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Mixed GFX Cards, 2 Monitors

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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a c 274 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
a b Î Nvidia
August 13, 2012 6:42:08 PM

I am going to gather up some used parts I have laying around and build a budget machine for someone. I have a LGA 1155 motherboard with X16 & X4 PCIe slots, an HD 6850, and an older Nvidia 8800 GTS that I would like to use up. My thought was to put the AMD card in the X16 slot for a DVI to the main monitor, and put the Nvidia card in the X4 slot for a DVI connection to a small utility monitor.

Does anyong see any pitfalls with installing the two cards and their respective drivers to the separate monitors?

This will be in a Win7 installation. Will Win7 recognoze that it has 2 monitors to address with dis-simlilar cards? I've never done this kind of 'card mix' before, so I thought I'd ask for opinions before I start.
a c 87 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
August 13, 2012 6:56:13 PM

It should be fine. I've even had an Ati card and a Nvidia card in a machine all while using an Intel IGP and using all video cards/GPUs at the same time with independent displays.
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
August 13, 2012 6:56:59 PM

It should work great. Make sure there is plenty of air flow directed at the 2 GPUs since there won't be a lot of room to breathe, unless your board has the right spacing with 2 or more slots between the 16x and the 4x. But functionally, this will work absolutely fine.
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August 13, 2012 6:59:20 PM

clutchc said:
I am going to gather up some used parts I have laying around and build a budget machine for someone. I have a LGA 1155 motherboard with X16 & X4 PCIe slots, an HD 6850, and an older Nvidia 8800 GTS that I would like to use up. My thought was to put the AMD card in the X16 slot for a DVI to the main monitor, and put the Nvidia card in the X4 slot for a DVI connection to a small utility monitor.

Does anyong see any pitfalls with installing the two cards and their respective drivers to the separate monitors?

This will be in a Win7 installation. Will Win7 recognoze that it has 2 monitors to address with dis-simlilar cards? I've never done this kind of 'card mix' before, so I thought I'd ask for opinions before I start.


My question would be why install the 8800GTS at all? The 6850 will run 3 screens no problem so 2 should be a piece of cake. The 8800GTS is just going to be more power consumption.

If you're building it with spare parts my question would be does the power supply handle both cards, but then it still goes back to my original question of why?
a c 274 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
a b Î Nvidia
August 13, 2012 7:09:58 PM

@blazorthon and maxx_power
Thanks guys, for the input. I was concerned that I would have to either enable one card or the other. That I couldn't have both cards active at the same time. Good to hear.

@ncasolo
I guess the answer is because I didn't want to waste gaming resources of the HD 6850 by having it drive a 2nd display. I realize the card can do up to 3 monitors, but adding a 2nd monitor increases the overall pixel count of the total display, doesn't it? Ex: instead of driving a 1920x1080 display, it would be driving a 3840x1080 display, no?
August 13, 2012 7:18:49 PM

clutchc said:
@blazorthon and maxx_power
Thanks guys, for the input. I was concerned that I would have to either enable one card or the other. That I couldn't have both cards active at the same time. Good to hear.

@ncasolo
I guess the answer is because I didn't want to waste gaming resources of the HD 6850 by having it drive a 2nd display. I realize the card can do up to 3 monitors, but adding a 2nd monitor increases the overall pixel count of the total display, doesn't it? Ex: instead of driving a 1920x1080 display, it would be driving a 3840x1080 display, no?


Good question. I don't have the answer but I do have another question. Will that second display be used as part of the gaming experience? I would guess if the answer is no the added "strain" on the 6850 would not cause a remarkable difference in FPS, but that is pure speculation on my part.

Edited to add: If the answer is yes my next question would be is the 8800GT that powers the second monitor going to be able to keep up with the 6850 powering the other monitor?
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
August 13, 2012 7:23:35 PM

clutchc said:
@blazorthon and maxx_power
Thanks guys, for the input. I was concerned that I would have to either enable one card or the other. That I couldn't have both cards active at the same time. Good to hear.

@ncasolo
I guess the answer is because I didn't want to waste gaming resources of the HD 6850 by having it drive a 2nd display. I realize the card can do up to 3 monitors, but adding a 2nd monitor increases the overall pixel count of the total display, doesn't it? Ex: instead of driving a 1920x1080 display, it would be driving a 3840x1080 display, no?


Are you trying to do something like eyefinity but across 2 different brands of cards ? That might be troublesome, if possible. I know some older games supported multi displays, but not ala-eyefinity. So it could render across 2 different video cards that are completely different. I'm not sure if this support is actually there in modern games.
a c 87 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
August 13, 2012 7:27:52 PM

The 8800GT doesn't need to be able to keep up with the 6850. Both cards are more than fast enough for regular desktop usage. They are powering two independent displays, so they aren't even communicating with each other except for the mouse and windows being moved between the displays. If you wanted to use both displays for gaming (it does't seem as if that's what you wanted, but I could be wrong), then there might be problems, but otherwise, there should not be any problems from using completely unmatched graphics to power independent displays.
a c 274 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
a b Î Nvidia
August 13, 2012 7:32:01 PM

I guess I should have explained what I had in mind to do with the two monitors. No, I won't be using the 2nd card or monitor for gaming. I would like to use monitor #1/HD 6850 for gaming, while using monitor #2/8800GTS to display the Windows desktop or whatever program is running. And of course, have an extended desktop when no game is being played.
a c 87 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
August 13, 2012 7:33:51 PM

For that purpose, what you have asked should work fine.
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
August 13, 2012 7:37:57 PM

clutchc said:
I guess I should have explained what I had in mind to do with the two monitors. No, I won't be using the 2nd card or monitor for gaming. I would like to use monitor #1/HD 6850 for gaming, while using monitor #2/8800GTS to display the Windows desktop or whatever program is running. And of course, have an extended desktop when no game is being played.


Ahh, okay. Then I concur with blazorthon. You should be fine and dandy with or without the 8800GTS to power the other monitors. Your 6850 might run a bit cooler without the 8800GTS underneath it.
August 13, 2012 7:39:03 PM

clutchc said:
I guess I should have explained what I had in mind to do with the two monitors. No, I won't be using the 2nd card or monitor for gaming. I would like to use monitor #1/HD 6850 for gaming, while using monitor #2/8800GTS to display the Windows desktop or whatever program is running. And of course, have an extended desktop when no game is being played.


Makes sense. If it were my build I'd try to determine if the extra desktop utilized many resources while gaming in an attempt to make it more efficient as far as power consumption goes.
a c 274 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
a b Î Nvidia
August 13, 2012 7:44:04 PM

Ok. Good points all. If I decide to build this "Frankenstein" PC made up of parts on the shelf, I will have to invest in a new PSU and a copy of Win7. Thanks for all the input.
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