Technology content trusted in North America and globally since 1999
6,555 Reviews & Articles | 44,285 News Posts

Helping with tech questions - TweakTown's Ask the Experts - Page 3

TweakTown's Ask the Experts

Ask us a tech question!

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

Help me choose a new GPU for playing League of Legends and Aion

Question asked by Kent from Malaysia | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Mar 20, 2014 12:27 am

Lately I have thinking to upgrade my current MSI GeForce GTX560 Ti to another card. But I don't know what to choose, either the SAPPHIRE TOXIC R9 270X 2GB, PALIT GeForce GTX 760 JETSTREAM or SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 OC.


My rig setting are Intel Core i7-2600K Processor, 8GB G.SKILL Ripjaws, ASRock z68 Extreme4 motherboard and Enermax 700W PSU. What you guys can suggest for me? I play League of Legends and AI/ON a lot. Need your expert advice.

Hi Kent,


You have a CPU that probably needs to be upgraded, but that would require a new motherboard - so we'll tackle the GPU you want to upgrade.




I would suggest grabbing the SAPPHIRE Radeon R9 280X VAPOR-X, as it is definitely the best out of all of the GPUs you have given me to choose from. The R9 280X will last the longest, right through to when you replace your CPU and motherboard.


It will play all of the latest games at high detail without a problem, especially League of Legends and Aion!

Which smartphone? Galaxy S4 or Nexus 5?

Question asked by Heidi from New Zealand | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Mobile Devices Content | Posted: Mar 11, 2014 4:32 am

Trying to decide between Samsung GS4 9505 or Nexus 5


Camera and storage both big priorities for me, as well as battery talk time (I like being able to have a spare battery on hand to swap over if necessary, not so easy with the Nexus).


Also performance/speed is important, as well as large screen. My main phone uses are calling, email, web browsing, photos.


I understand that the GS4 has a 13mp camera, and the Nexus 5 only 8 but how do the sensors compare?

Hi Heidi,


You bring up some good points, where you require a great rear-facing camera and storage - which would have me siding on the side of Samsung's Galaxy S4... but then you also want performance and speed, which is something that the Nexus 5 does well.




I'll split this into two answers:


Going for the Galaxy S4: The Galaxy S4 is a great smartphone, and is something I recommend if you already own a Galaxy-branded smartphone as it won't seem like such a change. The rear-facing camera on the S4 is better than the Nexus 5, too.


Expandable storage is also another benefit of the Galaxy S4 versus the Nexus 5 - where you can slot in a massive 64GB microSD card and enjoy mass amounts of storage. The screen is pretty much identical to the Nexus 5, so you're not benefiting there.


I think Samsung's TouchWiz UI is quite bloatiful - slowing the phone down, and adding unnecessary apps to the smartphone. This slows it down considerably (especially with a bunch of widgets, etc all over your home screens).


On the side of the Nexus 5: Pure Android - it's beautiful. There's no special third-party UI (user interface) splashed on top. This is the way Google wants you to experience Android.


The Nexus 5's rear-facing camera is good, but not great. It's a gigantic leap over the Nexus 4's rear-facing snapper, but the Galaxy S4 wins here.


There's no expandable storage, so 32GB is all you get. But even on my Nexus 5 which I've owned since its release, I still have a few GB spare on my 16GB model and I snap photos and keep everything synced from my Google Glass on it, too.


What I think you should buy: The Nexus 5 is $449 AU or $477 NZD. This is a huge win for the Nexus 5, as the Galaxy S4 is at a minimum, $550+ for the 32GB model. Kogan sells the Galaxy S4 for $499 - which is ridiculously cheap, considering it is $600+ everywhere else.


Even then, I still recommend the Nexus 5. I think you will not be disappointed.

Do I need to upgrade for the full benefits of PCIe 3.0?

Question asked by Konstantin from Australia | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Motherboards Content | Posted: Feb 5, 2014 3:58 am

I have a PCI-E 2.0 mobo and a Saphire HD 6960 2GB video card that is running 3x27" screens. It can pull most games on medium in an Eyefinity, however, I would love to upgrade so that I can run it at High or Ultra settings.


I have been considering getting a new video card, however, I don't know whether I should go all out and buy a whole new PCI-E 3.0 setup, seeing that it is x2 the speed of a PCI-E 2.0 or just buy a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti for my PCI-E 2.0 mobo and deal with whatever performance I get out of it.

Hi Konstantin,


This is a great question, and one that I can answer quite easily: no, you don't need to upgrade, your motherboard will be fine.




Sure, there are benefits to upgrading to a fresh new motherboard, but the bandwidth required, and what you will get out of it isn't worth it. There are some very, very slight performance improvements that the third generation of PCIe offers, but it's not worth the $200+ on a new motherboard.


My recommendation: Buy that awesome NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti, and leave your motherboard upgrade for after Computex, which kicks off in June.

What new monitor should I get? 4K or 120Hz?

Question asked by Chris from Australia | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Displays & Projectors Content | Posted: Jan 14, 2014 4:36 am



I have been thinking about buyingupgrading a new monitor for a while and a mate has always told me to go for the 120Hz monitors, which I have been considering, but with the new 4K monitors coming out at a relatively decent price, what would you guys recommend?





Hi Chris,


I'm going to answer your question two ways, because either way is going to be a great upgrade for you. There are benefits of shifting over to 4K, but there are also benefits of 120Hz monitors, too.




Going 4K: I have a 4K TV sitting to my left, which goes mostly unused due to its mammoth size. At 39 inches, it's a little too big for a PC monitor, but there are some very nice looking 28-inch 4K-capable monitors coming out very shortly, for under $1000.


These monitors will do 3840x2160 @ 60Hz, which is perfect for gaming and general desktop use. The only issue is having the GPU horsepower to drive all of those on-screen pixels. Do you have enough GPU grunt to do so? Do you enjoy high resolution versus high fRAMe rate (120FPS minimum)? If the answer is 'yes', then you should grab one of the upcoming Dell 4K monitors.


The 120Hz route: On another desk here in my office, I have a 27-inch 120Hz-capable Full HD monitor. I love that it is capable of 120Hz, and if you're playing first-person shooters like Battlefield, Call of Duty or Counter-Strike, then a 120Hz monitor might be a better idea.


But the performance requirement comes into it again. Sure, you don't need to drive the massive amount of pixels that 4K requires, but you need to be doing 1920x1080 at 120FPS minimum in order to get the best out of a 120Hz monitor.


Sideline discussion: The 4K monitor will give you a better picture, colors, and sharpness. The 120Hz monitor will give you fluidity and smoothness. There's a tradeoff for each monitor, so you have to decide which is better in your camp - the higher resolution, or higher refresh rate. Both monitors are going to impress you.

What do you think of my recent GPU upgrade?

Question asked by Erick from Brazil | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Dec 17, 2013 11:24 pm

Hi guys. My rig:


Intel Core i5 3450, 8GB RAM, 240GB SSD Racer from VisionTek, Hadron Air case (with its own 500W PSU). My GPU now is a AMD Radeon HD7850 2GB. I play mostly hack 'n' slashes (Torchlight 2, Diablo 3), and occasionally something up to Deus Ex: Human Revolution but not too often. I use to play those high graphics games at 1600xsomething resolution, to keep FPS high.


I got a ASUS GTX670 Mini DirectCU for 249 dollars. My reasons to choose it was: 1. size, it's the perfect match for the EVGA Hadron Air small size. 2. Still future proof for my gaming profile.


My question is... Was it a waste of money for my gaming profile? Besides the fact that I can crank up my playing resolution now... What you guys think?

Hi Erick,


Upgrading from your Radeon HD 7850 to the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 is quite the move, you should be seeing some improvements in performance, but I think your resolution and the games you're playing are holding you back.




This is most likely why you might be thinking its a waste of money - what I would recommend, for the games you're playing, is crank everything else up. Increase the anti-aliasing and anistrophic filtering, as well as all of the in-game details.


You have plenty of GPU horsepower that isn't being used, especially if you're playing at resolutions less than 1920x1080.


As for the GPU, the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DC Mini is a great card, a super-small card that packs a serious performance punch. I don't think you've wasted money at all! Once you move into higher resolutions, you'll still be able to play games without sacrificing too much in-game quality.

I need a new GPU, what do you recommend?

Question asked by Milos from Serbia and Montenegro | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Dec 12, 2013 4:32 am

I want to replace my current GPU - MSI 6950 TFIII PE OC. My configuration is:


  • Core i7 4770k @ 4.5GHz
  • ASUS Maximus VI Hero
  • 8GB G.Skill RAM
  • 1x 60GB SSD
  • 1x 1TB HDD
  • DVD/CD burner
  • Cooler Master HAF 932 Advanced
  • Seasonic SS-620GB


As I mentioned, I want to change my GPU, but don't know which one to buy. My biggest dilemma is should I buy NVIDIA or AMD? Budget is around 400 euros.


Thanks for your help.



Hi Milos,


You have a great system there! Once you've acquired your new GPU, you'll be enjoying games in a whole new light. But, it's a hard decision between NVIDIA and AMD, isn't it?




I would say that the new AMD Radeon R9 290X is the best bet, but you have a 400 euro budget - which is around $550 US or so. The R9 290X is $599, which is a bit out of your budget. If you want to go on Team Green, and get the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780, it would cost you just $499.


For $499, the GeForce GTX 780 is an amazing GPU, and would play any game at 1080p at 60FPS with high/ultra graphics settings. I think I'm confident in recommending the GTX 780, you won't regret it!

Which CPU should I get for my video editing workstation?

Question asked by Robert from United States | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs Content | Posted: Dec 6, 2013 12:53 am

What CPU/MB do you think would be best for a video editing workstation?


I will be running the Adobe tool set. From my reading it seems that video editing benefits from more cores/threads that does gaming. Would an 8-core AMD CPU be better than a 4-core Intel part, for example? What other factors, besides the obvious like lots of RAM, should I consider?


Thanks for your help.


Rob :-]

Update: Our own Chris Ramseyer has some wisdom in this subject, so I'll paste in his input here - which is very valuable:


While CPU performance makes a difference in most of the progRAMs we use today, Adobe has implemented new rendering techniques that use your computers video card. AMD is well ahead of the competition in this area but the flagship models with two processors are slower than a single GPU.


The current flagship from AMD is the R9 290X and it would have a significant impact on your render times.


If you are already running a high-end video card for rendering and want to know just about CPUs then you need to look at the thread efficiency. Intel's Haswell, or 4th Generation Core architecture has the highest threaded efficiency to date. In some enterprise applications Haswell's 4 cores outperform 8-core Xeon processors.


Hi Rob,


First off, if it's a video editing workstation, completely scrap the idea of getting yourself an AMD CPU. AMD's CPUs in that type of use, do not begin to compare with an Intel CPU. The Intel Core range of processors are heavy hitters, that's for sure.




If you want the best, without really breaking the bank, you can go for the 12-thread (6 cores, 6 HT cores) Intel CPUs, which come in the LGA 2011 socket. These are more expensive, but you do get the joys of enjoying 12 threads for video editing. This option would result in you choosing between two processors, the Core i7-4930K, which is $579 on Newegg, or the Core i7-4960X processor, which is $1049.


From those two CPUs, I would find it hard to recommend the 4960X because of its massive price, but the 4930K would do the job just fine.


Stepping below that, we have the 8-thread (4 cores, 4 HT cores) Intel CPUs which come in the LGA 1150 variety. These are known as "Haswell" and you can get something like the Intel Core i7-4770K for $325 from Newegg.


At the end of the day - it's up to you. The LGA 2011 socket would last much longer, but the LGA 1150 option is around $200 cheaper, and then you'll also save another $100-$150 on the motherboard.


If the decision was up to me, I'd recommend the 4930K and a mid-range motherboard. RAM is cheap these days, so you could load the board up with 32GB of RAM, too.

Which phone should I get? Nexus 5? Galaxy S4 mini?

Question asked by Midhun from India | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Mobile Devices Content | Posted: Dec 4, 2013 12:54 am

I am planning to buy a mobile and here are my choices:


  • Galaxy s4 mini
  • Nexus 4
  • Nexus 5
  • Xperia SP


I am not a big gamer, but I am looking for a good battery life and does a lot of browsing and WhatsApp. The S4 mini has QHD screen and the rest have HD screens, so when coming to the application support will I face the problem of non supported apps with S4 mini?

Hi Midhun,


You have a great selection of smartphones there, but I think I would definitely have to choose the Nexus 5 out of them all. The Nexus 4 is old now, so that is erased straight away form the decision table. The Sony Xperia SP, same rules apply.




The decision comes down to the Nexus 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4 mini. The fight then goes into the OS, the Nexus 5 device is pure Android - and version 4.4 KitKat at that - while the Galaxy S4 mini won't have 4.4 KitKat for a while yet.


The S4 mini also has Samsung's TouchWiz UI on top, which is something you'll have to consider - but that is more of a personal choice. I don't like it, and I find the pure Nexus experience to be much better. If it was my help that pushes you into the arms of one of those devices, get yourself the Nexus 5 - you won't regret it.

Which GPU should I buy? The Radeon R9 280X or HD 7970?

Question asked by Chris from Australia | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Nov 14, 2013 2:34 am



I'm looking to do a small upgrade just a PSU and Video Card to keep up with some of the latest games that I have like BF4 and COD: Ghosts. Not looking to SLI or Crossfire setup otherwise would mean I need a whole new PC as my motherboard is not quite adequate for that.


My current system is:


  • Intel Core i7 870
  • ASUS P55A
  • 16GB Corsair RAM
  • DVD/CD Burner
  • 1 x 128GB SSD
  • 1 x 256GB SSD
  • 2 x 1TB WD Black running in RAID0
  • 1 x 2TB WD Green
  • Antec 902 V2 (4x120mm FAN's and 1x200mm FAN)
  • 1 x 24" DELL (running at 1920x1200 (landscape))
  • 1 x 22" DELL (running at 1050x1680 (portrait))


My current GPU and PSU is an ATI 6870 and a Corsair 650W.


I'm looking at buying either the R9 280X or the 7970. Since the price is almost the same what would be the ideal GPU to be running some of the latest games that I have mentioned above? Also what would be the ideal PSU size to accommodate the above set-up and also the GPU I am looking at?




Hi Chris,


Both of those GPUs are going to give you a kick-ass upgrade to your Radeon HD 6870 GPU, but it'll come down to how much you want to spend.




Originally, I read that you were after a comparison between the R9 290X and HD 7970, but it's the R9 280X and HD 7970. Sorry for the confusion in my original answer: but I would definitely recommend the new R9 280X over the HD 7970 - as its is $379 with Scorpion Technology, not a bad price for a new GPU!

Should I go with SLI or CrossFire with my AMD FX 8320 CPU?

Question asked by Rimon from Malaysia | Answered by Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards Content | Posted: Sep 25, 2013 2:58 am

Hi currently my processor is the AMD FX 8320 and my GPU is the Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 XT (LE). I was thinking to do a dual graphic setup in future.


My question is should i change my GPU to GeForce GTX 760(SLI) or stay with my HD 7870 XT (LE) to do crossfire? I can get a GTX 760 at additional $40+ trading in my old Sapphire 7870 XT. Which setup is more future proof?

Hi Rimon,


Most people would've purchased another Radeon HD 7870, but I would recommend ditching it, and getting yourself the GTX 760 SLI setup. For one, AMD is about to launch its next-gen GPUs, and secondly, the GeForce range of GPUs works great in virtually all titles in SLI.




You should see a nice improvement in games, too, between the GTX 760 SLI setup versus the HD 7870 CF setup. I would say that the NVIDIA way is the more future proof path, but nothing is really future proof these days.