I have 3 displays (2xDell 1708fp's and 1xDell u2410), I use the u2410 for gaming and the 2 side monitors generally get used when I'm working or just generally want to do more than 2 or 3 things at once.
Anyway work said that i need a new graphics card as i have a bad-ass system but always skimp on the graphics card. I'm used to really low fps in games and work so it didn't really bother me, i was using an NVidia Geforce FX 5600 128MB + a FX 5200 for the 2 smaller monitors, It's done me good through the years and not failed on me, but it was starting to show artefacts so it was time for an upgrade
Anyway both of those cards are now dead (the main 5600 won't boot, and after i put my new graphics card in the 5200 shows bad colored blocky artifacts and freezes the system)
So work bought me two GTX 470's, they look slightly different, one has 2 fans on and is a little shorter, the other only has 1 fan and is a bit bigger, both have the same specs, memory etc
They said I can run them in SLI
Anyway neither graphics cards can even run basic 3D applications or play any 3D games, and the performance is absolutely abysmal, my old ati radeon 9600 pro beats this by a long shot.
I can't even run Second Life, can someone recommend me a graphics card that can run basic 3D applications (3dsmax)
GTX 470 is more than capable of running 3D applications and play games, especially in SLi. It is one of the best cards at the moment and it is far greater than your old ATI RADEON 9600 PRO. What is your PSU, motherboard, CPU, RAM? It might be a faulty motherboard or your PSU might be too weak.
Hopefully you have a SLI capable motherboard and the cards are connected with a SLI bridge. Maybe you could try to just run one card to test things out. A single GTX 470 will certainly give you awesome frame rates by itself. Be sure the cards are properly connected with a power cable to your power supply.