Technology content trusted in North America and globally since 1999
7,674 Reviews & Articles | 56,825 News Posts

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

TweakTown's Ask the Experts

Ask us a tech question!

Use the form below to submit a question for Ask the Experts.

Which GPU between the MSI GTX 770 Lightning and GIGABYTE GTX 780?

Question asked by Brian from United Kingdom (Great Britain) | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Jul 31, 2013 7:56 am

Hello. I am struggling to choose which GFX card to go to. Currently I have my eyes on the MSI GeForce GTX 770 Lightning 2GB and GIGABYTE GTX 780 3GB but the price is slightly a turn-off (for the GTX 780), but something I would possibly pay for.


Do you have any recommendations on cards that may be cheaper than the GTX 780 but have performance around about that general area?

Hi Brian,


Tough choice, isn't it? The MSI GeForce GTX 770 Lightning Edition is an amazing card, and there's nothing out there that really competes with it, but is cheaper. Palit's GeForce GTX 770 JetStream 4GB GPU is quite nice, with double the RAM, something else you should consider.




The PNY GTX 770 Overclocked 2GB GPU is £48 cheaper, but won't overclock anywhere near the levels that the MSI Lightning GPU will. If you want something cheaper, there's a ~15% saving right there.


As for matching the GTX 780, an overclocked GTX 770 will get you close. I would recommend the MSI GTX 770 Lightning if you don't mind spending the extra cash, but the Palit JetStream is another huge contender for your cash, too. If you want to spend the least amount of money, the PNY GTX 770 Overclocked 2GB is there for the picking.

Which Haswell-based motherboard should I buy that supports 32GB RAM?

Question asked by Laurent from France | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Motherboards Content | Posted: Jul 29, 2013 6:18 am

I want to buy a new motherboard with an Intel Haswell-based CPU to put 32GB of RAM (expandable to 64GB), and I don't play games. I only use Photoshop/Lightroom/PanoRAMa picture editing.


I don't have a big budget, and don't need pricey stuff. Can I only use the CPU integrated GPU and do the Haswell CPUs come with a heatsink ? What do you recommend I buy? For the CPU, I was thinking the i5-4430 and 4 x 8GB RAM.

Hi Laurent,


The Core i5 4430 would be fine, and so would the RAM. As for the choice of motherboard, this really comes down to you. I would choose something like the GIGABYTE Z87-HD3 which is just $119.99 on This motherboard will do you fine, and supports up to 32GB of RAM.




64GB of RAM on Z87 motherboards is going to be hard, and even if it wasn't, it would be very expensive. 8GB DIMMs aren't too badly priced, but there aren't many boards that support this. You would have to be doing some seriously high-end work to use 64GB, my advice is to max the board out at 32GB and if you find yourself limited, then upgrade in the future to a true next-gen chipset and go high-end.


The other thing is processor compatibility: the Core i5 4430 isn't capable of supporting more than 32GB of RAM. This would mean you'd need to choose a higher-end processor, or change socket which is going to cost even more money. My recommendation: stick with 32GB of RAM.


As for the integrated GPU, they perform well enough for what you'll be doing. We even tested the previous generation Core i7 3770K and found it played games at 720p just fine.

Should I buy an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor? Do I need a better PSU to overclock?

Question asked by Zohair from Bangladesh | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs Content | Posted: Jul 17, 2013 5:39 am

Which is best for gaming? Intel's Core i5 or Core i7 processor? Also, what type of PSU should I buy so I can overclock it more?

Hi Zohair,


This really depends on the rest of your system, so I'm going to presume that you have a mid-range graphics card and a mechanical HDD. I would suggest saving the money on the processor and getting the Core i5 with a decent, mid-range motherboard from GIGABYTE or ASRock, for example.




As for overclocking, this would cost you more money as you would need to buy a better aftermarket cooler - and the benefits aren't going to be felt across the entire system (or even in games) most of the time, unless you're really pushing your CPU with CPU-intensive software.


I would suggest saving the money on that aftermarket cooler, and investing it into an SSD which will increase performance in every single aspect of your system. Windows' boot time, software load times, game load times, everything.


Get yourself a mid-range Core i5, mid-range motherboard and the biggest SSD you can afford.

I have some questions about high resolution gaming and multi-monitor gaming, help!

Question asked by Vivian from United Kingdom (Great Britain) | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Displays & Projectors Content | Posted: Jul 15, 2013 2:33 am

I was wondering when people setup a 3x1 AMD's Eyefinity or NVIDIA Surround setup its usually with a resolution of 5760x1080 that assumes a 1080p display x3. Most PC monitors however support higher resolutions than this. Are greater resolutions supported by the hardware or at software level (drivers/in-game settings?)


Why can I not for examples of 3x1 portrait setups using 1080p thin bezel tvs? This surely would be the cheapest big screen setup available and a route I am looking at for myself for the future.

Hi Vivian,


This is quite a tough question, but you really need to see the difference in person. First, TVs may say "200Hz" but they are usually only 50Hz, with motion blurring or fast motion assist or whatever jargon they've used, to make it up to 200Hz.




This means the picture on a $3000 HDTV for gaming, doesn't refresh as quick as a 60Hz LCD monitor. The picture quality will be a little worse as the pixels are much higher due to the screen size, which is where 4K comes into play.


Input lag is also an issue, especially for gaming, as the TVs aren't as quick in response as an LCD monitor. Then we have 120Hz LCD monitors which are true 120Hz - refreshing 120 times per second for liquid smooth gaming. This is the ultimate in gaming in my opinion, especially for first-person shooters.


As for support for greater resolutions, yes - the hardware supports it. Most of AMD and NVIDIA's latest GPU's support right up to 4K (Ultra HD) @ 3840x2160. This is done either over HDMI (at 30Hz for now) or DisplayPort at 60Hz. 4K is quite expensive right now, with ASUS' 31.5-inch 4K-capable monitor priced at $3,999.


Now, multi-monitor gaming is an entirely new ball game. The same rules apply for delay, but it would be cheaper to have a 3-screen setup (Eyefinity or Surround Vision) with 42-inch (or bigger) HDTVs, but the experience wouldn't be as good as say triple 60Hz (or 120Hz) LCD monitors.


You're better off with a single big HDTV for games you could play with a controller, like driving games, some RPGs, etc and for first-person shooters, have a 120Hz monitor, or three!

My Dell laptop is running hot, what can I do to cool it down?

Question asked by Chris from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Laptops Content | Posted: Jul 4, 2013 5:04 am

I have a Dell XPS laptop running an Intel Core i5 2410M and an NVIDIA GeForce GT550M. During gaming, the temps run at 90C and 75C on the GPU. Are these temps something to be worried about? If so, how do I cool them down?


Most laptop cooling mats don't seem to make more than a couple degree difference in internal temps. Some mild overclocking may be in my future.

Hi Chris,


First and foremost, notebook coolers will cool your system down - but as you already know - not by much. I would suggest continuing to use one, especially if your notebook has been used extensively since you purchased it.




Secondly, I would suggest taking it to a computer repair shop and maybe getting them to take it apart and clean the thermal compound up and replace it with some better gear. They could dust out the fans and the laptop in general, which should have it running much better.


You might see a 10-20C drop on load temperatures, which would be a huge gain on those high temperatures you're seeing now. Thermal compound dries up over time, and this can cause elevated temperatures - and so can dust build up, too.

Will the Corsair GS600 PSU power GTX 670's in SLI?

Question asked by Kregor from South Africa | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Cases, Cooling & PSU Content | Posted: Jul 3, 2013 3:35 am

Can a Corsair GS600 PSU handle two GeForce GTX 670's in SLI running on a Core i5-3570K system with an SSD and HDD?

Hi Kregor,


You might find that the Corsair GS600 would power your system, but I wouldn't chance it. I would suggest that if you've spent $500+ on your GPU setup, to spend $200 on a great PSU that would never fault you, and would allow you some upgrade flexibility.




Corsair's AX860 PSU is just $199, and would handle your GTX 670 SLI setup just fine. Corsair's AX range of power supplies are some of the best in the world, and I would have no issues at all recommending them to you.


Your GPU's are quite powerful, and think of the PSU like tyres on a car - you wouldn't buy retreads (second hand tyres) for a Ferrari now, would you? Your GTX 670 SLI setup is exotic compared to most gamers' setups, so compliment it with a great PSU!

I want to game with 1080p at 60 FPS, what GPU should I buy?

Question asked by Nabil from Hungary | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Jul 1, 2013 6:41 am

With the imminent release of the next gen consoles I believe PC gaming is going to be something to look forward to. Especially in the graphics point of view. At the moment I have a Radeon HD 7870 with an FX-8150. I do all my gaming on TV so 1080p with at least 60 FPS would be my goal.


I don't know which card to get at the moment. The Radeon HD 7970 right now for USD $500 (that's how much it costs here in Hungary) or GTX 780 for USD $850. For 1080p at maximum settings and to be good for a at least a good while which one would you suggest?



Hi Nabil,


The next-gen consoles are made from AMD technologies, so keeping with AMD would be my first suggestion. I love NVIDIA hardware, I really do - I think their multi-monitor technology is superior to AMD's, in the way that it isn't locked down to the sometimes unstable DisplayPort technology. That's another argument for another day.




For 1080p@60 gaming, I'd definitely suggest sticking to the Radeon HD 7970, and if you did have the budget to increase to USD $850, then a good SSD could be purchased with the remaining money. Something like a Corsair Neutron GTX SSD could be purchased for under $250, and be 240GB in size.


This will speed your load times in everything - not just games.


The HD 7970 should be capable of playing most games at 1920x1080 at 60 FPS with everything cranked (minus anti-aliasing and anistrophic filtering in some games). But as we move into the future, all games are going to be made on the next-gen console platforms, which are AMD tech.


This should make your Radeon HD 7970 have some legs, in terms of how long it'll last as being one of the faster GPU's on the market.

Should I go for GeForce GTX 660's in SLI or a single Radeon HD 7950?

Question asked by Peter from Germany | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Jun 23, 2013 6:38 am

I want to get a new PC with a Core i5-3570K - now i need a GPU. I was thinking about the 2 GB GeForce GTX 660 Ti, the 2GB Radeon HD7870 or the 3GB HD7950 Boost.


Which card would you suggest? I plan to keep it for the next 3-4 years. And i was asking myself if the RAM latency problem of the HD 7xxx generation is very dominant or if it is a minor problem.

Hi Peter,


I would definitely suggest a single-GPU solution, as they always work out best. If you wanted brute performance, then you might go for CrossFire HD 7950's (or higher). The single GPU solution would be the better of the three options you've presented me with here today.




Sure, SLI is awesome - two GPU's is always cool, but a single higher-end GPU will outperform two mid-range GPU's. This comes down to scaling in SLI (as well as CrossFire) where both cards might not be running at 100%, which defeats the purpose if they're both sitting at 60-70% each. A single GPU will max out at 100% virtually the entire time, meaning you're getting much better value for money.


All games are different with GPU load, as it comes down to multiple factors - the CPU, the motherboard, the GPU's themselves, the game, the resolution and in-game detail used, anti-aliasing, and much more.


As for the RAM latency of the HD 7000 series, I have yet to have experienced this issue on my many HD 7000 series GPU's - I don't think you have anything to worry about there.


I'd definitely suggest the HD 7950 for you here.

Should I upgrade to Haswell, or buy a new GPU?

Question asked by Renz from Philippines | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs Content | Posted: Jun 18, 2013 6:18 am

Uhmmm, now that haswell platform is available in my country (ph), I'm thinking of an upgrade to my pc.


Current specs:


  • Intel Core i5-2500k
  • Asrock Z68 Pro3 motherboard
  • Gskill Ripjaws X 2x2gb (4GB) 1600MHz DDR3 RAM
  • Sapphire Radeon HD 6850


I really feel my PC is getting outdated, i need help deciding what to upgrade, go to haswell platform, or go for a newer faster card, (I'm shifting to NVIDIA btw.)


I can only spend 400-500 USD. :/



Hi Renz,


Your CPU isn't actually too bad, and upgrading to Haswell (even the Core i7 4770K) isn't going to give you a huge leap in overall system performance. If you are gaming, I would suggest grabbing a new GPU and maybe an SSD. These two upgrade will give you a huge jump in performance, something you will feel in every single game you play.




I would suggest the GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 770, something Newegg sell for $399. With the left over $100 or so, I would suggest getting yourself an SSD if you wanted to spend up to the $500 budet you had in place.


Here's where I would suggest a Corsair 120GB Force Series GT SSD, which Newegg sell for $129. You could do this in a few weeks time after you get the new GPU. If you had a much less powerful CPU, then things would be different - but your HD 6850 isn't that great, and upgrading to a GTX 770 is going to be leaps and bounds better for you.


Let me know how you go!

Does pressing the power button on your PC hurt your HDD more than clicking the Shut Down icon?

Question asked by Robin from Belize | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Storage Content | Posted: May 28, 2013 7:01 am

Shutting the computer off by holding the power button is bad because the hard drive header (if you still use one) doesn't get parked where it should and instead just drops on the platters of the disk and scratches them. That is bad. But it is also said that if you simply press the power button to engage the shutdown sequence instead of clicking "shutdown" in the operating system, damage is also done. i don't see how and it doesn't seem logical; the problem that the hard shut down gave isn't present here because surely the operating system parks the header into the right place upon shutdown, whatever way it is triggered? Or am i missing something here? So i guess my question is...what exactly is wrong with engaging the shutdown sequence by pressing the power button and not the shutdown feature of the operating system?

Hi Robin,


I've always done either, and never had an issue with my hard drives. If my PC is physically close to me, sometimes I'll press the power button, if it's not close to me then I'll use the software way - by clicking 'Shut Down' from the Start Menu.




I've never heard of it hurting the HDD at all by physically pressing the power button, so you should be okay. We'll surely get some comments on here, so let us know your methods of shutting down, and if you've ever experienced an issue like Robin has heard about.