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Two video cards on same mobo (only one PCIe Xpress 2.0 x16 slot)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 12, 2011 2:35:21 PM

Apologies if this has been asked before:

I have a GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R motherboard with one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot and three PCI Express x1 slots

I have a MSI 9600GT on the PCI Express 2.0 x16 and I want to move it to a PCI Express x1 slot (with a x1 to x16 adapter).

I want to install a new video card on the (now empty) PCI Express 2.0 x16, so I'll have two separate video cards on the same mobo.

My question is: is this setup possible? My biggest concern is that my 9600GT isn't a low profile card, so will an additional video card fit?

Thanks.
a b Î Nvidia
a c 226 U Graphics card
October 12, 2011 3:19:01 PM

What are you trying to accomplish with this configuration? While it may technically be possible to do (although not likely), it may not be practical. Please clarify your intentions.
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October 12, 2011 4:00:30 PM

I want to upgrade my video card (for gaming) and I also want to put the old video card to use instead of storing it. I'm thinking of a triple-monitor (or more) setup with two video cards.

Thanks.
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a b Î Nvidia
a c 226 U Graphics card
October 12, 2011 4:15:01 PM

If that is the case, then I would sell the old GPU (or keep as a back up) and go with an Eyefinity capable AMD/ATI GPU to support more than 2 monitors. You have options here. What is your budget?
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a b Î Nvidia
a b U Graphics card
October 12, 2011 6:40:45 PM

Some people have successfully cut back end of an x1 slot with a dremel tool or soldering iron to fit an x16 card in it and accomplished what you are trying to do. I'm guessing the adapter would prevent a full size card from fitting? Can't say I've ever seen an x1 to x16 adapter.


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a c 91 Î Nvidia
a c 253 U Graphics card
October 12, 2011 6:54:07 PM

I don't think that a 1x slot will give you the bandwidth you need for a video card even though it is not the primary card. I don't know about a x1 to x16 adaptor and what it looks like or how it fits in or over a x1 slot. Your Nvidia cards will not support triple monitors with a x1 slot involved. I'm guessing a new motherboard is not in your budget.
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a b Î Nvidia
a c 226 U Graphics card
October 12, 2011 6:59:24 PM

There are x1 to x16 adapters for servers, but not likely to be helpful in this case. Also, the are x1 video cards (typically for workstation class GPUs). To support more than 2 monitors with a single GPU requires an AMD/ATI GPU.
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a b Î Nvidia
a b U Graphics card
October 12, 2011 7:04:16 PM

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/249291-30-card

That thread might help you if you are willing to physically modify your slot. 1x is plenty of bandwidth for a secondary card that's just running a 3rd display as an extended desktop.
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a b Î Nvidia
a b U Graphics card
October 12, 2011 7:08:51 PM

Hi,

I would personally get rid of the old GPU and get a dual screen GPU,

Keep it simple or you might invest a bunch of money for nothing.

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a b U Graphics card
October 12, 2011 7:09:10 PM

I think it would work through the adapter, however I have never known any one who has done this.

The graphics card would have more than enough bandwidth to run productivty apps like office and IE. It would have trouble with games and 3d though.

If the card is a half hight card it should fit in the case and look normal. If it is a full hight card its just not gonna fit. Your going to have to ziptie it in place or somehting.

I think I would go with an AMD 6770 or 6850. Those cards can support 3+ montiors.
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a c 91 Î Nvidia
a c 253 U Graphics card
October 12, 2011 7:11:56 PM

benski said:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/249291-30-card

That thread might help you if you are willing to physically modify your slot. 1x is plenty of bandwidth for a secondary card that's just running a 3rd display as an extended desktop.



That being the case why the hell do they even make x1 slots if the bandwidth is suficient , why not make all x16 slots and just determine which are x16 , x4 and x1. Actually some MB are coming out like that. :pt1cable: 
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a b Î Nvidia
a b U Graphics card
October 12, 2011 7:44:00 PM

Well if you look at his board you couldn't fit x16 slots where those x1 slots are, there are some caps and a bios battery in the way. Not sure why they make most x1 slots close ended though. Lots of boards have 16x slots that are only really 4x but I can't remember seeing x16 slots that are only really x1. I guess there is still enough of a market for x1 devices like sound cards that board makers decide to include them.
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a b Î Nvidia
a c 226 U Graphics card
October 12, 2011 7:47:16 PM

PCIe slots are backward compatible with lesser PCIe devices. So, an x16 slot can accommodate x16, x8, x4, and x1 devices. Same is true for the other slots as well.
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October 12, 2011 8:09:35 PM

Don't know if I want to modify my board yet, but that's a great option. I'll try the adapter first since I'll be using the old GPU for a productivity-use third monitor.

Thanks for all the help, guys.
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a b Î Nvidia
a b U Graphics card
October 12, 2011 8:11:54 PM

If your card is full size I don't think that adapter is going to work for you, unless you can modify your case somehow.
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a b U Graphics card
October 12, 2011 8:18:48 PM

If the monitor connection on the full size video card is on the lower part of the card just remove the back plate of the video card and cram it in. Use a zip tie to hold it together. The upper half of the card will not line up with the case so you will not be able to screw it in or use the upper port if its there. Chances are the case cover wont fit.

Then again that adapter looks to be only half an inch so it might not be too bad.
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a b Î Nvidia
a c 226 U Graphics card
October 12, 2011 8:19:28 PM

benski said:
If your card is full size I don't think that adapter is going to work for you, unless you can modify your case somehow.

+1 to benski's observation here. There are adapters that can be used (made for 1U servers) to turn the card sideways. This will create a different dimensional challenge.

While I applaud's the OP's efforts to use the tech available, this is quickly becoming a project that will result in more hassle than benefit. Just an observation, and not a criticism, but there are easier (and cheaper) ways to skin the multi-monitor cat here.
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October 12, 2011 8:39:49 PM

Can't believe I overlooked the depth dimension.

But you're right, I'm not too comfortable hacking the x1 slot, and my budget won't allow for a new board and GPU. I think I'll shelf the old video card until I upgrade my board as well.
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October 12, 2011 10:31:54 PM

Depending on your budget you can buy an AMD card with enough connections to run a triple monitor setup. For example:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It has 2x DVI, 1x HDMI and 1x Display port. I 'm not sure but I believe you can use that card for a triple monitor setup, just as long as your third monitor has an HDMI or Display port port.
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