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I'd like some suggestions on a GPU upgrade!

Question asked by Igor from Bosnia and Herzegowina | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Feb 27, 2013 3:30 am

Some suggestions on upgrading my system?


Hello, I'm currently planning to upgrade some stuff on my rig. Currently I have:

  • Motherboard: Asus P8H77-V
  • CPU: Intel i7-2600
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3 1333MHz (2x 4GB dual channel)
  • GPU: ASUS HD6770 (EAH6770)
  • HDD: WD Caviar Black 1TB


I'd like some suggestions on which gaming GPU to get with cost of under 400$. Also, I've been planning to get 16GB (4x 4GB) of Kingston's HyperX Genesis DDR3 RAM. Is this RAM a good choice?


Thank you!

Hi Igor,


$400 is a great budget to spend on a new GPU as you're not limited to the low- or mid-range GPUs and can really stretch your legs in terms of getting a great GPU. You could go for either an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670, or AMD's Radeon HD 7970.




I use HD 7970s at home and I've come to really love them, they offer some insane performance and have a bunch of overclocking headroom included, which is always a great thing to have. You can grab Sapphire's Radeon HD 7970 for around $400-$450 (depending on the model) - Newegg sell the stock HD 7970 from Sapphire for $409.99.


You could also go for the GeForce GTX 670, which you can get for the same $400-$450 price range. It all comes down to which side you want to barrack for. The HD 7970 would allow a drop-in installation, not having to remove your drivers and install NVIDIA's drivers, if that helps your decision.


If it were up to me, grab the Sapphire HD 7970.


As for the RAM, the Kingston kit that you're eyeing off is fine - you'll enjoy that for sure!

I recently asked about a GPU upgrade, but I've increased my budget, does that change your recommendation?

Question asked by Andrew from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Feb 26, 2013 4:25 am

Hi i recently asked a question concerning Radeon graphics cards, and iv'e decided to up my budget. I'm looking at the 7970 and 7870. The 7970 has almost twice as many stream processors. the 3GB versus 2GB isnt a huge factor since i think either would be more than sufficient for my 27 in monitor. I like the idea of a 384 bit as opposed to a 256 bit but once again the core clock speed confuses me. I know i won't be able to overclock myself, and the cards sold on newegg say something about a boost. is the boost already activated, and is that the same same as overclocking? and do cards sold come pre overclocked? IN addition i don't know what CrossFireX is, which is listed under most of the cards I'm looking at. IS the 7970 worth the extra money, and is there a preclocked version i can buy, install and get to gaming right away?

Hi Andrew,


With the increased budget, you should definitely get yourself the AMD Radeon HD 7970. The 3GB of VRAM on the card itself won't do much unless you're cranking the anti-aliasing, so it does come in handy for some titles.




384-bit versus 256-bit is just the internal bandwidth - think of it as the higher those numbers, the more numbers the GPU can crunch inside of itself. The higher the number it can crunch, the more performance it provides.


As for overclocking, some of the GPUs come with a pre-overclocked state. Some of them are advertised with "Boost", which is what that means - it has been overclocked for you.


CrossFireX is multi-GPU action, more than one Radeon working together to increase performance. CrossFireX (CFX) can work with up to 4 GPUs, and this type of setup is only for those with super high-res monitor setups, or multi-monitor configurations.


I would look at getting Sapphire's Radeon HD 7970 3GB OC with Boost - this card is $409.99 from Newegg.

Should I buy the Radeon HD 7770 or the HD 7850 for gaming?

Question asked by Andrew from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Feb 25, 2013 2:20 am

I'm getting pretty heavy into gaming and my graphics card just can't handle these new games, even on low settings.


My current card is an ATI Radeon HD 4650


Would you recommend the Radeon HD 7770 or the Radeon HD 7850? the 7850 has a 256 bit memory interface while the 7770 has only 128. However, the 7770's clock speed is 1020 Mhz while the 7850 is only 860 Mhz! Which would be optimal for high graphics gaming.

Hi Andrew,


Both GPUs are great, but the Radeon HD 7850 definitely edges out the HD 7770 by a decent margin in most games. The better 256-bit memory interface helps in virtually all games - as for clock speeds, that's what overclocking is for!




The HD 7850 gives you a superior memory interface, but lacks the clock speed. If it did have the higher clock speed by default - not only would it absolutely kill the HD 7850, it would use more power. The biggest reason is that it would cannibalize the HD 7770's sales. I would definitely go with the HD 7850!


You can grab Sapphire's Radeon HD 7850 from Newegg for $185 - this is the 2GB GPU variant, and is just $20 more than the 1GB version.

I need a hand upgrading my PC, what should I do next?

Question asked by Kimir from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Computer Systems Content | Posted: Feb 18, 2013 3:36 am

I currently own:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K overclocked to 4.5GHz Quad-Core Processor
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master V8 69.7 CFM Rifle Bearing CPU Cooler
  • Motherboard: MSI P67-G45 (B3)
  • Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory
  • Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive
  • Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive
  • Storage: Corsair Force Series GT 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk
  • Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk
  • Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 6990 4GB Video Card
  • Case: NZXT Phantom (Black) ATX Full Tower Case
  • Power Supply: NZXT HALE 90 1000W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply
  • Optical Drive: Samsung SH-B123L/RSBP Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 Professional (OEM) (64-bit)
  • Keyboard: Razer Blackwidow Ultimate 2013 Wired Gaming Keyboard
  • Mouse: Razer DeathAdder Wired Optical Mouse
  • Monitors: SA350H x2
  • Other: Arctic Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo


I plan on upgrading my motherboard to the ASUS Maximus V Formula Z77 for better OC of my 2600k, purchasing a single 6970 for Tri-fire, then possibly getting a premade liquid cooling system for my CPU.


If I do what I described above, will I see a significant performance boost? Is this a good decision, or should I sell my 6990, not purchase a 6970, and get another GPU?


Also, what liquid cooling system (premade) would you recommend (Swiftech 220) for overclocking 5 ghz, or would you stick to the Coolermaster V8?



Hi Kimir,


Nice system you have there! It already kicks enough ass, so the upgrade I'll suggest is quite tame. Sure, you could upgrade your motherboard or cooler and get a little bit more out of your CPU - but that's all - a little bit.




If you're after more gaming performance, upgrade your GPU. Sell your current GPU, which would get a couple of hundred dollars and yourself two new fast single-GPUs. Two Sapphire Radeon HD 7950s, or two new GeForce GTX 670s.


You'd see a near doubling in gaming frame rates, easily. I wouldn't bother upgrading your CPU until you're completely bottlenecked by your GPUs. You're already running a Core i7 at 4.5GHz - that's more than enough. Cranking up to 4.8-5GHz won't give you any gains at all in games from 4.5GHz.


Third-generation Core processors are of course better, and they will give you slightly better performance in everything (including games), but the investment would be better injected into your GPUs - in my opinion. If you were running a stock 2600K, then I'd suggest overclocking or maybe an upgrade - but you're already sitting on 4.5GHz.


Get some new GPUs! :)

I want to buy a new monitor, but would I need a new GPU if I bought a 120Hz monitor?

Question asked by Drugsh from India | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Displays & Projectors Content | Posted: Feb 15, 2013 1:49 am

I am looking for good 27-inch monitor for gaming and movies... since I'm using Sapphire's Radeon HD 7870 XT GPU, I am very confused between 60Hz or 120Hz monitors... but my real question is, can the HD 7870 XT provide 120 frames per second?


I can't afford a better GPU, so it really worth upgrading to a 120Hz monitor? Which monitor should I go for in both segments?



Hi Drugsh,


I'm a huge fan of 120Hz monitors, with four of the awesome monitors in my lab. Onto your question - yes, I think you should upgrade to a 120Hz monitor, but you won't get the full benefits of the monitor in most games. The monitor, overall, will be a huge jump from a 60Hz panel.




This is noticeable everywhere, from sliding windows around on your desktop, or moving your mouse cursor - the fluidity of a 120Hz monitor is unmatched by anything else on the market. Even those $1500+ huge 30-inch IPS-based monitors with 2560x1600 as their resolution.


Of course, in games, it helps even more - but you have to be achieving a minimum of 120 frames per second before any of the benefits are met to 100%. But, just because you can't reach 120 fps doesn't mean you won't tell a difference. I find even at 60-80 fps on my 120Hz monitor, it is smoother than a 60Hz panel.


So I would suggest buying a 120Hz monitor, specifically Samsung's S27A950D - I run this and I love it. You can always slot in a new GPU in the future, but for now you can just turn down some of the details to achieve 120 fps. In the games that you can't crank to 1080p and achieve 120 fps, you can reduce the resolution to something like 1280x720 and keep the details at medium-high to achieve high frame rates.


Watch this space, too, as we'll be bringing you some 120Hz content in the very near future.


Chris has commented saying that the Samsung S27A950D has been discontinued, which is weird as I purchased my nephew one just last week. So I'll change my recommendation to ASUS' VG278H monitor - another 27-inch, 120Hz-capable screen. Newegg sell this bad boy for $599.99.

Would my Mushkin Joule 700W PSU run Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 Vapor-X GPUs in CrossFire?

Question asked by Abood from Bahrain | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Cases, Cooling & PSU Content | Posted: Feb 14, 2013 4:24 am

Can the Mushkin Joule 700W run two Sapphire Radeon HD 5870s Vapor-X Edition on crossfire with an AMD Phenom 9950 BE and couple of Hard Drives ?

Hi Abood,


That's a good question, and something I think you'll be happy to know the answer to - yes, you should be fine. There's two 6-pin PCI-e power connectors required per GPU, with 75W through each connector gives us 300W. The board itself will provide 75W to the GPUs, so you're getting close to 450W there.




The rest of the system will use around 100-150W of power, so you should be fine. I don't know if you've already go one Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 Vapor-X GPU and are looking to get another, if this is the case, get yourself a HD 7770 and replace the 5870.


Your Mushkin Joule 700W PSU should be fine for either setup.


You can always CrossFire those GPUs down the track and they'll use less power, too.

I have a VisionTek Radeon HD 7850 clocked at 1GHz, if I want to CrossFire, does it need to run at the same speeds?

Question asked by Mark from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Feb 13, 2013 8:12 am

I have a Visiontek 7850HD clocked at 1000mhz. If I want to run in Crossfire mode with another 7850HD do the core clocks have to match?

Hi Mark,


Yes and no. It's better to have another GPU that is identical - mainly for aesthetics and clock speeds to be the same, but it doesn't need to be identical. If you choose to purchase another GPU that doesn't match your current VisionTek Radeon HD 7850 with 1GHz on the core clock speed.




If it doesn't match it, both GPUs will slow down to the slowest one. So, if you buy another HD 7850, and its core clock is say 950MHz, your original GPU at 1GHz will slow down to 950MHz.


I would suggest buying another VisionTek GPU, but if you can't - you should just be able to overclock the new GPU up to 1GHz to match your current GPU. Happy CrossFiring!

I'm looking to upgrade my system, can you offer some suggestions?

Question asked by Robert from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Computer Systems Content | Posted: Feb 12, 2013 4:08 am

Hello, I've been out of the component game for a while currently running the following setup and want to know if it's worth upgrading and any suggestions would be appreciated! Thank you!


  • ASUS Sabertooth X58 LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
  • Intel Core i7-950 Bloomfield 3.06GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor BX80601950
  • EVGA GTX 470
  • SSD for startup
  • 1TB for storage
  • 12 Gigs Corsair RAM

Hi Robert,


It really depends on what you're doing with your system, so we'll take it from two angles. First, if you're gaming, then I would suggest getting yourself some new GPUs. Maybe you could look at two Radeon HD 7970s, or you could get two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680s?




This would let you max out all games right now, no matter your setup - 1920x1080, 2560x1600, or even an EyeFinity or Surround Vision setup. Let's move onto the second option: CPU, motherboard and RAM upgrade.


Here I'd suggest two options - Intel's Core i7 3770K or the Core i7 3970X. The former is much cheaper, but the latter features a six-core design (12 threads with Hyper-Threading). If you're doing CPU intensive tasks like video editing, this would be the way I'd be going. Motherboard-wise, you just need to get yourself something that would match the CPU - and if you're moving to new GPUs, something a little higher-end.


I'd suggest Gigabyte's Z77X-UD4 TH, or X79-UP4 - both of these boards would kick ass in a new system. You could bring over your current RAM for the systems, but if you wanted some of that quad-channel goodness in the LGA 2011 system, you'd need to buy some new RAM.

If I upgrade my motherboard, will I see improvements to the frame rate in games?

Question asked by Shady from Egypt | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Motherboards Content | Posted: Feb 11, 2013 1:23 am

If I've changed my motherboard to a high end one, Will there be some improvement in frame-rates ?


If there are some tips please write it to me.


my PC

  • AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE ( Overclocked to 3.70 GHz )
  • Gigabyte GA-MA78LMT-S2 Motherboard
  • MSI R6970 Lightning ( Factory Overclocked )
  • Kingston Value-ram 4GB 1333 MHz
  • Western Digital HDD 160 GB 7200 RPM
  • Cougar 700CM Power Supply
  • Thermaltake Armor A60 Case
  • Samsung 900p LCD Monitor


Thank you.

Hi Shady,


I don't think you would see any improvements, as the motherboard doesn't really improve the overall power of your system. What I would suggest is, if you were to upgrade your motherboard - upgrade your CPU at the same time.




It's not worth investing more money into your system, because at the end of the day you're still constrained by your AMD CPU. Yes, it's overclocked, but it doesn't begin to compare with a mid-range Intel Core i5 processor, which you could buy for around $200, and a great motherboard for $100-$150.


This is more than you wanted to spend, I'm sure, but you could sell your current CPU and motherboard to contribute toward your upgrade. Doing this, would give you a huge change in your frame rates, and it would be visible in most games.


From here, the next option I would suggest is buying an SSD - this again will help your system feel much, much smoother. Your GPU is fine and won't need to be upgraded, the same goes for your RAM and PSU.

What's a good result for the new 3DMark? I'd like to know if my system is running well or not

Question asked by Ian from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Software Content | Posted: Feb 7, 2013 6:44 am

What is a decent 3DMark score for the new 3DMark? I'm just wondering if my system is decent or not.

Hi Ian,


There's no best or worst score in 3DMark, but you can find a close score to yours by visiting 3DMark's 'Results' site. There, you can search for systems with a particular CPU or GPU. From there, you can look at some results of a GPU or CPU close to, or exactly the same as yours.




This is the best way to see what results are close to yours, and whether your system is getting results that are similar (within 5-10% of those scores). Remember to check if they're running stock or overclocked CPU or GPU clocks, too!


If you find yourself not scoring near the compared results, I always suggest a fresh format and re-install of your operating system. This way you can get fresh drivers on, and wipe away any congestion on the system - kind of like a spring clean of your system.


Happy 3DMarking!