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2 PCI Cards, 1 PCI-Express Card

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 9, 2008 6:38:33 AM

I have a 8800GTS that I currently use to run two monitors. I'm wanting to add a third monitor, so I figured I'd buy a second video card (an EVGA GeForce FX 5200) for that purpose.

Would it be beneficial for me to buy two PCI cards to run each of my older monitors and use my 8800GTS to run my new monitor? I'm thinking that, when I do play a game, I'd get better performance having my 8800GTS powering just one display and not the two.

Why two three cards, and not two, for three monitors? I haven't seen a cheap (~$30-$40) PCI card with two DVI outputs using an NVIDIA chipset.
May 9, 2008 7:28:22 AM

why not get something like a pci card with dual outputs (EG Gforce 2 MX and newer have dual monitor support)?
a b U Graphics card
May 9, 2008 2:10:14 PM

I dont think this will work as you think. Instead of wasting your money on the cheap cards, buy an SLI ready motherboard, get a second card identical to yours and sell your old motherboard on ebay.

Do you have a store bought pc? Like Dell or HP? Thats the only issue I see with my idea if thats the case.

Its more money to do this but your gaming will be much better and it will resolve your monitor issues.
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May 9, 2008 2:25:17 PM

SLI won't let him run three monitors. I do believe that someone on this forum, quite a while ago, did an odd set up like that. He had an 8800GTX plus another graphics card, not in SLI, to run three monitors. You could also look to Matrix, I think they have some kind of contraption to use three monitors.
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
May 9, 2008 2:27:50 PM

FX5200 is a very poor performer. I'd recommend using the 8800GTS.
Dell sells DVI splitters. Splits one DVI connection into two DVI/VGA connectors. That might work with three monitors. I can't say for sure. It does work for 2 monitors.
a b U Graphics card
May 9, 2008 2:50:42 PM

So, let me get this straight. Im running two 8800GTX cards in SLI that have 2 dvi connectors each and I cant run 3 or 4 monitors if I choose to?

Sounds wierd to me but I havent tried it so I cant say for sure from my experience. That just seems peculiar it wont let you run up to 4 monitors if you have the connectors available on the cards.
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
May 9, 2008 3:11:21 PM

Yes you can run 4 monitors with 2 8800GTX cards.
a b U Graphics card
May 9, 2008 3:11:51 PM

no with SLI enabled you can only have 1 output(monitor) period.

I'm sure you could clone it with some adapter but the GTX's in SLI would only allow 1 monitor
May 9, 2008 3:29:48 PM

one option is just to buy a single PCI card with DVI output
run 2 monitors off of your 8800GTS.
then when you want to play a game...
disable the other monitors/outputs.

it may be a bit of a pain to disable/enable the monitors when u want to use them... but there may be software that can store your configurations (gaming 1 monitor/work 3 monitors) and allow you to switch back and forth.
May 9, 2008 5:40:38 PM

I'm running a system that I built myself.

In looking at the prices for dual DVI outs on a PCI card (Matrox cards included), the prices weren't much lower than buying a second 8800GTS (at NewEgg anyway), which is why I was considering the possibility of the unusual setup with two PCI cards.


englandr753:
The mobo is SLI ready, but if I were to buy another SLI card, then I'd also have to buy a new PSU (current is too weak to support both cards) along with the new card and monitor. I can't decide if I want to spend the extra ~$200 to get that particular setup. I should have given a little bit of a system spec list. :-)

MadHacker:
I originally thought of using the 8800GTS to support two of the three monitors and then using the PCI card for the third. Then I got to thinking, "I wonder if I could improve the 8800GTS performance by using dual PCI cards to handle the other monitors."



May 9, 2008 6:23:29 PM

armstom said:
MadHacker:
I originally thought of using the 8800GTS to support two of the three monitors and then using the PCI card for the third. Then I got to thinking, "I wonder if I could improve the 8800GTS performance by using dual PCI cards to handle the other monitors."



you want to improve performace? in what though...
in just 2D apps 1 PCI video card running 1 monitor will be much slower then the 8800GTS running 2 monitors...
as for gaming... you probably won't be using PCI cards for gaming so that isn't an issue.

I'm just wondering what performance you are trying to gain.
May 9, 2008 9:08:36 PM

MadHacker:
Beyond the idea of relieving the 8800 from dividing its resources between two displays (and increasing the performance of a single display) while playing a game, I wasn't really looking for a way to make my computer faster. If I could increase the performance of my 8800 card by investing $32.99 on a second PCI card, then it might be worth looking into.

I'll admit that three video cards for three monitors is a very clunky solution. I'd much rather have two identical 8800GTS cards (not in SLI, of course) backing my three displays (with one card backing the new display, the other backing the old displays). However, doing that is going to require a new PSU and case and I don't know if I interested in spending the money for that. (The price of the PCI cards is a selling point, since I will only be using those displays for 2D apps and, possibly, a video when I don't need the third display.)
May 10, 2008 2:06:09 AM

you seem to have this misconception that haveing a second PCI card will increase performance. but instead it will decrease performance.
Just with the 1 PCI card you can max out your PCI bus bandwidth... adding a second will make both of them that much slower.
unless your gamming... your 8800 driving 2 monitors won't even max out your GPU resources.

I hope someone else will have some stats but your 8800 GPU is doing almost nothing in 2d mode... even in vista...
I run a 9600GT... cheepest DUAL DVI nvidia solution to drive 2 monitors... to run my 24" and 22" display at max res... even for playing HD content(1080p)
and it works flawlessly...
it did on my last video card 7600GT as well as my previous one 6600GT,

in 2Dmode your not taxing your GPU much at all...
not only do i sugest to save yourself some money... not that $32.99 is much...
but to keep your speed faster... 2 PCI cards will just slow you down...

my 2¢
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