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Re: GPE 4.3 Rom Android System Usage
I saw on one of the blogs recently (can't recall which one- Android Central, Android Police, Droid-Life are the 3 main ones I go to) that Android System usage has gone up as Google Now has become more powerful. As they add more features and more abilities to it, it has to do more in the background to make it work properly.
The article said that they haven't noticed much in the way of a hit on battery performance and to not really worry about it being so high. If I find the particular article I'll edit this post, but it's probably not anything that should keep you up at night.
I can't help you with your radio question as far as which radio to pick (I'm still on the Radios that came with it), but you don't have to wipe anything to flash a new radio. It's separate from the OS.
EDIT: srkmagnus (above) linked to the article while I was typing my post.