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What's the fastest processor for the ASUS Z270 motherboard?

Question by Devin from United States | Answered by Tyler Bernath | CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: 6 hours, 5 mins ago

I have had my current build for two years - ASUS Z270, Intel Core i7 7700K, 16GB of RAM, and GeForce GTX 1060.


I'm getting bored with it and want to upgrade. Can I get a better CPU without changing motherboard?



Hi Devin,


I know the feeling of getting bored with a build, I change parts a lot myself. With that said, Intel's Z270 chipset pretty much maxes out with the Core i7 7700K CPU that you have.




Not all is lost, though. If you are comfortable with it, you could likely sell your current setup and get enough to purchase a decent AMD X570 motherboard, then you will only be out of pocket on the CPU.


AMD's Ryzen 5 3600 will be comparable to your current 7700K, so you can start there with plenty of upgrade options in your future.

Should I leave some SSD capacity empty for best performance?

Question by Matt from Canada | Answered by Tyler Bernath | Storage | Posted: 4 days, 6 hours ago

SSDs slow down as they get filled with data, so I was wondering if there any percentage of the drive I should leave unused to keep my drive working at full speed?


I have an 850 EVO 250GB.

Hi Paul,


First off, thanks for the question!


SSDs come from the vendor with a certain level of overprovisioning (OP) baked in. Most drives are set somewhere around 7% capacity, this means your 240GB drive is 256GB and so on. Samsung Magician recommends users set OP to 10% for heavy workloads, but for typical gaming, the default settings work fine.




If your performance issue arises after filling the drive past 75% capacity, I would honestly look towards migrating to a higher capacity solution. No level of overprovisioning will help an SSD that's full of data.

AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT or NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER?

Question by John from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards | Posted: 1 week, 4 days ago

Hey TT,


I'm wanting to build a new gaming rig and I'm having a hard time choosing between the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER and the new AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT graphics cards.


Right now I'm using a 27-inch 1080p 60Hz monitor but want to buy a new 1440p 144Hz gaming monitor, and can't decide which graphics card to go for. I play all of the latest esports-style games like CS:GO, League of Legends, Rocket League, Apex Legends, and Overwatch.




Regards, John.

Hey John,


This is a hard one because now AMD has some great Navi-based graphics cards that make the decision between Team Red and Team Green that much harder... but there is no wrong decision here.




I'm a big fan of both the RTX 2060 SUPER (my review here) and RX 5700 XT (my review here) so it would come down to the monitor. I play two of the games you mentioned here (Apex Legends and Overwatch) and I have been doing extensive testing of both of these games in real-world testing on both the RTX 2060 SUPER and RX 5700 XT.


Both of these cards can handle 1080p and 1440p at 120-144FPS average if you dial some of the in-game details down, as you want to ensure you're hitting those high FPS numbers in esports games.




Amazon has the Samsung CJG5 monitor for $320, offering a huge 32-inch display with a native 1440p res and 144Hz refresh rate. This will work beautifully with either FreeSync or G-Sync, and will work on either of the graphics cards you're looking at.


Personally, I think the 30-32 inch monitor size with 1440p native res and slick 144Hz refresh rate is perfect. 27-inch is a little too small, and really - the 32-inch model is only $50 more. The 27-inch model is $268 if the $320 price is out of your budget.

Can I remove the heat sink on the Corsair Force MP600 SSD?

Question by Simon from Australia | Answered by Tyler Bernath | Storage | Posted: 1 week, 1 day ago

Hey ATE,


I purchased the ASUS ROG Strix X570-E motherboard along with a Corsair Force MP600 SSD.


I just realized upon installing my motherboard that it comes with passive cooling for the M.2 slots. I am now wondering if the large heat sink on the MP600 can be removed so it will fit in my motherboard. Would greatly appreciate any input on this?



Hi Simon,


I'm not 100% familiar with the Corsair MP600 myself, but in gathering information, I did note several reviews where the heat sink was removed for testing. I would go out on a limb and say the drive likely has a set of screws mounting the heat sink from behind and no further adhesive is used to hold the two together.




That said, I would look around the drive to make sure there isn't a warranty void sticker before removing the heat sink. If you do decide to remove the heat sink, your drive should then be a familiar 2280 m.2 solution and should fit with ease into your X570 motherboard.


You may also want to do your own research first if it is a good idea to even remove the heat sink, as it is likely there for a reason and heat could become an issue and might decrease the life of the drive.

What RAM should go with AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and GTX 1660?

Question by Connor from United States | Answered by Tyler Bernath | RAM | Posted: 1 week, 5 days ago

I'm building a PC and have decided on an AMD Ryzen 5 3600X and GTX 1660.


How much memory should I purchase and does speed matter?

Hi Connor,


We have you covered! From my own research and reaching out to my colleagues, speed certainly matters depending on the workload. I would recommend 16GB for a gaming machine and 3600MHz seems to be the sweet spot for DDR4.




Looking at kits, in many cases, a 3600MHz kit is going to be B-die by default, but it also could be E die which may have more room for tweaking.


Our memory reviews always list the die type so you can use that as a point of reference. Otherwise, selecting a kit specifically binned and targeted for AMD Ryzen 3000 parts would be a great choice, such as the recently announced G.SKILL Trident Z Neo kits.

Intel Core i5 9400 or AMD Ryzen 5 3600 CPU, which one?

Question by Timothy from United Kingdom (Great Britain) | Answered by Tyler Bernath | CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: Aug 8, 2019 @ 10:41 CDT

I'm looking to build a new system in the next month. I've pretty much settled on the AMD Ryzen 5 3600X or Intel i5 9600KF.


Not looking for overclocking just want something that will last, can you advise me?



Hi Tim,


First off, you mentioned you aren't looking for overclocking, but have chosen two CPUs that offer unlocked multipliers. If you are serious about the no overclocking, I would suggest you save a little bit of money and look at the Intel Core i5 9400 and AMD Ryzen 5 3600.




Both of these CPUs offer 6 cores and boost to ~4.1GHz - the Ryzen has the multi-core advantage with 12 threads, so if you have plans to use this as a media editing machine, I would be leaning that way.


The new Ryzen 5 also has the slight advantage of PCIe 4.0 and X570 which promises to be a solid chipset. With current pricing, you would be saving around $60 USD or 50 pound, allowing you to invest in more RAM, a higher capacity SSD, or both.


All the best!

What's the best option for PCIe Wi-Fi cards at the moment?

Question by James from United States | Answered by Tyler Bernath | Networking | Posted: Aug 8, 2019 @ 1:23 CDT

Hello ATE!


I recently built a PC and with ethernet not being an option in my room. What's the best option for PCIe Wi-Fi cards?



Hi James,


Thanks for reaching out to us!




I have seen my fair share of wireless NICs over the years and ASUS has been the most reliable solutions by far. That said, right now, we are on the cusp of Wi-Fi 6 rolling out to the masses and several vendors should release their client adapters soon. If this is something you are interested in, I would grab a cheap USB adapter to get you by and towards the holiday season pick up the new PCIe solution from ASUS.


If you plan on staying with your current setup, which I'm going to assume is 802.11ac, I would 100% recommend the PCE-AC68 from ASUS or if your router is by chance 4x4 capable, the PCE-AC88.


Now, there are cheaper options namely the Archer T9E and T6E from TP-Link, but I have no hands-on experience with those. Hope this has helped!

What is the best portable hard drive for Xbox One X?

Question by Seth from United States | Answered by Tyler Bernath | Storage | Posted: Aug 7, 2019 @ 9:27 CDT



What is the best portable hard drive for Xbox One X?





Honestly, if you have the increased budget, I would take full advantage of that USB 3.0 port on your Xbox One and go with a portable SSD. Seagate makes purpose-built solutions with their Game Drive series and if you want more options you could grab the Samsung T5 or SanDisk Extreme; both are solid drives.




If the budget isn't there or if you just want more capacity for games, Seagate has two options; Game Drive 4TB or Game Drive Hub 8TB. Once again you can break away from the "gaming" drive and save money by purchasing a Backup Plus 4TB from Seagate or My Passport 4TB from WD.


Hope this helps you out!

Passive CPU cooling to handle the AMD Ryzen 3 2200 CPU

Question by Ady from United Kingdom (Great Britain) | Answered by Tyler Bernath | Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: Aug 5, 2019 @ 16:00 CDT

Is there a passive CPU cooler to cope adequately with an AMD Ryzen 3 2200G CPU (no overclocking)?


Gaming included such as Total War, Men of War, etc.





Thanks for the question! In doing my research for your question I came upon several solutions that may fit the bill. Depending on your personal situation, the NoFan CR-80EH is a capable cooler that is rated for 80w TDP, as you know your Ryzen 3 2200G is a 65w CPU so this should give ample headroom.




A second option is the SilverStone Heligon HE02 if you have the headroom in your chassis. At 160mm tall and 170mm wide, this cooler will need the additional space afforded by full ATX motherboards. This cooler can support 95w TDP fanless and 150w TDP if you run a single 120mm case fan.




The last option I have for you is the DEEPCOOL Lucifer K2, a budget option, but capable of cooling 130w TDP if you run a single 120mm case fan. You will also need a bit of room in your chassis for this solution as it sits at 163mm tall and 131mm wide.


Hope this helps!

Is there a benefit moving to the new Core i5 over my current Core i5?

Question by Don from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: Apr 17, 2016 @ 17:45 CDT

I have an older Z77 with I5 3570K and was thinking about upgrading my system. How much benefit would the new I5 processor give me compared to the older one I have now? My system is mainly for gaming and I've got an R9 280X right now which I'm teetering on upgrading as well but, want to see how the new cards fair in the coming months.

Hey Don,


This is a good question and something that more people need to know. Your current Intel Core i5-3570K is still a great processor, with the new Core i5-4670K only being around 10% faster - but is it worth the additional $219? Not really.



The newer Core i5-4670K won't provide any noticeable improvement in gaming performance, but for CPU limited tasks you should see an increase. You'd be better off spending the money on your video card, and since you were on the verge of upgrading - you would've maybe spent (let's say) $350 - but now you have an additional $219 to spend. You don't need to spend all of it, but let's say you spent $499, that's only $150 extra - thanks to the savings from not buying the CPU, you can enjoy a much beefier video card.


This means you can grab something like the AMD Radeon R9 Fury for $499, and ensure you get 60FPS+ at 1080p and 1440p without a problem, and even most games at 4K will run at 60FPS+ on the R9 Fury.