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Helping with tech questions - TweakTown's Ask the Experts - Page 7

TweakTown's Ask the Experts

My HP desktop is having issues, is there something you can do to help?

Question asked by Jeff from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Computer Systems Content | Posted: Jan 22, 2013 4:00 am

I have a HP Pavilion desktop that I purchased in late 2009. All of a sudden it has started shutting down. I have rebooted, I have cleaned out all the dust, Windows 7 has been rebooted with a disc. I carried to a computer technician who kept it for a week and it ran fine with him. No shut downs! I brought the computer back home and it started shutting down all over again. Windows will come up and a few seconds later it will say "logging off" and "shutting down". I have done everything I can think of. It ran fine with computer tech. it stayed on the whole time with hiim. What's wrong?

Hi Jeff,


I hate these problems, I really do. I worked at a computer retailer for nearly ten years, and we had plenty of these cases. I always found that most of them were something at home with the user, and it is usually network- or power-related.


TweakTown image asktheexperts/1/1/115_06_my_hp_desktop_is_having_issues_is_there_something_you_can_do_to_help.jpg


The best advice I can give is trying multiple things, even if they sound ridiculous. Here's a list:

  • Connect only the keyboard, mouse and monitor - disconnect everything else (speakers, USB devices, etc).
  • Completely disconnect from the Internet, through Wi-Fi or ethernet.
  • If you're connected through an ethernet cable - change this cable.
  • If you're connected through an ethernet cable - disconnect the cable completely.
  • Try a different power board, or plug it directly into the wall.


The system must be okay if the computer technician had it working, where at home it's not working. Try turn off all other computers in the house, desktops or notebooks. Turn off all Wi-Fi devices, tablets, consoles, smartphones, baby monitors, etc. Eliminate everything so your PC is the only thing on and connected to the network and go from there - eliminating options as you go.


It could be a conflict on the network, a virus, malware - something hitting your computer from another computer. The best advice is just going back to basics - disconnect everything and get it to work, then one-by-one start connecting everything and see what is causing the fault.


I hope you get this sorted!

I currently have an AMD Radeon HD 5870 and want to upgrade, help!

Question asked by Jim from Cambodia | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Jan 20, 2013 4:52 am

I've recently upgraded the majority of the components in my rig, i7-3930k, SSD's, etc., but have held off upgrading the GPU. Currently I have an ASUS HD5870, and while it runs most games pretty decently, would like to explore high end single GPU options for gaming. I've looked at the Radeon HD7970 GHz, GTX 680, GTX 670 and Radeon HD7970. Help please!

Hi Jim,


If you're wanting to upgrade your system and continue to go down the single GPU path, then I would suggest two of the four GPUs you've got listed there. The AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition, and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680. Both of those GPUs are the best-in-class for their respective single GPU categories.


TweakTown image asktheexperts/1/1/114_06_i_currently_have_an_amd_radeon_hd_5870_and_want_to_upgrade_help.jpg


I've been a huge NVIDIA fan for years, usually preferring them to AMD just for their compatibility with 120Hz screens. But, I've been so pleasantly surprised with the HD 7950 that I run now. I would suggest getting a decent brand such as MSI or ASUS with their aftermarket coolers, and get whichever one you want.


I leave this open as both choices are going to give you a huge increase in performance, and an even bigger smile on your face. You have the MSI R7970 Lightning Radeon HD 7970 with Newegg for $489.99 or the MSI N680GTX Lightning GeForce GTX 680 for $10 more at $499.99.

I have $545 to spend on my PC, what should I buy?

Question asked by Saura from Austria | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Computer Systems Content | Posted: Jan 18, 2013 5:43 am

I am planning to overhaul my PC into a decent gaming rig that could run latest games at high display settings without a hitch. My budget is INR 30000 or $545. What motherboard, processor, Graphics Card, RAM and PSU do you suggest to meet my criteria within the budget?

Hi Saura,


Alright, because you want to run the latest games at high display settings - let's get the things you require out of the way first and whatever is left we'll spend on the GPU, ok? CPU, motherboard, RAM and PSU.


TweakTown image asktheexperts/1/1/113_03_i_have_545_to_spend_on_my_pc_what_should_i_buy.jpg


I'm going to go buy Newegg pricing, which will give you a good average price. For the CPU, I'd recommend Intel's Core i3 2105 which is $119. For the motherboard, let's look at the MSI Z77A-G41 - this motherboard is only $95. You don't need to have a fully-featured motherboard, and this board will serve you well.


Moving onto the RAM and PSU, let's go with the cheapest DDR3 you can find, and get 4GB of it. You should be able to source this for under $40. Brand name doesn't matter too much, but personally I stick with Corsair memory. I've never had a faulty stick in my life of using Corsair and they aren't that much more expensive than generic branded RAM.


The PSU will be a little tricky, but the Corsair Builder Series is quite good, and they have the CX500 model for around $60. This gives you 500W of power, which is more than enough.


All of these components added up so far, without the GPU are $314. This leaves is around $230 for the GPU. Let's go hunting! For $200, you can get yourself a Radeon HD 7850 - which would be perfect for cranking those games up. You could spend $230 and go for the Radeon HD 7870, or an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660, too. I'd spend as much as you can on the GPU, as that is going to be used the most for gaming.


Hopefully this helps you on your journey for a new PC!!

My computer seems to be frozen on the setup page, help!

Question asked by Bryant from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Motherboards Content | Posted: Jan 17, 2013 4:13 am

I just got a used ASUS Crosshair IV computer, and cannot get it to go past the setup page. I have an older Dell computer, but is nothing like this one. What do I need to know?

Hi Bryant,


From what you've explained, it sounds like there is something wrong with your setup in terms of hardware or installation. My first step would be to completely disassemble the main components - CPU, motherboard, RAM - and reassemble very carefully.


TweakTown image asktheexperts/1/1/112_01_my_computer_seems_to_be_frozen_on_the_setup_page_help.jpg


Making sure that the CPU is seated properly and securely, the same goes for the RAM. If it continues to have the same problems, try one stick of RAM at a time (you should have 2-4 sticks I'm guessing). If you've got a second PC, or a friend with similar components, try out your GPU, PSU, RAM and whatever else you can on their system to see if one or more of your components are faulty.


Failing all of this - get a friend to look at it, or take it in to a local computer shop to get it looked at - the motherboard could be faulty and they're one of the harder things to test without a spare.


Hopefully it all goes well!

Does using the 8x slot for SLI effect performance at all?

Question asked by Ovidiu from Romania | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Motherboards Content | Posted: Jan 16, 2013 10:18 am



I have a system with the following setup : AMD 955BE CPU, 4GB RAM, 850W PSU and an ASRock M3A785GXH/128M motherboard that has 3 PCIe slots.


One is 16x, the other is 8x and the last is 4x.


If I were to do a 2-way SLI setup with a GTX 660 (using the x16 and x8 slots), would the 8x slot impact performance?


For the moment I'm using a 1680x1050 monitor and in the future I am not planning on going any higher than 1920x1080.

Hi Ovidiu,


There are some benefits to using 16x slots on the motherboard for multi-GPU setups, but the difference is only a couple of percent. You might see a 2-3% increase in performance using 16x/16x, but it's not going to noticeable for multiple reasons.


TweakTown image asktheexperts/1/1/111_03_does_using_the_8x_slot_for_sli_effect_performance_at_all.jpg


First, 1680x1050 is going to be a huge limitation for any multi-GPU setup, and secondly, your CPU will be a limitation in any multi-GPU setup. I would go ahead with the 8x/8x SLI solution and not worry about it, you'll be fine.

Which GPU should I get on a $300 budget?

Question asked by Jordi from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Jan 15, 2013 5:59 am

I want to buy a new graphics card. I currently have a NVIDIA-powered Gigabyte card and I wanna know that when I get a new card(s), it's the best bang for my buck card(s) I can get. The most I plan to spend is $300. Also, at the moment, which graphics vendor has the most powerful or most recommended card out there, AMD or NVIDIA? Thank you for any help.

Hi Jordi,


At $300, you can get quite the powerful GPU these days - but when it comes down to which side you should jump into, AMD or NVIDIA - things can get messy. It all comes down to personal preference, and I could sit here writing 10 pages of arguments on either side.


TweakTown image asktheexperts/1/1/110_07_which_gpu_should_i_get_on_a_300_budget.jpg


I'm a fan of both, and both sides do things well. NVIDIA, in my opinion, have better game support - they seem to have more partnerships with game developers and have less "problems". These problems are usually solved through driver updates, and AMD keeps up quite well.


That's not to say AMD aren't a great choice either, as they are - and in some cases, their GPUs can far outperform the closest GeForce card in its price bracket which introduces an entire new argument again. So we'll skip that and just keep this prelude here, and get onto the recommendations.


On the NVIDIA side of things, you could get yourself a GeForce GTX 660 Ti for around $299.99 from Newegg. For this price, you'd be scoring one of the very swish EVGA SuperClocked versions.


If we're talking AMD, you could get the Gigabyte Radeon HD 7950 GPU which comes with a triple-fan cooling design that would not only be great for overclocking, but great for temps while gaming at extreme levels - AA, AF cranked, etc. This GPU is just $299.99.


I would recommend the Radeon HD 7950 out of those two options!

Which GPU should I get for mostly FPS and RTS gaming?

Question asked by Reuben from Singapore | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Jan 10, 2013 7:14 am

Hi, I am just starting to learn how to build a PC but is stumped about choosing graphics cards! Living in Singapore, I only have a limited selection within my price range and would love to have expert's advice on which to get! I mainly play FPS/RTS, and action games like Assassin's Creed.


Thank you so much!

  • Palit GTX660Ti Jet
  • Palit GTX670
  • MSI N660Ti 2GBD5/OC PCI Express
  • Asus AS GTX660 Ti DCII/2G
  • Powercolor HD7870 2GB GDDR5 EYEFINITY 6 EDITION
  • MSI R7950 Twin Frozr (3GBDDR5)

Hi Reuben,


This is pretty easy, as you've got one GPU on that list that really stands out from the rest and that is MSI's Radeon HD 7950 Twin Frozr GPU. This card is a powerhouse of a card, and has an excellent cooler on it that will not only keep your GPU nice and cool, but it'll give you some incredible overclocking headroom.


TweakTown image asktheexperts/1/0/109_10_which_gpu_should_i_get_for_mostly_fps_and_rts_gaming.jpg


The other GPUs you have on your list are all great, but the HD 7950 will definitely stand out. Apart from that, you could get the Palit GeForce GTX 670 which is another fine GPU, but the Twin Frozr card from MSI still trumps this card.

Can you critique my upgrade and give me some suggestions?

Question asked by Israel from Philippines | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Computer Systems Content | Posted: Jan 9, 2013 4:57 am

hello good day... i am the guy who asked about the processor thermal trip warning last year. recently my computer shuts itself after bootup. the worst part is now is, it wont switch on after i heard a loud bang. so i have decided to replace the core 2 quad Q6600 with a more better processor. can you critique my replacements in order to be sure before going to the computer store and buy them in a few days.


here are the list of parts that i will buy:

  • Intel core i-5 3450
  • Asus P8Z77-V PREMIUM
  • 8GB X 4 pcs 1333Mhz G-Skill Ripjaw RAM
  • CM Hyper 212 evo
  • arctic cooling MX-4 thermal paste


I am open for suggestions just in case...


Thank You Guys

Hi Israel,


That's not good that your PC died, but it does give you the excuse to upgrade to something much better! Everything you've chosen looks great - 32GB of RAM is a bit overkill, but RAM is cheap enough now to just buy as much as your motherboard can handle.


TweakTown image asktheexperts/1/0/108_10_can_you_critique_my_upgrade_and_give_me_some_suggestions.jpg


Those parts all look fine to me - you could maybe upgrade to the Core i5 3570K for some overclocking fun if you wanted to spend a few extra dollars. I would definitely suggest getting an SSD of some sort for your OS at least - the performance increase with an SSD is absolutely incredible.


If you've got any other questions, ask away!

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.


TweakTown image asktheexperts/1/0/107_09_i_have_a_z77_based_motherboard_and_want_to_install_32gb_of_2400mhz_ram_should_i_buy_2_x_16gb_kits.jpg


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.


TweakTown image asktheexperts/1/0/106_08_what_psu_would_be_needed_for_two_asus_radeon_hd_7970_directcu_ii_gpus.jpg


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.

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