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How does one set up dual graphics cards? Answered

Hello instructables community,
I plan on building a computer in the near future, and I know how to do assemble and setup everything, however one newer concept has caught my eye, that is dual graphics cards.  I like the idea because I could buy 2 lower end gaming cards and have the preformence of an expensive higher end one for a lesser cost. I plan on using ATI cards, so I know I need ATI crossfire.  However I just want to know the basics of doing this from somebody that has actually done it.  

                                                                                                                   Thanks,
                                                                                                                            junits15

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BurfBest Answer (author)2010-03-30

Its actually fairly simple if you know your way around inside a PC. 

Install the cards in two adjacent PCI Express slots and then, in your case, the ATI Crossfire cards have two ribbon cables that must be connected at the top edge of the cards. You will have to activate the dual card setup. On some mobos you do this manually by repositioning a jumper and others have an option in the BIOS. The manual for your board should tell you how to enable a system using dual cards. Once you have done this you can button up your case.

Boot into Windows and a Found New Hardware message will appear on your screen. Follow the instructions as you would for any new hardware installation.

After Windows has restarted, go into the Catalyst Control Center and choose the Advanced Setup option. Scroll to the Crossfire option, tick the box to activate and your display should go black momentarily while Crossfire is initialized.

You will then be running dual ATI video cards.

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junits15 (author)Burf2010-03-31

So if I understand correctly, it all pivots on wheather the motherboard can support dual graphics cards?  That seems simple enough, I figured it would take some wierd DOS based config.   
                                                                               thank you :)

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lemonie (author)2010-03-31

Do read reviews on cards available just before you start buying. It does not necessarily follow that buying two gives you better value for money than one at the same price.

L

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junits15 (author)lemonie2010-03-31

I already have, I plan to use two ATI radeon HD 5770s, one of these cards can run most games decently, so I figure two should be even better.

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Supercoke (author)junits152011-01-23

thats EXACLY the same graphisc card i have... i think...

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lemonie (author)junits152010-03-31

"I figure" doesn't necessarily mean it will. These cards are a funny area, weigh-in overclocking etc, and you might find a better value for money on a single. I'm not disagreeing, just advising to look at independent reviews before paying. Logically, the materials cost alone would make two cards more expensive, but as I say it's a funny area.

L

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junits15 (author)lemonie2010-03-31

I porably should have said before, it isnt set in stone, i might change my mind 4-6 more times before I find a card setup that I like.

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gmxx (author)2010-03-30

 The technology is called ati crossfire. it should be a install the cards, and enable via tha ati control center answer. some cards require you to use a external dvi link to enable crossfire.

also, with some applications coding, 3d performance at low framerates will be affected.

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Re-design (author)2010-03-30

In windows xp the set up is almost automatic.  Windows will detect both cards and you can go to a setup routine to decide how they are configured.

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orksecurity (author)Re-design2010-03-30

I know that works for two monitors. But the querant seems to think that Windows is able to distribute graphic computation across two cards while producing output for one. I grant that this is possible, but I haven't heard that claim before...?

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