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You may be able to host two GPUs in your computer, but is this option worth exploring? Can a single graphics card do enough, or is a dual setup necessary for high-end gaming and design work?

What are the requirements for dual graphics cards?

Before even considering whether a dual graphics card setup is better than a single setup, you need to figure out how you can install more than one graphics card in your computer.

To run two graphics cards in your PC, your computer needs access to technology provided by NVIDIA or AMD that allows more than one GPU to produce a single visual output. These technologies are called CrossFire for AMD and SLI for NVIDIA. You can check if your PC supports CrossFire or SLI by seeing if your motherboard and GPU support the technologies.

Identifying your existing GPU is simple. Windows 11 users can press the Windows key, type Task Manager, and then select the Performance tab to see the GPU.

how to know what graphics card you have windows 11

The easiest way to see if your current graphics card supports SLI or CrossFire technology is to visit the manufacturer’s website. For example, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 confirms that it is “NVIDIA SLI Ready” and supports SLI HB Bridge.

nvidia gtx 1070 sli ready specifications

To check if your motherboard supports SLI or CrossFire, you can look for the SLI or CrossFire symbols on the motherboard box or check the manufacturer’s website for specifications.

how to see if your motherboard supports crossfire or sli

In addition to the supported components, you also need to have a desktop PC case that is large enough to fit two graphics cards and a power supply unit (PSU) that can provide enough power to both GPUs.

RELATED: How important is the power supply unit (PSU) when building a PC?

Benefits of having more than one graphics card

There are quite a few benefits of having dual graphics cards. The main advantage is the increase in gaming performance; rendering is split between two cards instead of one, increasing frame rates and achieving higher resolutions.

To further boost performance, dual graphics cards offer double the VRAM. If you had, for example, two 4 GB graphics cards, your total VRAM would increase to 8 GB. SLI compatible games like GTA V take full advantage of this technology and enjoy the fast-paced action this AAA title has to offer, with exceptional frame rates and smooth gameplay.

Possibly one of the most practical advantages of dual graphics cards is that your display options open up to a broader market. If you’re running a dual-monitor setup and your existing graphics card only supports one monitor or supports two but only has one HDMI and one DisplayPort, then you’ll have more options when installing dual graphics cards.

Disadvantages of dual graphics cards

The main downside to a dual graphics card setup is cost. For example, a graphics card like the ASUS GeForce GTX 1050 Ti will set you back around $250. However, if you install two comparable graphics cards, you’re looking at more than $500 for this type of setup.

ASUS PH-GTX1050TI-4G GeForce GTX 1050 Ti

Of course, you could have two low to mid-end graphics cards, which makes for a really good one that costs a bit less than a high-end model. But then you’re doubling your power requirements, and frankly, it’s more of a pain to keep up with the technology on the GPU market and upgrade two graphics cards than one.

You also need to consider the potential cost of ensuring your setup can handle two graphics cards. If your PC components are not suitable for a dual card environment as explained above, you will have to spend more money on upgrading your hardware.

Lastly, if you’re using the latest hardware, you’re unlikely to find support for dual-card technologies. Modern GPUs are capable of high-performance gaming without the need for a multi-GPU setup. And, with support for SLI and CrossFire declining, game developers are favoring single graphics card machines. Graphics cards like Gigabyte’s GeForce GTX 1660 OC support one HDMI output and three DisplayPort outputs, meaning a multi-monitor setup is within reach and costs less than two mid-range cards.

Less is often more

While it’s entirely possible to install two graphics cards in one computer, it’s not necessarily the most effective way to improve your PC’s graphics performance. Unless you’re on a tighter budget with a mid-range platform that requires a multi-monitor setup for work or play, you’ll likely get better results by upgrading your PC and housing only a high-end graphics card.

With technology supporting dual graphics cards like SLI and CrossFire, if you’re considering a dual graphics card setup, it might be worth waiting for companies like NVIDIA to invest more of a focus on multiple GPUs or identify what’s dragging your current one down. shut down your computer and upgrade your components when you can.

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