Using 2 video cards, will this work (not for SLI)

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by MadEmperor, Oct 3, 2009.

  1. MadEmperor

    MadEmperor meh OT Supporter

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    I'm planning on buying a Intel i5 & P55 1156 Motherboard to build a new computer.

    I'd like to have (2) video cards.
    ATI 5850 for my main screen to play games.
    ATI 4350 for my alt screens.

    I'd like to use 2 video cards so that my main video card doesn't have to use any power to run the extra screen.

    Will this work? If so, will both cards be forced down to 8x? (I'd like the 5850 to run at 16x and the 4350 to run at 1 or 4x)
     
  2. XR250rdr

    XR250rdr OT Supporter

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    Should work, but both cards will run @ 8x
     
  3. CodeX

    CodeX Guest

    You would set it up like normal multiple monitor modes with a single video card I would think... though with 2 physical pieces of hardware I don't know how you would dictate which applications use which cards resources... I would think the OS would have to support this kind of thing and as far as I know windows does not.

    *edit* looked into it some more, it seems like you can do this, but the video cards have to use the same drivers as windows only really supports one display adapter in software, even though at the hardware level it will work just fine... but I still don't know which cards resources will be used, I doubt you will have control over that, it might even only use the primary cards resources, or both in the same manner... for example, you run a game, it will display on monitors connected to both of the video cards, and both cards will have identical data in ram and they would both end up processing it, meaning if one of the cards is significantly weaker you will just have lower performance in games on the monitors connected to it and higher performance on the monitors connected to the better card... but with lower performance overall due to the CPU having to feed data to both cards... unless it can address them simultaneously... which would be a miracle according to my limited knowledge of PC architecture :eek4:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2009
  4. CodeX

    CodeX Guest

    In fact, thinking about this some more, I can almost guarantee you that you will have no choice but to have the same video coming from both cards, meaning it will work to duplicate your displays, but you will not be able to have 2 different images on monitors connected to the 2 different cards. If you have 4 monitors, 2 connected to each card, then you could have 2 different images, using normal multi-monitor in windows, where monitor A1 would be different than B1 but the same as A2, and B1 would be different from A1 but the same as B2... 1 designates video card 1 and 2 designates video card 2, and A and B are the 2 different image outputs... if that makes sense
     
  5. XR250rdr

    XR250rdr OT Supporter

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    Sure you can have two different cards displaying different images. Its sometimes a driver nightmare if the cards are from different manufacturers, but it works great if they are from the same manufacturer.

    Games will default to the primary display.
     
  6. Stilgar1973

    Stilgar1973 New Member

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    We had a bunch of this at my old job.
    We had one computer that had to run 4 monitors. Used 2 video cards each with dual out.
    Each monitor was its own desktop.
     
  7. CodeX

    CodeX Guest

    How is this managed in windows? Or is there some hidden display control panel settings when you have 2 display adapters? I've never done it...
     
  8. popsnbeer

    popsnbeer New Member

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    about 2 years ago I have used an ATI pcix16 card along with another pcix1 card and was able to get 3 monitors going all with separate images. the transition was fluid between the monitors and i had used the ATI CCC software to control the cards. I assume this is a similar question you are asking, so I'm pretty sure that the answer is yes :)

    Also, I did try this once with a pcix16 ATI card and an old school PCI ATI card (9200se IIRC) that was even able to display 3 monitors. There were some driver nightmares though.

    If you buy two cards, I would recommend getting 2 that use the same software program to control the cards. **I'm clearly not an expert with this stuff though.

    Oh, and yes I think each card would run in 8x.
     
  9. XR250rdr

    XR250rdr OT Supporter

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    A third (and 4th) display show up in the display control panel. Just like how a second one shows up when you plug in a second monitor.
     
  10. skinjob

    skinjob Active Member

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    Power in terms of the GPU's ability to render images or in terms of electricity consumption?

    I don't think running 2 displays on the same card really has any bearing on gaming performance. Plus, the new amd 5000 series cards have the eyefinity tech that can treat multiple monitors as one big monitor. In terms of electricity consumption, adding a second card certainly won't help.
     
  11. XR250rdr

    XR250rdr OT Supporter

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    I assumed he meant gaming performance.

    I've read reports of a very, very slight performance hit from running a second display while gaming. It was the kind of thing only a benchmark would reflect though.
     
  12. ady

    ady New Member

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    The different manufacturer issue is only for Windows Vista. You can run Nvidia and ATI cards alongside each other with XP and Windows 7.
     
  13. StevesVR4

    StevesVR4 Get Arrested

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    Actually it would be possible to have his main card run at x16 and the secondary card to run at x1 or x4, but it will depend on the motherboard used. The Core i5 has sixteen PCIe lanes built in for video cards. They can be set up as one x16 or two x8 connections. The P55 controller also has six (I think) PCIe lanes built in. For this to work, the motherboard will need to have an addition x16 PCIe connector running to the P55 controller available. Then he will need to plug the main video card into the PCIe slot connected to the i5 and the secondary video card plugged into a PCIe slot connected to the P55. If the motherboard has two PCIe slots connected to the i5, you can NEVER plug a card into it if you want to keep the main video card running at x16.
    As an example, this motherboard has three x16 PCIe connectors. The first two are connected to the processor and run at x16 if one card is used or x8 if two cards are used. The third x16 connector is really an x4 connector that is attached to the P55. The secondary video card would go in that slot and run at x4 speeds while the main video card would run at x16 speeds.
     

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