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Do I need x8 ports for AMD Radeon R9 390X Crossfire?

Question by Yadin from Honduras | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Motherboards | Posted: Jan 22, 2016 @ 17:14 CST

Hi guys, right now I have a 390x and I want to crossfire the thing, BUT! my motherboard only supports PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode) in crossfire (is an ASUS Z97M-Plus) I know that, in theory I need at least both at 8x, but how much performance will be lost if I don't change my MB (I'm quite happy with it) Thanks!

Hey Yadin,

This is a question that comes up a lot, and the answer is quite simple. Yes, you will lose performance - but will you notice? Probably not. You will lose around 5-6% performance using PCIe 2.0 x4, compared to PCIe 3.0 x16 - that's something that 90% of people won't notice. TechPowerUp have a great article that covers it in detail if you want to read it, but personally I think you won't notice the difference.


If you had a motherboard capable of x16/x16 in Crossfire, sure - you'd use it. But you don't, so to take in the full x16/x16 CF, you'd need to buy a new motherboard. I don't think that the cost is worth it, as it's only 5-10%. If the numbers were something like 20-30%, well my recommendation would be different.

So, if you don't change motherboard - you'll lose, at most - 10% performance. Considering you'll most likely gain 50%+ in upgrading to R9 390X Crossfire, I'd say the benefits are worth it!

I want to build a SFF PC, capable of 60FPS+ for VR gaming - which GPU?

Question by Andrew from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards | Posted: Jan 21, 2016 @ 21:24 CST

Hi. I'm interesting in building a SFX gaming desktop to run a 1440p monitor with one of the adaptive sync technologies. My other goal for the build is having a small (transportable) computer that can maintain 60+ FPS on an Oculus Rift. The recent price drop of the R9 Fury Nano means this build may happen sooner than i anticipated. The question is, should i go ahead and spring for the newly cheap R9 Nano, or wait for Polaris "Nano" (or Pascal "1070" Mini)? My current system is a 2500k and GTX 670, so the upgrade bug is biting hard, but i can also wait, as the Rift and the HTC Vibe wont really be widely available until the Summer.

Hi Andrew,

This question comes at a perfect time, as I'm in the process of collecting parts for a SFF gaming PC that will be used for my VR coverage and articles, involving the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.


As for your upgrade - if you can wait, wait. The new cards are going to be built around VR, and since the Rift and Vive will have a few months on the market by then, AMD and NVIDIA will have a better grip around VR gaming. On the other hand, if you needed to (or anyone else reading this) buy something now, then the price drop on the R9 Nano has been a great thing, and good timing.

Buying the R9 Nano now - The new $499 pricing on the Radeon R9 Nano makes building a SFF gaming PC that will pump away at VR, perfect. You'll play games at 1440p @ 60FPS+ without a problem on the R9 Nano, it'll fit inside of an SFF gaming PC without a problem, and be more than powerful enough to handle VR gaming with the Oculus Rift and/or the HTC Vive.

Waiting for next-gen GPUs - If you wait, I think you'll find AMD and NVIDIA will better position themselves for VR with next-gen GPUs. The new cards are going to feature HBM2, which will provide up to 1TB/sec of memory bandwidth - very important for maintaining 90FPS+ on the VR headsets. Not only that, but they should be 1.5-2x the increase in performance per watt. I think we're going to see NVIDIA enter the super-small GPU market with a Nano-like card, and I want to see AMD continue their great work with a Polaris-powered Nano.

What should you do? Well, that's up to you. You did say the "upgrade bug is biting hard", but followed it up with "I can also wait", and I think you should wait. The new cards are going to kick some serious ass, and it'll give you time for the Rift and Vive to be released, and see if any bugs and GPU issues need to be ironed out. If you do however want to bite the bullet and upgrade now, the R9 Nano is a great card - and think of it this way - if the new cards are really 1.5-2x better, you can always sell the R9 Nano and upgrade at the time.

Should I upgrade to Radeon R9 390s in CF, R9 Fury or a GTX 980 Ti?

Question by Ricardo from United Kingdom (Great Britain) | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards | Posted: Jan 19, 2016 @ 18:15 CST

Hello, I am currently running an AMD Radeon R9 290, but I'm wanting to upgrade. Should I get R9 390s in CrossFire, an R9 Fury or the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti.

Or, just stay with this and wait till the new ones come out later this year.

Hey there Ricardo,

Your current card is pretty damn good, but I can definitely see that you want to upgrade - especially with DX12 here, and VR headsets out in March and April from Oculus and HTC, respectively. As for your upgrade path, all three choices would be good, but let's break them down.


AMD Radeon R9 390 Crossfire - This will be the most powerful of them all, easily achieving 1080p @ 120FPS, 1440p at close to 120FPS and 4K at 60FPS without a problem. VR gaming would be great on this setup too. The only issue I would have is the power consumption and heat. We tested R9 390X cards in Crossfire, where they used up to 800W depending on the test. These were the 390X and not the 390, but the power consumption numbers would be close.

AMD Radeon R9 Fury - This is another fine choice, as you would achieve 60FPS at 1080p and 1440p without a problem, and 60FPS at 4K if you adjusted some of the in-game visual settings. But, HBM2-based cards are on the way, so you might want to hold off here.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti - This is the most powerful single GPU choice, the GTX 980 Ti. You will definitely hit 60FPS at 1080p and 1440p, and as with the R9 Fury - if you adjusted some in-game settings, you'd reach 60FPS at 4K, too. But, as I warned with the R9 Fury, there are HBM2-based offerings on the horizon.

Waiting to upgrade - Right now, unless you desperately needed to upgrade; wait. The next-gen offerings are only months away, and they should offer the biggest leap in performance per watt we've ever seen. We're looking at the combination of next-gen architecture (Pascal and Polaris), as well as 14nm and 16nm nodes, and then the mix of faster GDDR5X and HBM2 technologies.

My advice would be to wait. There are some truly exciting things that are about to be unleashed onto gamers in the form of next-gen video cards, and it's going to be super exciting. If you don't end up with one of the new cards, you could always wait until others upgrade, and sell on their old R9 390, R9 Fury or GTX 980 Ti cards...

Should I upgrade my GeForce GTX 690 SLI setup, or wait for next-gen?

Question by Robert from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards | Posted: Dec 26, 2015 @ 18:35 CST

Hi there. I have 2 EVGA 690 GTX video cards in SLI. Is it worth upgrading now? I am i better off waiting for the next generation of NVIDIA cards to come to the market?

Hey Robert,

Now this is an interesting question - as not many people I've talked to have NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 cards in SLI - but they're still a kick ass combo, even today.


My suggestion would be to wait. NVIDIA, as I'm sure you know, has next-gen GPUs on the way in the form of the Pascal architecture. They will feature HBM2, with some cards poised to use GDDR5X (a faster version of GDDR5 that's on today's cards), the Pascal architecture, and shrunken down onto the 14/16nm node.

This will provide a huge increase in performance - just from the node shrink, not to mention the 1TB/sec of available memory bandwidth courtesy of HBM2. This is without mentioning the huge architectural advances that Pascal will deliver over Fermi and Pascal. It's quite the perfect storm for NVIDIA in 2016... which is only going to mean great things for consumers.

So in finishing - wait, please... just wait. You're going to love what next-gen GPUs deliver.

Assassin's Creed: Syndicate isn't running smoothly, what should I do?

Question by Geoffrey from United Kingdom (Great Britain) | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Posted: Dec 25, 2015 @ 17:10 CST

I have an intel i5 4460 and a nvidia gtx 970 with 6gb of ddr3 RAM. What can I add to this so that assassins creed syndicate runs smoothly?

Hey Richard,

Well - you have a pretty decent PC there with the Core i5-4460 processor, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 but the 6GB of RAM is probably letting you down.


Ubisoft's official minimum specifications for Assassin's Creed: Syndicate requires 6GB of RAM "or more", with the recommended RAM set at 8GB. So what I would recommend is to do the cheapest upgrade you can, as the CPU and GPU are pretty damn good. I would suggest grabbing a 16GB kit of DDR3 (it doesn't need to be a fast kit) - but something with a brand name attached like Corsair would be great.

I think this would see the game running smoother, but I would also recommend that you upgrade your NVIDIA drivers up to the latest drivers (if you haven't already). Additionally, I'm presuming that you're running an SSD in your system - but if not, I would definitely recommend that you look at getting one.

I have a GeForce GTX 980, should I get the Acer Predator X34?

Question by Richard from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Displays & Projectors | Posted: Dec 23, 2015 @ 20:10 CST

Hey TweakTown,

I've had my GeForce GTX 980 for a while now, but I'm in the market for a new gaming monitor now. For the last 2-3 years now I've been running a Samsung 27-inch monitor with a resolution of 1920x1080 and a 120Hz refresh rate.

I don't game as much anymore, but that doesn't mean I don't want a gaming display. I do more productivity work on my PC now, but want to be able to have a great time gaming when I do get the time to put some hours into something like an FPS or League of Legends. I've been eyeing off an UltraWide monitor, especially after your review on the Acer Predator X34. So I have a few questions:

  • Is my GTX 980 powerful enough to run 3440x1440 in games (it doesn't need to be Ultra detail)
  • Is the Acer Predator X34 all that it's cracked up to be?
  • If I did upgrade to a new GPU, should I get the GTX 980 Ti or Titan X?

Hey there Richard,

First off, I'm a total UltraWide nut. I'm sure you might know this, especially if seeing you've read my review on the Acer Predator X34 monitor. I used to be a big advocate of 2560x1440 monitors, but now the 34-inch 3440x1440 resolution has bit me, and I'm completely addicted.


So, to answer your questions, I'll tackle them one-by-one.

  • Yes, the GTX 980 is enough to run 3440x1440 in most games - and since you've noted that they don't need to be at Ultra detail - my point stands. You've mentioned that you're not gaming as much as you do now, and use your PC for more productivity-themed applications. This is great - as it means you'll get yourself a great UltraWide monitor, that just so happens to double as a kick-ass UltraWide gaming display.
  • The Acer Predator X34 is totally awesome. It really is. I sit in front of it every day as it's now my daily driver monitor. The 100Hz refresh rate is beautifully smooth for everything - not just gaming - and the image quality is superb.
  • This is the tough one. The GTX 980 will be fine for gaming now... but I don't know if you should upgrade just yet. I would hold off for a few months as next-gen GPUs are literally around the corner. You could wait 3-6 months and see what NVIDIA release because the next GPUs that come out are going to be significantly faster - but they'll also be cooler, and smaller. If they're too expensive, you could always grab a GTX 980 Ti that will drop in price thanks to the new cards being released.

I have 2 x SAPPHIRE R9 270X Vapor-X cards, what should I upgrade to?

Question by Michael from Philippines | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards | Posted: Dec 18, 2015 @ 0:01 CST

What GPU should I upgrade to? I use 2 Vapor-X R9 270X's and I don't know what card I should upgrade to. Should I even upgrade my GPU's?

Hey there Michael,

First off - "should you even upgrade your GPUs"... that's up to you. If you are itching to upgrade your GPU setup, then do it. If you've got the money, why not? You could sell your two cards and partly fund your upgrade, too. But the bigger question is what should you upgrade to?


The 2 x SAPPHIRE R9 270X Vapor-X cards are a potent setup in Crossfire, so I would recommend upgrading to something of equivalent power - but a single-GPU solution. The new Radeon R9 390 is a great alternative, as it'll offer more performance than what you have now - with less power being consumed, and less heat output. The R9 390 can be found for around the $300-$350 mark on Amazon and Newegg, which isn't too bad at all.

You'll also get the 8GB framebuffer that the R9 390 rocks, so you'll be perfect for the games coming out in 2016 and beyond. The speed increase from your R9 270X CF setup will be noticed, greatly, where you should be doing 1080p at 60FPS without a problem, and even 1440p at 60FPS+ and some 4K gaming if you've got the display or TV that supports that resolution.

Should I upgrade my PSU if I upgrade from a GTX 670 to a GTX 970?

Question by Mirza from Bangladesh | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: Dec 9, 2015 @ 22:21 CST

I own a Cooler Master GX 450W psu. It has been used for nearly 2 years. It's powering my pc absolutely fine (no BDOS,etc) which has a MSI GTX 670 Power OC edition, overclocked FX-6100 @4.1GHz, MSI 990XA-GD55 mobo, two 4GB RAM sticks, two HDDs and a few fans. I am thinking about upgrading to GTX 970. So, I have two questions. Will my psu be able to handle GTX 970 since GTX 970 possibly has same power consumption as GTX 670? And will the upgrade from GTX 670 to GTX 970 even be worth it? I game at 1080p. Thanks for reading :)

Hey there Mirza,

First off, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 requires 2 x 6-pin PCIe power connectors, for a total draw of 170W and a total PSU requirement of 500W - according to the official page on NVIDIA's website for the GeForce GTX 670. This is the reference card, but your MSI GTX 670 Power OC Edition has the same 2 x 6-pin PCIe power connector setup, so your total power draw might hover closer to 200W.


Comparing this to the GeForce GTX 970 which has the same 2 x 6-pin PCIe power connector setup, but it has a TDP of just 145W - much less than the GTX 670 you're using now. NVIDIA recommends a 500W PSU, so I think you might be fine with what you've got.

But... I would recommend upgrading the PSU if you have the money. You can get yourself a decent 500-600W PSU from Cooler Master, be quiet! or Corsair and then you won't need to worry about your PSU.

Which GPU should I upgrade to for 4K gaming? Would a GTX 980 do?

Question by James from United Kingdom (Great Britain) | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards | Posted: Dec 7, 2015 @ 18:54 CST

I currently have a Sapphire R9 270x (2GB), however i've noticed extreme stuttering on my 4K monitor with the higher settings. Would a GTX 970/980 be a good upgrade or should I wait?

Hey James,

I can definitely see where your 4K gaming is dwindling, as you're using the underpowered SAPPHIRE R9 270X 2GB card, but a new card from NVIDIA would definitely see you gaming at 4K 60FPS without a problem.


You've mentioned the GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 980, and I would recommend either. Sure, there are the VRAM issues on the GTX 970, but that's only if you fill the 3.5GB fRAMebuffer. If you wanted to maintain 60FPS at 4K, you're going to need to dial down some details anyway - and if you didn't, then you'd have to buy the GTX 980 Ti which is going to cost quite a bit more.

To escape those VRAM issues, the GTX 980 also has 4GB of fRAMebuffer without the 3.5GB problems. I would be happy with recommending the GTX 980 for 4K gaming, but I would recommend pushing the details down a little. In today's games, even running them at Medium settings is fine, and you don't notice too much of a change in graphics quality. Some of the AA is gone, but that really strains a GPU. Most of the textures remain the same, but you'll find a sweet spot to maintain 60FPS.

You did say "should I wait", and ultimately, that's up to you. Next-gen GPUs won't be here for at least 3-4 more months, and they will be expensive. You could buy a GTX 970/980 now, and then sell it when the new cards are here, and upgrade again. But, it's up to you if you can wait, gaming at lower resolutions/fRAMe rates for the next few months.

Hopefully we've helped you on your purchasing decision!

Do I need x16/x16 PCIe for my NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti SLI setup?

Question by Francesco from Italy | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards | Posted: Nov 26, 2015 @ 15:57 CST

Hi, I'm going to use 2 GTX 980Ti probably with an Asrock Z170 OC Formula.But with a GIGABYTE Z170X Gaming G1 or a Z170X SOC FORCE,what could be the difference in-game considering the x16/x16 SLI possibility they have? Thanks.

Hey there Francesco,

This is a great question, and it's something I'll be covering in a series of articles in the near future with single GPU, multi-GPU and multi-monitor setups.


From the testing I've done over the years, the speed of the PCIe port you're plugging into will only have a few percentage point difference. If you were running GTX 980 Ti cards in SLI in x8/x8 ports, you'll receive 1-2% less performance compared to full blown x16/x16 ports. The same is said for x4/x4 even, as the bandwidth required is fine for these cards.

I would be comfortable recommending either the ASRock Z170 OC Formula, or the GIGABYTE Z170X Gaming G1 or Z170X SOC-Force.