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Gaming at 1440p @ 144Hz, should I upgrade my GPU or everything else?

Question by Ernie from Canada | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards | Posted: Feb 25, 2016 @ 23:29 CST

Hello TweakTown..I am looking for some upgrade suggestions. I currently have an i5 2500K at 4.6 GHz. 8 gigs ddr3 1600. ASUS Maximus iv Gene-z MoBo. Sapphire HD7950 Vapor-x. Samsung 850 pro 256 gig and 1TB HD. Play alot of the new games like Blackops 3 and GTA V. at [email protected], but looking to move to [email protected] Just wondering if you would be worthwhile to upgrade everything or the video card. Thank you.

Hey there Ernie,

This is an easy one - upgrade your GPU. The Intel Core i5-2500K @ 4.6GHz is more than fast enough for gaming at 2560x1440 @ 144Hz, but I would suggest upgrading to a 16GB kit of DDR3 RAM. The motherboard you have is fine, and so are the SSD and HDD setup you've got for your storage goodness.


Now, gaming at 2560x1440 isn't an easy task for the Radeon HD 7950, which is why you're going to need to upgrade - and that's just at 60FPS. Increasing that to 144FPS, is an entire new argument. I would normally recommend grabbing another HD 7950 and going Crossfire, but I think an entire new, next-gen card is required. This is where things will get hard - do you buy something now, or wait for the next-gen cards that AMD will release in the coming months?

If you upgrade now, I'd suggest something like the SAPPHIRE Tri-X Radeon R9 Fury - which will be more than capable of 144FPS at 2560x1440 - that is, if you reduce some in-game settings depending on the game. With something like Grand Theft Auto V, you're looking at around 86FPS average with the R9 Fury - not close to 144FPS, but that's with maxed out settings. You can reduce some settings, and hit 144FPS without a problem.

The second option is waiting for AMD's new Polaris-based video cards, which we should begin to get a better picture of next month at the Game Developers Conference. We should expect a full launch in the June/July timeframe, if you can wait it out for a few months.

I want a 4K desktop/1080p 60FPS gaming PC, which parts do I upgrade?

Question by Waldo from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Computer Systems | Posted: Feb 18, 2016 @ 17:30 CST

I have a few generations old Core i7-2600 3.40 GHz and an NVIDIA GTX 760, I want to do 4K desktop and 1080p60Hz gaming, do I upgrade the CPU/MB combo or video card or both?

Hey there Waldo,

Okay, so you want to upgrade your older Intel Core i7-2600 processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 with something a bit more powerful. You haven't said you wanted it just for one thing (4K desktop) or the other (1080p 60FPS gaming), so I'm going to go with the latter - as the former, 4K desktop use, will come for free with the upgrade.


You're asking if you should upgrade the CPU and motherboard, or just the GPU - but I think you should upgrade the GPU and leave the CPU/MB upgrade for the future. If you're wanting a new GPU that will provide you with the power of running a 4K desktop, while gaming at 1080p/60FPS, then a new GPU would be my recommendation. Even something like the GeForce GTX 960 will run 1080p/60FPS in most games on the market, and cost less than $200.

I would wait to see what you think of the GPU upgrade and the added performance before you spend money on the CPU/MB upgrade. You'd need a new CPU, motherboard and RAM if you do decide to do that, as well as a reinstallation of Windows. Whereas, with the GPU upgrade you just have to take the old one out, pop the new one in, and enjoy added gaming performance.

Should I upgrade my AMD FX-6300, or wait to upgrade later this year?

Question by Chris from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: Feb 15, 2016 @ 23:58 CST

Should I upgrade to a faster AMD CPU or save to buy a new motherboard, CPU and RAM? I currently have an AMD FX-6300, 8GB of GDDR3 and 2 MSI Radeon r9 280x's in crossfire. I think I might have a CPU bottleneck and was thinking about switching to an Intel build (i5 6600k).My other option might be to get a better AMD CPU (AMD FX-8350) and use the rest of the build I currently have, and upgrade to an Intel base system in about a year.

Hey Chris,

The AMD FX-6300 you've got right now is pretty good, thanks to your 2 x Radeon R9 280X cards in Crossfire, but you are itching for an upgrade. What I would do is buy another 8GB of RAM to bump yourself up to 16GB and wait a little while for your upgrade. You could upgrade to the FX-8350 as a "for now" upgrade, but that would be up to you.


As for waiting until later this year to build an Intel-based setup, this is what I would recommend doing. AMD has some exciting stuff coming out later this year thanks to their new Zen architecture, and so does Intel with the big shift to 14nm. Intel will be launching various CPUs in their new enthusiast range, which should push the price of the Skylake-based gear, like the Core i7-6700K, down. When this happens, it's going to be the perfect time for people like yourself to upgrade.

So, if you have to upgrade now - I would get another 8GB RAM and the FX-8350 and then wait until later this year for a bigger upgrade.

Should I upgrade my Core i5-2500K, or my GPU?

Question by Jason from Canada | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: Feb 9, 2016 @ 17:27 CST

The question about a i5 2500k got me wondering. I have an i5 2500k at 4.0 GHz and I was wondering how much performance am I losing if I were to get a GTX 950 Ti vs. paired with a new CPU.

Hey Jason!

First off, your Intel Core i5-2500K is fine - thanks to you overclocking it to 4GHz, you've got performance that most people don't when they leave it at stock. As for the upgrade, if you're playing games - then your CPU will be absolutely fine, and I would suggest you upgrade your GPU.


There isn't an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 Ti, but there is a GTX 950 and GTX 960. Either of these would allow for 1080p gaming at 60FPS, which is going to be great.

But, if you upgraded your CPU - you wouldn't see much performance benefits in day-to-day use, or in gaming. If you were doing CPU intensive things like video editing and number crunching work - 100% yes, the CPU upgrade is the path you want to take.

Will I be able to use multiple Pascal-based cards without NVLink?

Question by Mark from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards | Posted: Feb 8, 2016 @ 23:43 CST

Can i use more than one Pascal GPU on my motherboard without an NVLink interconnect? What performance increase would I see if i had 3 Pascal GPU's (with and without NVLink) versus 3 Titan X GPU's?

Hey Mark,

This is something we are going to be getting into later in the year, but first off - NVLink isn't something that you're going to see slapped onto the next ASUS, GIGABYTE or MSI motherboards in the near future. NVLink is poised for the prosumer and professional market, for supercomputers, and insane servers and number crunching systems.

For those who want a bit more information; NVLink allows multiple GPUs to communicate with each other directly, versus going over the slower PCIe bus. NVLink also ushers in 5-12x the speed of the PCIe 3.0 interconnect, while enabling high-speed GPU communication with the CPU, allowing them to share system memory at the same speed. Pretty damn good, eh?

So you shouldn't need an NVLink-capable system, as you should be able to buy multiple Pascal-based video cards and enjoy super-insane performance. I think we'll see some prosumer boards in the future with NVLink, but there's nothing on the PC side of things that would take advantage of it for the general consumer. If you were to use it for something like video processing, etc - then maybe, you might need the speeds of NVLink. For most, if not all consumers and gamers - NVLink won't be used (at least for now).


Will my Core i5-2500K be enough for VR gaming on the HTC Vive?

Question by André from Portugal | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: Feb 4, 2016 @ 20:55 CST

Hi there. Great site, one of my favorites, by the way. I am getting pretty pumped regarding VR (particulary the HTC Vive) and I believe it will reVIVE my taste for Pc Gaming, a taste that as been diminuishing in the last years. I have a 2500K CPU (overclocked to 4.2Mhz) and a GTX670 GPU. Of course I will have to upgrade my GPU (will follow your advice and wait for the Pascal GPUs, lets just hope the performance increase is as good as everyone expects) but regarding my CPU, do you believe it will be enough? When I run the Oculus Rift Requirements Tools it says its not compatible but from my research the Intel i5-4590 equivalent they recommend has less performance that a 2500K overclocked, right? It´s a bit early, I know, but what do you thing?

Cheers, André Mendes.

Hey there André,

The requirements that both Oculus and HTC have put online are for the optimum VR experience, and personally, I wouldn't take them too seriously. Sure, you can't be running into buying an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive with your Pentium II 300, 4MB of RAM and a 3dfx Voodoo video card, but your Core i5-2500K would be plenty fast enough for VR games.


Then as you've said, your Core i5-2500K is overclocked to 4.2GHz which is pretty damn good - I would feel confident in your CPU. You've said that you're upgrading your NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 to a new Pascal-based video card when NVIDIA launches them this year, which is the biggest part of the VR upgrade puzzle. Your CPU will be fine, and down the track feel free to upgrade it to something faster - but for now, I don't see any VR titles being CPU bound. The Core i5-2500K you've got should be able to handle VR gaming like a boss.

Will my DDR3 RAM hold back NVIDIA's next-gen Pascal GPU?

Question by Ronald from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards | Posted: Feb 3, 2016 @ 17:16 CST

I have a i7 4790k paired up with an MSI Z97 PC Mate motherboard that only supports DDR3 memory. I plan on upgrading to the Pascal's high-end GFX when it launches, do you think my DDR3 or any other spec will bottle neck the new generation of NVIDIA's GPUs in anyway? Thanks in advance!

Hey Ronald!

This is a good question, and something that's easy to answer: no, no it won't. Buy the next-gen Pascal GPU without any worries.


Done? Yeah, we are - but I'll explain a little. Your system RAM won't hold you back at all, and this would apply to both next-gen AMD and NVIDIA cards. If you had DDR2, then we might have a different answer - but that would be more because of the older CPU and motherboard you'd have, and not the DDR2 RAM itself.

DDR3 won't hold you back, and you have a pretty damn good CPU with your Core i7-4790K, too. You can rest assured, that any Pascal-based GPU from NVIDIA is going to work absolutely fine in your system, without any bottlenecking. The only bottlenecking to speak of, would be from your CPU - but there aren't many games that are CPU bound these days.

Should I upgrade my Radeon HD 7970 Crossfire GPUs to an R9 380X?

Question by George from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards | Posted: Feb 10, 2016 @ 16:18 CST

Hi I have the fx8350 @4.5 GHz and 16gig's of RAM and two hd7970's. My question should I upgrade my gpu to the r9 380 x 8 gig of RAM or is there a better option also will my cpu hinder performance

Hey there George,

Right now, I would hold off. Your current GPU setup with the 2 x Radeon HD 7970s in Crossfire is still mighty powerful - while in some games you'll notice an increase in performance in some games. The increase in games would come from the crappy Crossfire support in some games, but with games with great multi-GPU support, the HD 7970s in CF would still be a great rig.


What I would recommend, is selling your cards and upgrading to the R9 380X (if you really have an upgrade bug) - but then, you could wait for the new Polaris cards coming later in the year. If it were 100% up to me, I would wait for Polaris and then see how your upgrade path goes from there.

As for the CPU, the AMD FX-8350 @ 4.5GHz is more than enough for today. The FX-8350 @ stock is great but at 4.5GHz? You're fine in the CPU department. Any GPU upgrade won't be affected by the CPU upgrade, and if you don't upgrade - your FX-8350 @ 4.5GHz is going to be more than fine.

I'm not going to be gaming, which Z170-based motherboard should I buy?

Question by Slack from Australia | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Motherboards | Posted: Jan 29, 2016 @ 22:07 CST

Thinking of getting a Z170 motherboard with an Intel i7 on board for calculations. I don't need a graphics board as the in-built i7 graphics will do me (and the calculations I am doing cannot benefit from any video card computing). Is there a good quality motherboard out there that isn't for 'gamers'?

Hey there Slack,

Yes, yes there are. If you're getting an Intel Core i7 processor and don't need a beefy GPU, then a 'non-gaming' motherboard will be fine. ASUS, GIGABYTE, MSI and all of the other motherboard manufacturers all make great gaming motherboards, but they all make awesome 'non-gaming' motherboards, too.


I'd recommend something like the ASUS Z170-A, which is right up your alley. It arrives with the Intel Z170 chipset, ready for that beasty Core i7-6700K. You still get some premium features as our Motherboard guru Steven Bassiri says, with USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C, a 32Gbps M.2 port for a super-quick storage solution, and Intel GbE. There's still a PCI slot, D-SUB, and even PS/2 connectivity. It's a totally 'non-gaming' motherboard, with some truly kick ass features.

And the price, you're looking at $149.99 on Amazon - making it quite the motherboard for under $150.

Which VR headset should I buy? The Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive?

Question by Adrian from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Displays & Projectors | Posted: Jan 24, 2016 @ 18:35 CST

Hello TweakTown!

I missed the launch of the Oculus Rift earlier this month, but I'm still deciding on what VR headset I should invest in? The Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive?

I'm currently running an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, but I might upgrade to the new GPUs when they're announced. I still need help deciding on which VR headset to invest in. What's your recommendation?

Hey Adrian,

This is a good question, that's hard to answer. First off, either VR headset is going to have you sitting there with a smile on your face. The Oculus Rift has nearly everything that the HTC Vive has, sans the Lighthouse controllers. Oculus has its own Touch controllers coming out, but they won't be here until later this year. HTC however, will launch its Vive headset with the Lighthouse controllers in the box.


Both headsets are very similar in resolution and refresh rate, as well as size and weight. The big difference that I think there's going to be is... content. Oculus will most likely have more content, as it has the bigger name in the VR world right now. Personally, I think the HTC Vive will be the "#pcmasterrace" VR headset, thanks to the collaboration with Valve, and concentration on a high-end experience (by providing the Lighthouse controllers in the box). The Lighthouse controllers themselves are super impressive, as they're very responsive - this is mostly thanks to the two sensors that HTC includes in the package.

If it were up to me, I would suggest the HTC Vive. The Vive is going to kick some serious ass, and you get the Lighthouse controllers on day one. By the time Oculus launches its Touch controllers, HTC and Valve should have tons of games that are controller-based, giving them a serious leg up on Oculus. But, if you decide on the Rift, don't feel bad - the experience is going to be just as awesome.

Can you believe VR gaming is nearly here? I'm more excited than I've been in a very long time.