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Two unmatched cards on an SLI mobo in non-SLI config

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September 24, 2006 5:00:16 PM

Hi guys,

I am planning to build a setup based on the ASUS P5N32 Premium mobo (N590 chipset, 2x16 PCIe supporting quad SLI) but in a slightly non-standard configuration and I was wandering if this would work:

PCEe slot 1: N7950 GX2 conected to a Matroc Triplehead2Go, running at 1280x1024x3 resolution (3 monitors 1280x1024 each). This will run 3D games etc.

PCIe slot 2: N7600 connected to two 1024x768 res monitors (standard nView wide desktop mode). This will show Skype/Messenger, browser apps. while gaming.

Please note that these cards will NOT be in an SLI configuration, but I suspect that this can be probematic since card1 is made of two cards in an inherent SLI config but using only one PCIe slot.

If this is a problem, then a 'simpler' N7900 or 7950 (non GX2) should solve this. However, can these two different cards work correctly in a non SLI setup and fully benefit from the PCIe bus, etc. Are there any config/compatibility/performance issues I should be aware of? Can this work? Any thoughts?

The CPU will be Core 2 Duo 6700 or 6800 supported by 2Gb RAM.

Thanks for the attention.

Al
September 24, 2006 5:36:34 PM

For Nvidia SLI, I think you need the same card. I have not heard anyone use 2 different types of cards besides the Crossfire setup.
September 24, 2006 5:38:16 PM

Even when NOT in an SLI config?
Related resources
September 24, 2006 5:45:17 PM

He wants to install two PCI-E cards running different monitors on each card without the SLI bridge. I'm not really sure if you can do that though..
September 24, 2006 5:48:35 PM

I think you can Only use 1 card or 2 of the same cards in SLI mode.
But not 2 different cards that process the same video output.
September 24, 2006 6:03:52 PM

Quote:
He wants to install two PCI-E cards running different monitors on each card without the SLI bridge. I'm not really sure if you can do that though..


This can be done with two same-type cards (two 7900, 7600, etc.) using nView but I am not sure that I can do this with two DIFFERENT cards on an SLI motherboard.

What I want is to use multiple monitors but because I do not need the fastest card on the 'secondary' monitors, I was hoping that when not in SLI mode, I can still use nView and save some $$ by investing in one powerful card for the monitors I plan to run my games on, and a cheaper card for the other monitors. Theoretically nView allows to spread the desktop on 4 monitors. I own a system with an AGP 6800 card and a PCI 5200 card running 4 monitors with different resolutions with no performance and compatibility issues whatsoever, but I am not sure that this is possible in the newly planned HW configuration and I am not sure if there are performance issues.

So I can re-state the questions like this:

1. Can two different Nvidia cards be inserted in the two PCIex16 slots, run in nView multiple monitor setup on an SLI mobo but without the SLI bridge and of course NOT in SLI mode?

2. If yes, are there any performance issues? Will the slower card have a 'bad influence' on the overall system 3D performance?

Thanks,
Al
September 24, 2006 6:13:34 PM

I don't think you can with an SLI board. Since you tried a AGP and PCI setup, try a PCI express and a PCI video card for your browsing needs.
I can't test 2 different cards in a SLI board since I only have 1 PCI express card. I guess I can't help.
September 24, 2006 6:20:21 PM

Quote:
I don't think you can with an SLI board. Since you tried a AGP and PCI setup, try a PCI express and a PCI video card for your browsing needs.
I can't test 2 different cards in a SLI board since I only have 1 PCI express card. I guess I can't help.


Yes, I was thinking about this option but I am afraid of what will happen if and when that OLD PCI card decides to go under. This config might work but I prefer a more future-proof system, and PCIe is the one right now.

Anyway, thanks for trying to help 'diessalot'. It seems that my question is a challenge for the Tomshardware lab gurus who can easily test this with their rigs (hint, hint)!

I am sure that there are more users than one suspects, who will benefit from this idea (if it works at all).

Al
September 24, 2006 6:38:59 PM

there might be another option:

Link

That^^ is a pci-e 1x graphics card, it is more future proof than using an old pci card. also, it is the only of its kind, i haven't seen any other pci-e 1x graphics cards.
September 24, 2006 6:48:10 PM

Quote:
there might be another option:

Link

That^^ is a pci-e 1x graphics card, it is more future proof than using an old pci card. also, it is the only of its kind, i haven't seen any other pci-e 1x graphics cards.


Yep - could be, but having an ATI and an Nvidia on the same N590-based mobo is a recipe for possible infinite incompatibility, conflicts and perforamnce issues. 'Tom and Jerry' comes to mind - LOL!

Hope that more manufacturers join the 1x graphics cards bandwagon soon, and give Nvidia a chance too. It is very interesting to see the performance on these cards compared to the old PCI slots.

Thanks,
Al
September 24, 2006 7:00:57 PM

I Would KILL to know the answer to this (just tell me who,when,where, and if you want it to look like an accident)!

I can't find any answer in any of my intertubes, and everytime I write to the support teams of my vid card and motherboard mfg, I get a stock "The cards need to match for SLI" reply. This is driving me [vile string of swear words] crazy.

My setup is a lot more modest. I've got 2 displays at 12x10 on an XFX 6600, and I'm adding a TV. A PCIe 6200 can be had for $30, and to me, would be perfect for driving a TV without me having to turn one of my monitors off.
Please please PLEASE post back to this thread with some kind of update. I only have one pci slot left, and would rather not have to fill it with a vid card, when I've got an unused vid card slot looking for some lovin.

Thanks!
September 28, 2006 6:33:11 PM

So I finally got a reply from NVidia on this.
It was less than helpful...

My Question:
Quote:
Hey,
Been trying to get this answered one way or the other. Can sli mother boards run mismatched PCIe graphics cards for multi monitor setups NOT (i repeat NOT) in sli mode.
Example:
Can I run a 7900 in one pcie slot for my main gaming monitor, and a 6600 in my other pcie slot for a secondary monitor and a TV?
I've used pci cards for secondary monitors in the past, but I only have one slot pci slot left and would like to use it for a TV tuner instead (and i only know of one ATI card that has a pcie1x interface, but I dont think that would work well with nvidia drivers ya know).
Everytime I ask this I keep getting the same response "cards must match for SLI", and its getting really frustrating, so any help on this would be appreciated.
I'm currently running XPsp2 on a hand built s939 4200+ with 2GB of RAM, and I'm running forceware 91.47.

Thanks,
JCB


Their reply:
Quote:
Hello

Thank you for contacting NVIDIA Customer Care

As i understand , you would like to confirm if SLi can run with 2 different types of graphics cards. The answer is NO. You must have 2 identical graphics cards from the same manufacturer having the same video BIOS revision to run SLi successfully.


BWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Quote:

With regards to your second question it is not possible to run two separate graphic cards to support dual view or dual displays with a TV. We recommend that you get a Quadro NVS series of graphics card that can support upto 4 displays using a single card. You can refer to the link given below on information about the NVS series of graphics cards.

http://www.nvidia.com/page/quadronvs.html

Please get in touch with us, if you need any further assistance.

We look forward to your reply / response to assist you better

Best Regards,
NVIDIA Customer Care


So according to them I couldn't even do this with a PCI graphics card?!?! This doesn't seem right....


Anyone have better luck with this?
September 28, 2006 6:50:08 PM

Well,. with all humbleness, allow me to ignore Nvidia's reply. It sounds to me more like a sales pitch for Quadro than a professional technical answer. As far as I remember, Tomshardware already tested a QUAD SLI mobo from Gigabyte with 8 monitors (in a non-SLI config) so I have no clue why Nvidia BS us! They did it with 4 same-type cards, but there is no word anywhere about the possibility of using different cards, hence the question.

But don't despair. I've already discussed this issue w/ my PC dealer. His answer was exactly what I have expected it to be:

'What better way to get an answer than TRY it'?. He is also interested in it so the moment the mobo enters the shop I'll go to his lab and play w/ the onfigurations. Now I know why I and my company have been buying stuff from him for the last 3 years - LOL!
September 28, 2006 11:31:08 PM

Quote:
Well,. with all humbleness, allow me to ignore Nvidia's reply. It sounds to me more like a sales pitch for Quadro than a professional technical answer. As far as I remember, Tomshardware already tested a QUAD SLI mobo from Gigabyte with 8 monitors (in a non-SLI config) so I have no clue why Nvidia BS us! They did it with 4 same-type cards, but there is no word anywhere about the possibility of using different cards, hence the question.


Oh Wow...you noticed that too huh? :wink:

Thats cool if you've got the hook up on kit to experiment with. Unfortunately in my circle of friends I somehow became the place for "testin" things, and i kinda put my foot down on this one. Getting tired of buying crap that doesn't work...

Let us know how it goes!
October 11, 2006 4:10:54 PM

the answer is plain and simple...

IF you arent running SLI then YES you can run two diff video cards even if they're ati on any motherboard with more than one pci x16 slot. will they display a diff image?...NO...BUT you can extend your desktop to that display or choose whichever one you want to make the main display. How do i know this?well because i'm building rack mount 3u machines for a company that requires a x800gt and an nvidia video card...they're being built on A8N-SLI Deluxe and i've done four of them so far. SO YES...HAVE FUN....but if you're going to use the 7950 i'd make that video card the main display for your games...then extend your desktop to the monitor connected to the 7600gt and drag ur applications over into that window so that you can use them there....while you game on the 7950 =)

your welcome in advance =x
October 11, 2006 5:52:02 PM

Well said, buci.

Short and simple answer: Yes.

-J
October 14, 2006 7:04:48 PM

Quote:
the answer is plain and simple...

IF you arent running SLI then YES you can run two diff video cards even if they're ati on any motherboard with more<SNIP>

your welcome in advance =x


FINALLY a relevant answer! YES, I do plan to extend the desktop over the xxx monitors on these two cards so you described EXACTLY the situation that I have been planning for ;-)

Thanks mate! I'm feeling MUCH better now.

Al
October 16, 2006 3:33:15 AM

Finallly!
Thanks so much!
Ya'll ROCK!
October 23, 2006 9:54:10 PM

i was think of doing the same thing, except i was thinking of having a 30 incher with my 19 inch still hooked up. Were you guys successful? were there any driver issues?if i were to try this would i see the same thing on both screens? i.e. same icons? windows and such? or will it act the same as when you hook up two screens to the same card (As an extension of the screen)?

EDIT: what i mean by driver issues is, can you have both cards drivers installed?
October 24, 2006 5:30:51 AM

what you might want to do is get a non sli mother board with two pci e slots that might work like a p965 chipset mobo

as far as i understand it sli mother board have two graphics lines hooked up to an out put on the chip set (like a "Y")

i think if you get a non sli chipset you could have two seprate outputs/inputs hooked to two seperate slots like this " I I"

if you go through newegg.com for example their are 965 motherboards that have two pci e slots but dont infact support sli because 965 does not support sli just 975x

i think this would work because you said you had an agp and a pci e mobo do exactly what you wanted. and obviosly those two graphic devices were not sharing the same line like two cards with sli would

even if you not an intel user the chipset diagrams might help you under stand what im saying
http://www.intel.com/products/chipsets/Q965_Q963/index....
http://www.intel.com/products/chipsets/975x/index.htm

sorry if i have no idea what im talking about vv
October 25, 2006 2:29:14 AM

Thats a great idea, but I'm on s939. I thought newer motherboards had dual x16 pcie slots, so that each card had it's own x16 "channel"?
October 25, 2006 7:33:53 AM

Quote:
i was think of doing the same thing, except i was thinking of having a 30 incher with my 19 inch still hooked up. Were you guys successful? were there any driver issues?if i were to try this would i see the same thing on both screens? i.e. same icons? windows and such? or will it act the same as when you hook up two screens to the same card (As an extension of the screen)?

EDIT: what i mean by driver issues is, can you have both cards drivers installed?


Not tested it yet as my 'dream' mobo has not arrived yet - ASUS P5N32 SLI Premium. Now that I heard that Nvidia quickly mopped up the 590 in favor of the 600, my impression is that ASUS did a very short run with those mobos and now they are working on a 600 one. Seemingly there were too many issues with the 590 chipset. So it will take quite a while until I will have the chance to test it.

I have a multiple monitor system already running AGP + PCI cards, and there are no driver issues. I used an Nvidia 6800 and 5200 cards. Never tried an ATI + Nvidia combo and I do not plan to. There are otyers though who do have mixed manufacturers cards and they work very well. I donot know if they had any driver issues at install time and if they did, how they solve them.

Based on my experience whenever, if you use two cards from the same manufacturer there should NOT be any driver issues neither at install time nor afterwards. BTW, my two cards were recognized instantly by the BIOS and Windows. The only thing I had to do is fire up the Nvidia multiple monitor setup utility and decde on how I want to work - that's all.

Hope I helped.

Al
October 25, 2006 7:39:39 AM

Quote:
what you might want to do is get a non sli mother board with two pci e slots that might work like a p965 chipset mobo

as far as i understand it sli mother board have two graphics lines hooked up to an out put on the chip set (like a "Y")

i think if you get a non sli chipset you could have two seprate outputs/inputs hooked to two seperate slots like this " I I"

if you go through newegg.com for example their are 965 motherboards that have two pci e slots but dont infact support sli because 965 does not support sli just 975x

i think this would work because you said you had an agp and a pci e mobo do exactly what you wanted. and obviosly those two graphic devices were not sharing the same line like two cards with sli would

even if you not an intel user the chipset diagrams might help you under stand what im saying
http://www.intel.com/products/chipsets/Q965_Q963/index....
http://www.intel.com/products/chipsets/975x/index.htm

sorry if i have no idea what im talking about vv


Thanks 'melonator' ;-)

I'll look into it, but I am not so sure that I like the non-SLI mobo for the simple fact that it seems that they are not so prevalent these days (or do I have an visibility limitation at my end?).

IMO, an SLI mobo can work exactly as you pointed out (when the SLI mode is not on) , with the added boinus that if anf when I decide to go SLI I will have the opportunity to do so. That of course will not allow me to have a multi-monitor setup, but by that time, I will have invested in a new system for that application.

Thanks for the idea though.

Al
October 25, 2006 7:41:37 AM

Quote:
Thats a great idea, but I'm on s939. I thought newer motherboards had dual x16 pcie slots, so that each card had it's own x16 "channel"?

Yes, try ASUS new 939 (or A2) mobos based on the 590 chipset. They all have 2x16 PICs slots.
Al
October 25, 2006 7:42:28 AM

Quote:
Thats a great idea, but I'm on s939. I thought newer motherboards had dual x16 pcie slots, so that each card had it's own x16 "channel"?

Yes, try ASUS new 939 (or A2) mobos based on the 590 chipset. They all have 2x16 PICs slots.
Al
October 25, 2006 12:11:14 PM

Quote:
Thats a great idea, but I'm on s939. I thought newer motherboards had dual x16 pcie slots, so that each card had it's own x16 "channel"?


Alot of them do, but the second slot will only run at x8 speeds. Some motherboard providers are coming up with bios revisions to allow the x16 speed.

My main concern on two different branded cards would be the drivers issue. Conflict there seems almost assured. Catalyst vs Detonator.....
November 18, 2006 4:10:58 PM

Quote:
there might be another option:

Link

That^^ is a pci-e 1x graphics card, it is more future proof than using an old pci card. also, it is the only of its kind, i haven't seen any other pci-e 1x graphics cards.


The reason you haven't seen any more is because its performance absolutely sucks. Thats also the reason why your 'future-proof' argument isn't true. It can hardly run anoy of todays games, let alone tomorrow's.
November 18, 2006 4:11:40 PM

Quote:
there might be another option:

Link

That^^ is a pci-e 1x graphics card, it is more future proof than using an old pci card. also, it is the only of its kind, i haven't seen any other pci-e 1x graphics cards.


The reason you haven't seen any more is because its performance absolutely sucks. Thats also the reason why your 'future-proof' argument isn't true. It can hardly run any of todays games, let alone tomorrow's. And it doesn't do DX10 so its not future-proof at all.
April 13, 2010 5:51:59 AM

I have been running two nvidia chipset video cards to display three monitors .. an xfx 6600 and a geforce 9600 both with 2 dvi outs each and all has been fine for about a year now I can run four monitors on this setup but I only have two monitors and a 37 inch HDTV with vga output and it works great. and I use ultramon... this setup is great for multi tasking and having your desktop Icons on all monitors etc. .... I want to replace the xfx6600 with a better performing card but was wondering if mix an ATI chipset with an nvidia chipset video cards together or do I need to stay at least with the same chipset mfg.
August 20, 2010 11:04:49 PM

Hi all,

I've been reading through this forum topic, having come across it in another forum (forums.nvidia.com) I'm having a problem running the GT240 1GB DDR5 graphics card with the GT240 1GB DDR3 graphics card on my EVGA x58 SLI-LE mobo that I just bought. Each card works fine on its own but when I plug both in, the info screen letting me choose to continue or go to bios shows up, then the PCI inventory and adapters list, then the pc will die and restart itself.

I don't want to run these cards in SLI since they are not SLI cards, I just want to use one card for 2 monitors, and one card for 1 monitor so I have extended desktop functionality. Does anyone know how I can turn off SLI? or how I get it to work?

here is the forum thread from the other site, if you have time, please help out a newbie.

http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=177379

THANKS!!!!!
a c 168 Î Nvidia
August 21, 2010 11:06:44 AM

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