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Helping with tech questions - TweakTown's Ask the Experts - Page 8

TweakTown's Ask the Experts

Is there much difference in performance between high-end motherboards?

Question asked by Toni from Denmark | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Motherboards Content | Posted: Jan 27, 2013 4:39 am

How much difference is between high-end motherboards in performance? lets say asus sabertooth z77, Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H and Biostar Hi-Fi Z77X. i want to overclock them but i dont know which to buy.

Hi Toni,


This will probably get me a bunch of comments saying I'm wrong - but at the end of the day, the performance difference between high-end motherboards is not that great. I'm talking strictly performance here, not features - but pure, raw numbers.




Sure, there'll be a few percentage points between motherboards on benchmarks, but it's not like motherboard A versus motherboard B is a 30% difference in performance. You're looking at BIOS differences, PCIe slots, overclocking headroom, 3- or 4-way GPU support, board quality (transistors, cooling, etc) and then finally, SATA controller/s, etc.


So there are differences between high-end motherboards, but performance you'll find will be in the same 5-10% range of any board in its class. Anything from ASUS, Gigabyte, ASRock and others will give you some seriously great performance.

I want to get some new RAM for my computer but want to make sure its compatible first!

Question asked by Oded from Israel | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | RAM Content | Posted: Jan 26, 2013 5:05 am

Hi, i want to buy a new 2x4GB RAM kit to my computer. I have a GA-EP45T-UD3LR mobo and wanted to know if when choosing the memory i gotta stick to the supported chipset of each company and model.


For example, i really wanna get some G.skill set of memories but the product details says that the supported mobo chipsets are P67/Z68/P55/AMD7xx.....


Will i be able use it on my mobo? If so, then will it run at max speed supported by my mobo?

is there any risk or other issues that might pop up?



Hi Oded,


Most RAM manufacturers won't state that their memory will be compatible with all boards, but at the end of the day it's still just RAM. By using that rule, if your board takes DDR3, then any DDR3 from any company, will work. As long as it's around the same speed (anything faster will run its clocks lower to work), and the same pin count (200-pin, 240-pin, etc).




You can buy any of the G.Skill kits, as long as it's the same DDR type as your motherboard. Your Gigabyte EP45T-UD3LR takes DDR3 memory, so you'll be fine. Get any of their dual-channel DDR3 kits and away you go!

Should I get Corsair's H110, or the H100i for my NZXT Phantom 410?

Question asked by Severus from Romania | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Cases, Cooling & PSU Content | Posted: Jan 25, 2013 3:58 am

Hello again Tweakers,


I'm going to get some watercooling for my rig and wanted to know if the new Corsair H110 will fit in my NZXT Phantom 410 without additional hole modifications (like the Kraken X60), or if I should just go with the H100i which I know fits.


Thank you

Hi Severus,


The NZXT Phantom 410 should be able to house Corsair's H100 cooler, but it would be up to you if you want to go for the newer H100i. From what I've read in preparation for this question, Corsair's H100 will fit into the NZXT Phantom 410.




For peace of mind, I would go for the Corsair H100i, as you said - you know it works. That way you won't be worried when installing it. Let us know how you go! Definitely comment back here when you finish the build and let us know how you went!


Edit: I read the question wrong, and presumed you wrote "H100". The H110 is a 280mm unit, so by the looks of the Phantom 410, it will not fit. The H100i, however, will fit - so my recommendation is the same - go for the H100i!

I have an EVGA GeForce GTX 680 and a Silverstone 450W PSU - is this enough?

Question asked by John from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Cases, Cooling & PSU Content | Posted: Jan 24, 2013 2:41 am

I have a EVGA GeForce GTX 680 4GB w/Backplate GPU card. Do you think a SILVERSTONE ST45SF-G 450W SFX12V PSU is enough to power up for a M-ITX setup? Because I have a SILVERSTONE FT-03 MINI case which only fits a SFX 12V PSU.

Hi John,


Normally I'd be fearful of recommending a 450W PSU for a video card like that, but from EVGA's own website, the maximum power draw of that GPU is 195W. If you don't overclock the EVGA GeForce GTX 680, then the rest of your system - let's say it's a Core i7, 8-16GB of RAM, SSD and a few days - should be fine.




The actual power draw is always different to what people think, and companies like EVGA will state that the requirements are a 'minimum of 550 Watt power supply', but that is usually an older PSU, or a non-brand name PSU. Silverstone make some great power supplies, so you should be fine.

My computer shuts off whenever I try to play a game, what could be going wrong?

Question asked by Cory from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Computer Systems Content | Posted: Jan 23, 2013 5:22 am

My computer shuts off completely when i try to play a game, it lets me play for a few then shuts off. Also, I have checked all the hardware and put fresh gel on the heat sink and in the video card, and it is still doing it. What else could it be?

Hi Cory,


This is a hard one, as it could really be anything. Our previous question was very similar to this, so I'll give you similar advice. Step-by-step elimination. You say it only happens when gaming - does it happen in every single game? Have you tried re-installing Windows? Defragging your hard drive?




I would try disconnecting all of your external devices - speakers, ethernet cable (or turn Wi-Fi off), external storage, etc. Go down to just bare monitor, keyboard and mouse cables being plugged in. From there, test out a game in single player and see if it crashes - if it doesn't - reconnect things one by one.


I would also suggest getting some temperature monitoring programs like MSI's Afterburner and Real Temp or Core Temp for your CPU.

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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.

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