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Two Graphics Cards Three Monitors?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 14, 2012 9:04:21 PM

Hello, I'm kinda new at building custom pc's and am still kinda struggling on picking it up. Anyways. I'm starting my first PC and I had a question about the graphics cards and monitors. I plan on getting an Asus GeForce GTX 560 Ti and a smaller Asus GeForce GTX 550 Ti. I want to use the 560 Ti to power the center monitor (this is the one I'll be using for gaming and other visually straining tasks) and the 550 Ti to power the two side screens (I'll use those for researching, multitasking, and other random things.) Is it possible for me to use these two graphic cards like I explained? If not how could I do it, because I don't really want to get/research the AMD graphic cards.. I am going to get a motherboard with two PCI Express components so I know that I will be able to fit both Graphics Cards onto the motherboard. Please help I am really confused! :??:  Every article I read talks about getting adapters, using AMD's eyefinity,blah blah blah. Thanks

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a c 253 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
May 14, 2012 9:17:56 PM

Why don't you just get two GTX 560Ti's and then you can connect the two in SLI and use the processing power of both cards combined which will help out in gaming and still be able to run the 2D applications in the other two monitors.
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May 14, 2012 9:30:26 PM

Because that would cost a lot more money lol and Ive already racked up a $1800 bill
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May 14, 2012 9:31:56 PM

could I connect the 550 Ti and the 560 Ti in SLI? ohh and btw what is SLI? sry like I said im a noob at this.
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a c 253 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
May 14, 2012 9:45:00 PM

The two cards have to be the same model for SLI so you cannot connect a 550Ti and a 560Ti. SLI is the combination of the processing power of the two cards to render the display. The easiest way to explain is if you have one card and are playing a game and with that one card you are getting 50 fps( Frames per second) and you add the second card in SLI then in that same game you are now getting 90 fps. You don't actually double the fps with two cards but it can come close. The desire to get higher fps is that the game being displayed looks alot better and the details are better and you are able to select higher settings with more added video options like shadows and smoke and fog all the little things that might be cut out with only the one card. You would connect the two cards together with a SLI ribbon cable that comes with a motherboard that supports SLI.
You do have to have a motherboard and power supply that supports SLI.
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May 14, 2012 10:00:42 PM

And using SLI is the only way I can use three different monitors? Okay well I had originally picked out an ASUS P8H67-M PRO motherboard, but thankfully I didn't buy it yet because it doesn't support SLI. Now I'm having a hard time finding a motherboard that fits my needs. It has to have a LGA1155 CPU socket, at least one USB 3.0, 4 240pin RAM slots, 2 PCI Express 2.0x16 slots, 2 SATA 6Gb/s slots, and a optical out port(if possible).
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a c 253 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
May 14, 2012 10:07:05 PM

No I didn't say that running three monitors you need SLI you can go with the initial setup you had wanted , all I was doing is suggesting a dual card SLI setup. If you do get the two different cards then you are locked out of ever combining them in SLI but if that's what you want then go for it. You don't have to run SLI to have three monitors.
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May 15, 2012 1:20:55 AM

ohh ok. Thanks for the advice. I didn't realize what you were saying. so my original setup would work right?
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a c 253 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
May 15, 2012 1:52:38 AM

Yes the two cards can be used just not connected in SLI , I was just recomending what I thought would be a better setup with the two 560Ti's.
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May 15, 2012 2:10:41 AM

Alright thanks for all your help and advice. You saved me a lot of trouble. :) 
And now that you mentioned it I might actually go and try to find a mobo with SLI support just in case I end up needing it.
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May 15, 2012 3:38:09 AM

Hey sorry to bother you again but I had a question about SLI. I found a different mobo that has two 3.0x16 PCIe slots and supports SLI. As far as I know only AMD makes Graphics Cards with a 3.0x16 PCIe so I plan on getting this mobo with one ASUS Radeon HD 7850 and as I get more monitors I will want to add another Radeon HD 7850. so my question is, would I be able to connect my two Radeon HD 7850 with a SLI connector?
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May 15, 2012 3:47:28 AM

Best answer selected by Dmdally.
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May 15, 2012 3:48:58 AM

PCIe 3.0 will work with ANY PCIe card, including 2.0. So dont worry about that. PCIe is a backward compatible standard.

No, you cannot SLI AMD cards. They have something similar called Crossfire. And your motherboard has to be Crossfire compatible to link two AMD cards.

The motherboard you picked will work with your 560 and 550 cards. Don't worray about that. The MB you chose is good for your build.
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May 15, 2012 3:59:06 AM

ohhhhhhhh...so what you're saying is that a PCIe 3.0x16 will work with a PCIe 2.0 card?!?!?!
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a c 253 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
May 15, 2012 4:34:32 AM

For the Pci-e to work as actual Pci-e an not have to be backwards compatable you must have a cpu that supports Pci-e 3.0 , a motherboard that supports Pci-e and a video card that supports Pci-e 3.0. So you have to get the three components that support Pci-e for it tto operate that way or else you will be operating at pci-e 2.1 if one of the component is missing. An AMD card wuill do up to 5 nonitors with thier Eyefinity software.
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May 15, 2012 5:01:19 AM

get a single gtx670 and be happy!
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May 15, 2012 5:30:12 AM

A 560 + 550 is really less than ideal.

A single 680 can handle 3 monitors, as can a large range of AMD cards. Get a single 7870 and call it a day. Cheaper, faster, simpler.

Edit: or as dreadlokz said, a single 670 will cost you about $400, the same as a 550+560. The 7870 is about $350
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May 15, 2012 12:55:33 PM

the website im using is all sold out of 680, so what I think I'm gonna do is just get one 560 and then as soon as I add the other two monitors further down the road Im gonna get another 560 and use SLI to connect them. But until I get that other 560 will one 560Ti 2GB running one screen be enough for games like BF2?
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October 12, 2013 8:51:38 AM

you cant use two different models of cards when sli'ing (e.g. gtx 660 and gtc 670) you should get two 550's and just sli them,
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