Dual Graphics Cards, Pros & Cons. Are they worth it?
Two graphics cards can provide improved performance by working cooperatively. You can enjoy enhanced 3D videos and gaming performance. The most famous brands Nvidia and AMD, both provide solutions to run the multiple graphics cards.
However, knowing about the worth of using two graphics cards is a detailed story, and you need to read the full article for this. Here are the main issues that you need to know.
Main Requirements for Using Two Graphics Cards
Your laptop or computer needs NVIDIA or AMD technology to run two graphics cards at a time. This technology will combine the Input of both graphics cards and produce single quality output for you. The NVIDIA technology solution is called SLI, and the AMD technology solution called CrossFire.
To use any SLI or CrossFire technology, your laptop or gaming PC should have a compatible motherboard with necessary PCI express graphics slots for both cards.
You can check the support of SLI and CrossFire technology by merely visiting the official online product page, and in specifications, you will find the motherboard’s specifications. The second method is to check the SLI or CrossFire symbol on the box of the laptop (Motherboard).
Suppose your motherboard does not support SLI and Crossfire technology, and you want to update your system’s motherboard. In that case, you also have to update your PC’s desktop casing because having two cards require a large space to fit the extra graphics card and a power supply in the casing for running a card.
If your motherboard already has the option of SLI/ CrossFire technology, then it means you don’t need to update the casing of your PC.
It would help if you also had a “bridge” connecting the two graphics cards, and mostly it comes with your video cards or with the motherboard.
There is a little bit of difference between SLI and CrossFire Technology. You need two same GPU cards in SLI technology, such as two GTX 460, and you don’t need the same manufacturer for both cards.
However, in CrossFire technology, you can pair Radeon 7970 graphics card with Radeon 7950 card. You can check the AMD’s CrossFire page or NVIDIA’s SLI page for compatibility of cards.
What is SLI Technology?
NVIDIA is a manufacturer of Scalable Link Interface (SLI) technology. SLI developed to link two or more graphics processors and to use both together to produce a single quality display output.
SLI uses different algorithms and programs to run two graphics cards in parallel. You can connect up to 4 matching graphics cards together and can produce one single high-quality output as a display.
Your output display result will increase with the use of SLI technology, and your system framerate will grow 60-90 percent that will generate the high-end display for games and other HD videos.
You can only connect the same model of graphics cards in SLI technology to generate quality output.
What is CrossFire Technology?
AMD develops crossFire. Crossfire also works the same as SLI. There is only a little bit of difference between both SLI and CrossFire technologies. CrossFire helps to use multiple graphics cards in a motherboard with a single CPU.
Crossfire combines the processing of two graphics cards and generates the one quality output in a display. The use of CrossFire or SLI will increase quality display performance.
You can run high-end games at higher frame rates that may not be possible with one average traditional graphics card. Crossfire enables users to update the system by just adding a second graphics card in the motherboard. So, you don’t need to replace your current system for quality output.
You can combine different graphics cards of the same generation in CrossFire technology.
How to Install SLI and CrossFire?
After the bridge’s hardware setting and attachment with both cards, you need to open the “drivers control panel.” I hope you have updated your drivers. Now enable the Crossfire or SLi setting. After the enabling of SLi or CrossFire, you will notice the boost in graphics performance.
You will notice this change in most of the 4K games. If the graphics of any game already run smoothly with one graphics card, then you will not feel any change in that game. However, you must feel a significant performance change in other games and videos.
Both SLI and CrossFire technologies aim to give you the absolute HD quality display by combining multiple graphics cards on a single motherboard. It is also possible that you purchase an SLI or CrossFire enabled motherboard now and use it with a single graphics card.
After some time, you can add second graphics cards for high-end quality output when you have more money.
What are the Benefits of Using Two Graphics Cards
The following are the primary benefits of the use of more than one graphics card.
- Higher Resolutions: If a single Graphics card can show you a quality graphics display, then what will be the performance of more than one graphics card in your system? A single graphics card can handle the resolutions of games up to 1080P. After installing multiple graphics cards, you will enjoy 4K displays that will increase the display of your system approx, four times.
- Multiple Monitor Support: If you have installed multiple graphics cards, you can connect multiple curved monitors with your system. Two Graphics cards mean you can connect two monitors concurrently. Two monitors are the requirement of programmers and gamers (occasionally).
- Always Working: If your graphics card will damage due to any issue, then your second card is still in working, and your work will never stop. This working is not possible in a single graphics card motherboard.
- Enhanced Gaming Performance: Your 3D and 4K videos and games will run at excellent higher resolutions with more filters and enhanced frame rates. The use of multiple graphics cards will allow you to enjoy superior boosts in graphics quality during advanced games.
- Easy Upgradition of System: Your system’s graphics will boost with adding second graphics cards, and you will not need to replace your current gaming PC or laptop. The use of SLI or CrossFire compatible motherboard will heighten your gaming experience and will save your money that you may spend to replace a PC or laptop.
- Price Difference: The graphics card prices vary card to card, but in most cases running two average range graphics cards is cheaper than running a high-end graphics card. It means you can get higher performance at a more affordable rate. Check out this article for cheap graphics cards under $100.
- And if you already have a graphics card, then you just need to buy a new and attach it. While with a single graphics card you will have to sell your previous one and buy a new one.
What are the Disadvantages of Using Two Graphics Cards?
The use of multiple graphics cards also have few cons that are the following:
- Compatibility Issues: Do you know all games are not compatible with dual video cards? Some games may exhibit decreased performance because their graphics engines do not mesh well with the Dual GPU system.
- Cost of Graphics Card: Graphics cards are not available cheaply, and you may get a dual graphics card at least $ 500-$600. You also can get a single advanced HD graphics card in the same price range.
- Power Consumption: Two graphics cards need double power than one graphics card. Dual GPU cards are power-hungry, and they both need a continuous power supply. One high graphics card may consume a 600-watt power supply during its performance. Two graphics cards may consume 1000 watts approx. Therefore, it is essential to check the power consumption of dual cards and one card’s power consumption.
- Performance: The efficiency of two graphics cards varies on the game to game basis. Few games do not support the graphics for multiple graphics cards. The one graphics card can support all games without any issues. The processor will also consume his performance to handle two graphics cards, and the low-end processor may not perform well. The high-end processor is recommended for two graphics processors.
- Micro Shuttering: Sometimes, Crossfire and SLI cause a phenomenon that makes the games and videos look a tad choppy, especially at lower framerates.
Advanced Graphics Cards can meet the Operating System requirements quickly. DirectX 9 is an only compatibility list from Microsoft required for a graphics card to run Windows 8. You can also run graphics cards on Windows 7, but there are higher requirements. Windows 7, with a 128MB video card, can handle a 1080P resolution.
The latest Windows version, such as Windows 10, is compatible with all the latest graphics cards, and you will not face any issue to install the drivers of any advanced video card in your Windows 10. LSI and CrossFire also compatible with Windows 10, and you need to update the drivers online.
If you face any issue, then online support is also available, or you can Google you any query regarding Graphics cards and Windows compatibility.
What is best: Two Good Graphics Cards Vs. One Superb Card?
You can get an excellent display with the use of two graphics cards in one computer. Two graphics cards have multiple advantages. The main advantage is an uninterrupted performance in case of failure of one graphics card. But you may face noise issues, extra power consumption, and sometimes lower performance of the processor/ system.
One superb graphics card can give you an excellent display with the consumption of a lower power supply approx 500 watts. You will not face noise issues, and your system will also not go warm. Your high-end graphics card will be enough to support all types of video games.
If you are a game lover and love to play extreme resolutions across multiple displays, then two graphics cards will provide better performance. However, I have described all aspects of a single graphics card and multiple graphics cards. Some experts suggested that it is better to install an excellent high-quality graphics card and convert it to CrossFire or SLI later.
The cost of the motherboard, graphics cards, and the bridge is expensive. Secondly, you will not see any improvement in the system’s performance if you use two monitors with your PC or do not play video games.
More than one graphics card suggested for 4k gamers, enthusiast users in need of 4 + display, and Ultra resolutions. The single graphics cards suggested for Home and office use, video editors, and standard resolution gamers.
I will select a high-performance graphics card for my system rather than two graphics cards in Crossfire or SLI, so I never face system tweaks, extra noise, or shutter issues. So, weight the advantages and disadvantages and select the best option for you.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I use two different GPUs on the motherboard?
Yes, if your motherboard supports two cards, then you can use. Check the specifications of your motherboard, if it supports SLI or crossfire. Otherwise, you need to upgrade your motherboard. (The procedure to check your motherboard compatibility for two cards mentioned in the article)
My Windows 10 Home can support two graphics cards?
Yes, all the latest operating systems, including Windows 10 Home, can support two graphics cards in a single motherboard.
Do I need two graphics cards for dual monitors?
A graphics card with two ports can support a dual-monitor setup can handle two screens simultaneously. It is not necessary to have two graphics cards to run two monitors on one PC.
Video cards with dual monitor connection ports typically support dual-monitor setups. However, some graphics cards only have a single connection port thus only supports a single monitor.
What’s the point of having two graphics cards.
If you are a gamer and you like to play high-end resolutions games, you must upgrade your system with two graphics cards.
Is crossfire worth it?
Crossfire is worthy, but you need to check the compatibility of graphics cards on the Crossfire page.
What is a CrossFire Bridge?
The CrossFire bridge is a small piece of a cable that combines the processing of two or more graphics cards.