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I want to get a new GPU for my system but want to make sure there's no CPU bottleneck

Question asked by Ahmad from Malaysia | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Apr 13, 2013 1:02 am

Here's my spec:

  • MB: MSI 7636 H55M E33 Chipset AMI BIOS v10
  • PSU: Cooler Master Extreme Power Plus 500W
  • CPU: i3 530
  • RAM: 2 X KVR1333D3N9/4G (8GB)
  • HDD: 1 X ST3320418AS Seagate Barracuda 320GB and 1 X WD 500GB
  • GPU: ASUS GT 440 1GB DDR5
  • OS: Win7 64bit ultimate
  • DISPLAY: 32" Sony Bravia EX65 1080p


Im thinking of upgrading my GPU to 7850, will it be any problem especially on CPU bottleneck, the PSU (since Cooler Master Power calculator tells me i need 550w ones). What do you guys recommend?

Hi Ahmad,


If you were thinking of upgrading to the Radeon HD 7850, that's a great move - it's a great GPU for the price. Have you also looked at the Radeon HD 7770? You might want to take a look before you dive in. Not only the HD 7770, but the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost, too.




As for the CPU bottleneck, your Core i3 processor should be fine. You've got 8GB of RAM sitting there, too. I would say that your current Cooler Master 500W PSU is enough, as these mid-range GPUs do not consume that much power. I think you'll be fine, don't worry about upgrading your PSU just yet.


Of course, an i5 or i7 processor would help - but you should be okay for now. I would pencil in a CPU upgrade for the future, though.

Should I go for Radeon HD 7950's in CrossFire, or a single HD 7970 on my Samsung S27A950D 120Hz monitor?

Question asked by Daksh from India | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Apr 11, 2013 2:25 am

Looking for new graphics card setup everything else is up to date with latest hardware.


I am confused between 1x AMD Radeon HD 7970 or 2 x HD 7850's, I'm using the Samsung S27A950D 120Hz-capable monitor. What is your preference?

Hi Daksh,


You could not have asked a better question, as I have pretty much the identical setup right here, on the PC I'm replying to your question on. I run the same Samsung S27A950D monitor, and maintaining 120 FPS in the latest games is hard on any system.




A single Radeon HD 7970 will be ok, but you won't be pushing 120 FPS in games like Battlefield 3 or Crysis 3. I would definitely, without a doubt, recommend the CrossFire HD 7950 solution. I take it your motherboard is CrossFire compatible, and your power supply has enough juice to run the two GPUs.


You won't be sorry with that setup, and you should push very close, if not over 120 FPS in most games. Crysis 3 is hard on systems, but if you scale the graphics down a little (no anti-aliasing, etc) then you should be fine. Enjoy!

I'm looking at buying an SSD, what would you recommend?

Question asked by Riyaad from South Africa | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Storage Content | Posted: Apr 10, 2013 5:55 am

Hi guys, I am ready to purchase an SSD! I'm looking at 256gb as the capacity, what would you recommend?


I am running:

  • Core i7 950 @ stock
  • MSI X58-Pro motherboard
  • 3gb DDR3 1333mhz ram
  • MSI's GeForce GTX 680 Lightning Edition

Hi Riyaad,


I'm a huge fan of Corsair SSDs, running a bunch of them across multiple machines. They are damn fast drives, and they don't cost an arm and a leg also. Backed up by this we have some impressive drives from Samsung and OCZ, too.




Newegg sell these awesome SSDs at the 240GB size for $219.99. This is not bad considering you get up to 550MB/sec reads and up to 470MB/sec writes. They are simply amazing value for money.


Alternatively, you can take a look OCZ's Vector 4 in 256GB, which sells for $269.99. This has read speeds of up to 550MB/sec and write speeds of up to 530MB/sec. It's a little under 20% more, but this gives you some options between some of the top SSDs on the market right now.

I want to upgrade my system, and run all games at 1080p at a minimum of 45fps - what do you suggest?

Question asked by Duarte from Portugal | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Apr 2, 2013 3:33 am

I would like to upgrade my system, I have an MSI N670 PE/OC and an Intel Core i7 2600k OC to 4.6ghz. I want to run all recent games at 1080p with all graphics settings set to maximum (for example Crysis 3).


Also I don't want anything below 45 fps. Should i get another GTX 670? Or sell this one and buy lets say two AMD Radeon HD 7970s (more vram)?


I would appreciate your opinion, thanks.

Hi Duarte,


For your system to be capable of running games maxed out at 1080p and at a minimum of 45fps, you shouldn't need to do too much. I would suggest one very fast GPU instead of SLI for 1080p, so maybe you could go towards a GeForce GTX Titan, or an AMD Radeon HD 7970 GPU.




Either of these would max out every game out on the market at 1080p @ 45fps, without an issue. SLI and CrossFire would push out your power consumption (something like ~600-650W+ is what I'd recommend) and then your motherboard would need to be SLI- or CrossFire-capable.


I'd suggest the GTX Titan, or HD 7970, which will set you back just as much as a pair of HD 7970s.

What is the best brand to buy if I wanted a GeForce GTX 660 or 660 Ti?

Question asked by Simon from Croatia | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Mar 27, 2013 3:09 am

What is the best brand to buy for a GeForce GTX 660 or 660 Ti? ASUS, Gigabyte or MSI?



Hi Simon,


This is a bit hard, because NVIDIA just released their GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost GPU. This will force NVIDIA's partners into pushing out new GPUs in the coming weeks and months. This will also hopefully drive the price down of the GTX 660 and 660 Ti.




If you still wanted to buy a GTX 660 or 660 Ti, then out of those companies I would probably take a closer look at MSI's Geforce GTX 660 Ti Power Edition. It comes with a Core clock of 1019MHz, and 2GB of RAM and a very nice dual-fan cooler.


MSI make some great products, but I would really wait a couple of weeks and let the dust settle on the GTX 650 Ti Boost GPUs.

Which PSU should I buy for my SFF PC build?

Question asked by Peter from Australia | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Cases, Cooling & PSU Content | Posted: Mar 22, 2013 2:36 am

I am building a SFF general purpose PC and want to know how large a PSU I need. I want a modular unit to minimize cable clutter.


The components are:

  • Coolermaster Elite 120
  • Asrock FM2A85-ITX mobo
  • A10-5800 CPU
  • Gigabyte 7770 1GB OC GPU
  • Probably 120-240GB SSD (Don't need larger drive, I store on my NAS)
  • 4-8GB RAM (1333 or 1600)
  • Blue Ray drive

Hi Peter,


You don't need huge amounts of power for that system, but what I would recommend is getting something that both acts as a future-proof PSU, and a quality PSU. I don't like recommending cheaper PSUs as I've seen so many people over the years lose parts of their PC to a PSU going rogue.




We've just opened up our new Tweakipedia section of TweakTown, where we've built a BitFenix Prodigy using a modular PSU, with the Prodigy being a SFF case - so this is a perfect example. I'd recommend Corsair's AX760 PSU, which you can get from AU retailer Scorpion Technology for $269.


This might sound expensive, but you could use this as your PSU for years to come. Even in a high-end ATX build, 760W of power is more than enough even for the fastest, power-hungry GPU out there.


Corsair's AX760 is fully modular, and quiet - something very important for a SFF build.


Edit: Another PSU I will recommend is Corsair's CX430M PSU, which Scorptech sell for just $79. This has more than enough power for that system, but I would not recommend using this in another system that is more powerful.

I want to get a GPU capable of CrossFire in the future, should I get the Sapphire HD 7870 XT, or the HD 7950 Vapor-X?

Question asked by Gaelan from Australia | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Mar 21, 2013 4:06 am

I'm buying a new system and trying to choose a single GPU for now and upgrade to crossfire later. Between the Sapphire Radeon HD7870 XT Edition, Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 Vapor-X 3GB or a card for a similar price which would you say is the best one.


I know the HD 7970 is better but I don't know if its really worth the extra money. Thanks.

Hi Gaelan,


I think the most important thing to take away from your question is the fact you're considering CrossFire, this definitely changes the way I'd answer the question. Because you're already thinking of CrossFire, you're obviously somewhat of a power user, heavy gamer or enthusiast. This makes things easier.




If you weren't going CrossFire, the single HD 7950 would be fine - but because you are going CrossFire, this opens you up to two paths. Getting a single HD 7850 from Sapphire now, and then throwing another one in for some CrossFire action in the future, or you could go even higher end and slap down the notes for that HD 7950 Vapor-X.


This way, you're opening up your multi-GPU path, so that you could have HD 7950's in CrossFire in the future. This would give you plenty of GPU to play virtually all games maxed out, no matter what game - Battlefield 3, Crysis 3, etc - at 1080p at a constant 60fps.


I wouldn't really bother with the HD 7970, sure it's a faster GPU - but the HD 7950 Vapor-X from Sapphire is a kick-ass card on its own. The extra money upgrading to the HD 7970 is better of saved toward CrossFiring your card later down the track.

Will an AMD Radeon HD 7970 work on the ASUS M5A97 motherboard?

Question asked by Lewis from United Kingdom (Great Britain) | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Mar 20, 2013 5:28 am

Is the AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics card compatible with the ASUS M5A97 motherboard?

Hi Lewis,


This is actually a question close to something we've answered previously, I had to double check that I wasn't answering this question twice. But, yes - your ASUS M5A97 is definitely more than capable of taking an AMD Radeon HD 7970 GPU.




You can even CrossFire the HD 7970 if you wanted to, but a single HD 7970 is actually more than capable for most games out right now, even games like Battlefield 3 or Crysis 3.

Which GPU should I buy for $300?

Question asked by Josh from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Mar 19, 2013 4:46 am

Which graphics card should I get for around $300, I can go a bit above if I need to.

Hi Josh,


The $300 mark for a GPU upgrade these days is a damn good position to be in - because you can start choosing some seriously fast GPUs. Something I'd recommend for the $300-or-so price point is AMD's Radeon HD 7950 GPU. This gives you a high-end part, with 3GB of fast on-board GDDR5 to play with.




Sapphire's Radeon HD 7950 can be had for $309.99 from Newegg, which fits your budget perfectly (you did say you can go a bit above, so $10 is only a little bit above that $300 price point).


This GPU will allow you to play all of the latest games at medium-to-high graphics at 60fps or more, easily.

I play mainly FPS games and want to upgrade, should I want for Intel's Haswell or get Ivy Bridge now?

Question asked by Wayne from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs Content | Posted: Mar 13, 2013 4:30 am

I am looking at upgrading to a new system. I will be mainly playing 1st person shooters but also some virtual servers. Should I buy an Ivy Bridge CPU or wait for a Haswell CPU?

Hi Wayne,


This is tricky, but I still recommend Ivy Bridge. Sure, when Intel release Haswell it'll bench better than its predecessors and the competition - but will the cost involved be worth it? Maybe.




If you were playing with a multi-GPU, multi-monitor setup - most likely. The CPU bottleneck would be removed some what with the extra grunt, but again, by how much? 5-10% maybe? 15-20% would be my guess on a high-end, multi-GPU, multi-monitor gaming rig in say, Battlefield 3. But then, you'd not be worrying and just buying it when it hits.


I'd recommend getting an Intel Core i7 3770K, that'll see you through the next year or two at least. You can overclock them easily to 4.5GHz, which will remove most bottlenecks from a single-GPU rig, too.

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