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How to Put Two Graphics Cards in a PC

How to put two graphics cards in a PC

SLI and CrossFire technologies from Nvidia and AMD have enabled users with multiple graphics cards to dramatically increase the performance of a computer. Therefore, here we show you how to put two graphics cards in a PC .

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What are SLI and Crossfire?

Both SLI and Crossfire consist of a system that links two graphics cards in the same computer with the aim of doubling its performance. Two GPUs process the same image, which offers greater speed and power when gaming or working with graphic design.

Currently its implementation is not very popular, since the new GPUs guarantee good performance on their own . Still, it’s a good option for users with older graphics cards or those who don’t yet have the budget to upgrade to a Next Gen graphics card . 

Requirements to put two graphics cards in a PC

Please note that it is not possible to install two GPUs on all computers . A series of criteria must be met for this technology to work and not pose a risk to your PC:

Power supply

The power source must be powerful and have at least double the requirements of each card separately . If each GPU consumes 250 W, you need a power of 500 W for the two copies. And you must add the power required by the rest of the PC’s components.

In this sense, it is mandatory that you acquire a certified source, of at least 1000 W if you want to play it safe.

READ ALSO: Best Desktop PC for Video Editing in 2022

Motherboard Compatibility

It is essential that your motherboard supports the use of two graphics adapters simultaneously . Although most motherboards are CrossFire compatible, SLI motherboards are a bit more difficult to find , as well as being expensive.

As if that were not enough, you must request the license from Nvidia to activate the technology on your motherboard.

PCI-E connectors

The only way to connect two graphics cards to a computer is to have a pair of PCI-E slots. Other than that, one of the two has to be x16 and the other x8, so that they both work at x8 on par.

Graphic card

Lastly, and probably most importantly, the GPUs must be the same model , and it is recommended that they be from the same company.

That is, if you are going to put an MSI RTX 2080 Ti in SLI, its partner must be an MSI RTX 2080 Ti, not Zotac, Asus or another brand, much less a GPU that is not from the same series.

Although technically speaking it is possible to link different cards together, the stronger one will end up sinking the weaker one, causing you to lose money. Finally, make sure that both models, or in any case the motherboard, have their respective CrossFire or SLI bridge.

How to connect two graphics cards on a PC step by step

Once you are sure that you meet the requirements, it is time to install the two GPUs in your computer . The procedure is very simple, and it is almost identical to what you would do in a normal installation of graphics cards.

Open your PC tower and remove the motherboard. Put it on a stable and safe table and insert the two graphics cards into the corresponding slots. Tighten the screws to the chassis and check that everything is secure.

Connect both video cards to the power supply, using the cables with the proper pins. If you don’t, the charts won’t work .

Use the bridge of the motherboard or the one of the GPUs to make the union between the two adapters , being very careful not to make sudden movements that damage the pins.

Assemble the whole computer, connect the peripherals and turn on your PC.

So that you do not miss any details, we leave you a video with the explanation:

How to configure the two video cards in the computer

Even if you already have everything assembled, it does not mean that the system will work perfectly by itself. Now you have to make the configuration so that your operating system and the rest of the hardware recognize both graphics cards.

For Nvidia graphics , open the Nvidia control panel, usually located on the Windows taskbar. Select the Configure SLI section and choose the Automatic Selection option . Although you can do it manually, it is preferable to let the system itself do the configuration.

In AMD graphics , activation is automatic, and usually no extra step is required beyond just updating the drivers. In any case, we advise you to take a look at its settings panel, especially in the energy section.

Final recommendations if you have a computer with 2 graphics cards

Before installing two video cards in your PC, make sure that the rest of your components have the necessary capacity to take advantage of them . If your processor is not very powerful or you are short on RAM, you will not be able to use the two GPUs, but a dreaded “ bottleneck ” will occur.

It is also appropriate that you install a powerful UPS in your computer to protect it from possible failures and voltage disturbances.

Finally, evaluate if it is more profitable to buy two different graphics cards or a new generation model in which you do not need a companion to obtain maximum performance.

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