Can You Use Two Graphic Cards at the Same Time?

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Written By Jam radar

Jam Radar specializes in delivering astute tech reviews, comprehensive guides, and precise troubleshooting solutions.

Use Two Graphic Cards at the Same Time

Dual graphics cards have risen to the occasion, collaborating to boost performance, video, and other features over a single graphics card. With that, we’ve already answered the question of whether or not you can use two graphics cards at the same time.

It is never, however, a one-word response. So, in this post, we’ll take a closer look at it.

Is it possible to use two graphics cards at the same time?

Yes, you can utilize two graphics cards at the same time – and it should work out in the end, with both cards producing graphical output. There are, however, some limitations and needs. If you’re using Windows 7, your two graphics cards must utilize the same driver – you can use either Nvidia’s SLI or AMD’s CrossFireX, but not both.

Furthermore, in the past, using two graphics cards at the same time required special and more expensive motherboards, as well as cards from the same vendor (Nvidia only or AMD only).

When it comes to Windows 10, on the other hand, Microsoft is unconcerned. The prerequisites for use have been eased, and DirectX 12 now supports MDA, or multi-display adapter, which allows applications to expressly operate with multiple displays, such as Nvidia SLI and AMD CFX cards.

The problem is that separate cards can’t be joined together to form a GPU array, which means they can’t be used to generate visuals in games. The second graphics card will be used by the system to generate graphics on the additional displays connected to it while operating independently in one PC.

Requirements for simultaneously using two graphics cards

Your PC must have AMD or Nvidia technology, which allows the cards to be linked, and to use dual or two graphics cards at the same time. Furthermore, for AMD CrossFire or Nvidia SLI to work, the PC must first have a suitable motherboard with the requisite PCI Express graphics slots.

To see if your motherboard supports twin graphics cards, look for the CFX or SLI emblem on the original box. Another option is to go to the motherboard’s official product page and look at the 

In order to use two graphics cards in a PC at the same time, your PC must be large enough to accommodate the additional component, i.e. the second GPU. It should also have a power supply capable of supporting both dual cards for effective operation. Another set of criteria is that you use a bridge connector to link the cards and that you enable SLI or CrossfireX in the GPU driver control panel.

Complications of Using a Second Graphics Card:

 Using a second graphics card can be motivated by the sheer improvement in raw performance. However, it is not without its drawbacks and liabilities:

Space and physical issues

 When it comes to adding a second GPU to your system, one of the most overlooked issues is space. You’ll need a motherboard with an appropriate number of PCIe slots, as stated in the prerequisites section above.

Furthermore, you will require sufficient clearance within the chassis. The GPUs, which continue to expand in size over time, require a lot of space inside the chassis.

You’ll need space for heat in addition to physical space. When you use two graphics cards, they will generate far more heat than if you only used one. If there isn’t enough clearance, the PC’s other components, such as the CPU, will be forced to work harder.

This will, once again, raise concerns about rising temperatures. Although you can remedy the problem by changing the heat sink, it should be noted that this adds even another layer of complexity.

Another physical issue is being able to provide the necessary power to run dual graphics cards in parallel. For example, if you had previously used a single high-end graphics card, you would have needed a 500-watt power supply.

When two cards are used together, they may require more than 850 watts to function effectively. Even if you could find a high-power source, the problem is that most computers do not have such a high-power supply.

Compatibility issues:

 Once you’ve gotten over the physical issues, you should think about compatibility. If you install two cards on your PC, one with 484 GB/s bandwidth and the other with 968 GB/s bandwidth, the two will not translate together, and the setup will fail.

Physical components, such as the motherboard, must also be compatible with the vendor you’ll be using – AMD or Nvidia. Even if all of the components are compatible, utilizing two high-end graphics cards with a low-end processor may result in the system restricting the amount of data it sends to the graphics card.

Due to a phenomenon is known as micro stuttering, SLI and Crossfire may occasionally cause a video to appear choppy. This problem can be difficult to work around at lower frame rates.

It’s also worth noting that if you try to install two graphics cards at the same time to boost performance, the results may be hampered or variable because performance is reliant on the hardware.

High price:

 Finally, if you want to use two graphics cards at the same time, you should examine your budget. Unlike the majority of other components, GPU prices have continued to rise indefinitely. One of the most significant drawbacks of employing two graphics cards in a system is the financial impact. Any top-of-the-line card will set you back at least $500.

Even if you choose low-cost dual-capability cards, it’s possible that you may buy a single card with the same or better performance for the same price, saving you time and money.

Is it still worthwhile to use two Different GPUs in One PC ?

Sure, two graphics cards can give you a significant performance boost, but is it worth it to experiment with such an expensive concept that also comes with so many risks?

There is no simple answer, however, if you are ready to put up with the negative effects and ACTUALLY require twin graphics cards on your PC, it may be worth it.

If all goes according to plan, you’ll have a dual-card configuration with greater framerates and an even higher ceiling for customizing your aesthetics. Instead of replacing a card totally, adding another graphics card will give you better performance, but the issue you must ask yourself is if you truly need it.

If you’re a committed gamer, or if your game spans multiple displays at high resolutions, using dual graphics cards can dramatically improve your game speed and overall gaming experience.

Using two graphics cards can undoubtedly benefit you if you have really intensive editing requirements or employ a multi-monitor setup.

However, if you’re a normal OC user with standard usage requirements, we don’t recommend linking up two graphics cards to your PC.

Can 2 graphics cards be used at once?

Yes, two graphics cards can be used at once in a computer system, a configuration known as SLI (Scalable Link Interface) for NVIDIA cards or CrossFire for AMD cards. This setup can provide improved graphics performance in applications that support multi-GPU setups, such as gaming or certain professional tasks. However, not all programs take advantage of dual graphics cards, and driver and compatibility issues can arise.

What happens if you put two different graphics cards in a computer?

If you put two different graphics cards in a computer, they will not work together to enhance graphics performance. Instead, they will operate independently, each handling its own tasks. This setup won’t provide the benefits of SLI or CrossFire technology and can lead to compatibility issues, driver conflicts, and potential system instability.

Why isn’t my GPU being recognized?

GPU not detected difficulties can happen for a variety of reasons, including not being properly plugged in or other more complex issues that would need more time and knowledge to resolve.
Here are several simple fixes for the GPU not recognized problem.
Compatibility difficulties — Perhaps you have an older motherboard and recently purchased a new GPU, or you have an inadequate power supply. Check that all of the power cables on your PSU, motherboard, and GPU are correctly connected.

How can I find out whether my computer has a second graphics card?

A number of users, particularly gamers, have expressed their dissatisfaction with their PCs’ inability to identify the second graphics card, instead of relying on the inbuilt GPU.
Here are several solutions that may assist you in detecting the computer’s second graphics card.
Check your GPU’s installation and slots – Remove the GPU from the motherboard completely and inspect for apparent damage; if not, replace the GPU and restart the computer.
Reinstall the Graphics Card Drivers — It’s possible that you haven’t updated your drivers or that they’ve been corrupted. As a result, you must reinstall the most recent Graphics Card Drivers for your model.
Here are several solutions that may assist you in detecting the computer’s second graphics card.

1. Install the most recent graphics and card drivers.
It’s a typical way, and most of the time, we forget to update our drivers while doing other things on the computer. Follow the steps below to see if your graphics card drivers are up to date:
Simply right-click My Computer and select Properties from the drop-down menu.
Device Manager can be found on the left side of the screen by clicking on it.
Look under Display Adapters for your PCI-Express graphics card, then right-click on it and select Update Driver Software.
You may also use the DriverFux-Banner utility to download and update drivers for your graphics card and other devices automatically. It will discover the most recent drivers for your device and, if any are faulty, it will automatically fix them.

2. Disable the onboard graphics processor.
The onboard graphics card in your computer usually prevents the second graphics card from working. As a result, you should disable it first and then see if the second graphics card is identified.
The following are the steps to turn off the inbuilt GPU:
From My Computer, go to the properties tab.
Right-click on your onboard graphics card under Display Adapters and select Disable.

3. In the BIOS, enable the second graphics card.
It’s possible that your PCI-Express graphics card isn’t even turned on, in which case you’ll need to disable the onboard GPU in BIOS and set your PCI-Express graphics card as the primary graphics device. To do so, follow the steps outlined below:
Start your computer again.
While the system is restarting, hit the F2 key to access the BIOS menu.
Go to Video Configuration under the Advanced tab.
Select PCI-Express Graphics from the First Display Device or Primary Display Adapter menu, then press Enter.
Finally, hit F10 to save your changes.

What do SLI and CFX have in common and what do they have in common?

Both NVIDIA’s SLI and AMD’s Crossfire are multi-GPU solutions that employ similar technology and allow you to use multiple graphics cards in the same system.
These technologies operate in two main modes:
Split Frame rendering — In this mode, the GPU divides the work into two halves, with one GPU working on one piece of the frame and the other on the other.
Alternate Frame Rendering — In this mode, the GPU’s duty is split between GPUs 1, 3, 5, and so on, with GPU 1 handling frames 1, 3, 5, and so on, and GPU 2 handling frames 2, 4, 6, and so on.


SLI systems are more expensive than Crossfire configurations due to the additional compensation that NVIDIA demands from motherboard manufacturers in order to be SLI approved.

In contrast, there is no such certification requirement in AMD, and it can be utilized with a wide range of low-cost CrossFire solutions.

Only two cards require an SLI bridge, whereas two AMD cards can interact over PCIe 3.0 on the latest AMD GPUs.

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