTX 760 SLI setup versus the HD 7870 CF setup. I would say that the NVIDIA way is the more future proof path, but nothing is really future proof these days.

Which phone should I choose? The Galaxy S4 mini or Nexus 4?

Question asked by Ted from India | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Mobile Devices Content | Posted: Sep 15, 2013 1:50 am

Hello Tweakers,

 

i am planning to buy a smartphone but confused between Galaxy S4 mini and Google Nexus 4.

 

S4 mini is quite costly, if we look for features comparing both. But the Nexus 4 is not dual-SIM capable and it also doesn't supported micro SD expansion. The rest of the features are better than the Galaxy S4 mini... kindly suggest me which one I should buy.

 

Is there any other phone which has features like Nexus 4 and also having dual-SIM capabilities?


Hi Ted,

 

I think you make this decision easy on yourself, because you want dual-SIM functionality. That is something that the Nexus 4 doesn't do, and I was going to suggest waiting for the Nexus 5, but I would be willing to lay down money that the Nexus 5 won't support dual SIMs either.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/1/7/171_04_which_phone_should_i_choose_the_galaxy_s4_mini_or_nexus_4.jpg

 

I would suggest grabbing the Galaxy S4 mini, as it does arrive in a dual-SIM model, which is something you're after. There aren't many phones that are as capable as the Galaxy S4 mini that feature dual SIMs, so you have kind of found the perfect smartphone for yourself. The Galaxy S4 mini is a great phone, and yes it's not a pure Android experience like the Nexus line of smartphones, but it is still a very, very capable and spec-heavy smartphone.

 

Let me know how you go with the Galaxy S4 mini if you end up grabbing one!

GPU decisions: Sapphire HD 7770 or MSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST?

Question asked by Debojit from Bangladesh | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Sep 2, 2013 3:06 am

I have two choice in GPU:

 

1. Sapphire Radeon HD 7770 1GB

2. MSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 1GB.

 

My specs:

 

  • Intel Core i3 530 @ 2.93GHz
  • Intel Desktop Board DH55TC motherboard
  • 6GB DDR3 1333MHz RAM
  • XFX GeForce GT 240 1GB
  • No-brand 500W PSU
  • Samsung 18.5-inch monitor

 

Help!


Hi Debojit,

 

That's a hard decision! First off, both GPUs are good value for money. They're both going to give you a big increase in performance over your GeForce GT 240. The biggest difference between them is going to be the price.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/1/7/170_10_gpu_decisions_sapphire_hd_7770_or_msi_geforce_gtx_650_ti_boost.jpg

 

The Sapphire HD 7770 GHz Edition sells on Newegg for $104.99 while the MSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST is priced at $154.99. This is nearly 50% more expensive, but does it provide 50% (or so) more performance? No. It provides around 10-15% more performance on average over the HD 7770.

 

Our own GPU Editor Shawn Baker took a look at the MSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST GPU, with some of his benchmark charts comparing the HD 7770 to it. I would suggest checking out his review, which might swing your decision.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/1/7/170_09_gpu_decisions_sapphire_hd_7770_or_msi_geforce_gtx_650_ti_boost.png

 

My advice, would be to get the HD 7770 as it's $50 cheaper and provides nearly the same experience at lower resolutions (which your 18.5-inch LCD would be). If you were talking about 2560x1600 (or so) then I would suggest buying a completely different GPU altogether.

Which GPU between the MSI GTX 770 Lightning and GIGABYTE GTX 780?

Question asked by Brian from United Kingdom (Great Britain) | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Jul 31, 2013 7:56 am

Hello. I am struggling to choose which GFX card to go to. Currently I have my eyes on the MSI GeForce GTX 770 Lightning 2GB and GIGABYTE GTX 780 3GB but the price is slightly a turn-off (for the GTX 780), but something I would possibly pay for.

 

Do you have any recommendations on cards that may be cheaper than the GTX 780 but have performance around about that general area?


Hi Brian,

 

Tough choice, isn't it? The MSI GeForce GTX 770 Lightning Edition is an amazing card, and there's nothing out there that really competes with it, but is cheaper. Palit's GeForce GTX 770 JetStream 4GB GPU is quite nice, with double the RAM, something else you should consider.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/1/6/169_08_which_gpu_between_the_msi_gtx_770_lightning_and_gigabyte_gtx_780.jpg

 

The PNY GTX 770 Overclocked 2GB GPU is £48 cheaper, but won't overclock anywhere near the levels that the MSI Lightning GPU will. If you want something cheaper, there's a ~15% saving right there.

 

As for matching the GTX 780, an overclocked GTX 770 will get you close. I would recommend the MSI GTX 770 Lightning if you don't mind spending the extra cash, but the Palit JetStream is another huge contender for your cash, too. If you want to spend the least amount of money, the PNY GTX 770 Overclocked 2GB is there for the picking.

Which Haswell-based motherboard should I buy that supports 32GB RAM?

Question asked by Laurent from France | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Motherboards Content | Posted: Jul 29, 2013 6:18 am

I want to buy a new motherboard with an Intel Haswell-based CPU to put 32GB of RAM (expandable to 64GB), and I don't play games. I only use Photoshop/Lightroom/PanoRAMa picture editing.

 

I don't have a big budget, and don't need pricey stuff. Can I only use the CPU integrated GPU and do the Haswell CPUs come with a heatsink ? What do you recommend I buy? For the CPU, I was thinking the i5-4430 and 4 x 8GB RAM.


Hi Laurent,

 

The Core i5 4430 would be fine, and so would the RAM. As for the choice of motherboard, this really comes down to you. I would choose something like the GIGABYTE Z87-HD3 which is just $119.99 on Newegg.com. This motherboard will do you fine, and supports up to 32GB of RAM.

 

TweakTown image asktheexperts/1/6/168_05_which_haswell_based_motherboard_should_i_buy_that_supports_32gb_ram.jpg

 

64GB of RAM on Z87 motherboards is going to be hard, and even if it wasn't, it would be very expensive. 8GB DIMMs aren't too badly priced, but there aren't many boards that support this. You would have to be doing some seriously high-end work to use 64GB, my advice is to max the board out at 32GB and if you find yourself limited, then upgrade in the future to a true next-gen chipset and go high-end.

 

The other thing is processor compatibility: the Core i5 4430 isn't capable of supporting more than 32GB of RAM. This would mean you'd need to choose a higher-end processor, or change socket which is going to cost even more money. My recommendation: stick with 32GB of RAM.

 

As for the integrated GPU, they perform well enough for what you'll be doing. We even tested the previous generation Core i7 3770K and found it played games at 720p just fine.

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