View Full Version : Are There Benefits of Two Video Cards?

08-09-2005, 12:59 PM
Now comes PCI Express motherboards. They're an advance, replacing the not-so-long lasting AGP motherboards. Motherboards that have PCI Express slots for graphics cards offer a feature not available with older boads that sported Accelerated Graphics Port slots, and that is two PCI Express slots, giving you the ability to install and run two graphics cards in SLI mode, or Scalable Link Interface. While this may seem like a drooling temptation for PC gurus and hardcore gamers, their are cons to dual graphics cards.

NVidia was the first to offer SLI for its line of GeForce 6800 GT Overclocked cards with 256MB of DDR3 RAM. Not long after, ATI offered SLI on its X850XT cards. Since these cards pack some serious gear, it gets hot in the kitchen. Today's graphics cards come with cooling fans for its GPUs (Graphics Processing Units), and with two cards, it can get noisy. But here is the real turn off...

Many of the benchmark tests by PC Magazine using Doom 3, Halo and a couple of other popular PC games, yielded only small increases in frames per second. That raises the question of whether it's financially feasible to buy two cards. Granted, there is only so many FPS that a game can realistically render, so two graphics cards will no doubt remove any possible barrier in games performance, let alone heavy 3D graphics rendering projects or video editing and rendering. However, for those of you who have more than two expansion cards that require a traditional PCI slot (Most ATX form factor motherboards with an AGP slot will have five PCI slots), PCI Express motherboards are not a good bet, unless a couple of those cards are not needed. Most PCI Express boards sport only two PCI slots, leaving the rest for PCI Express X16 and the smaller PCI Express slots.

One fact is for sure, as we slowly gravitate toward 64-bit platforms, older 32-bit motherboards are finding their way into bargain and budget PCs, or the garbage.