Do you need one video card or do you need more? Since Nvidia and ATI released technologies that permitted the use of more than one PCI express graphics card on a single computer, PC gamers and other computer enthusiasts are building super powerful gaming rigs. Do you really need these types of computers?
For multimedia professionals who deal with graphics and animations all day, the difference that multiple PCI express graphics cards can give is immediately felt. Applications will load faster, the graphics will look better and movement is seamless. For the average computer user, however, a low profile graphic card can do the job.
Currently, only two types of video cards can be hooked in batches of two to four to a single computer. These are the SLI video card and the CrossFire video card.
SLI stands for Scalable Link Interface. Graphics card manufacturer Nvidia introduced the SLI technology in 2004. At that time, only two SLI video cards could be used together in one computer. Since then, the SLI technology has evolved and improved. Now, there are quad SLI video cards. You can use four of these cards on you computer!
Shortly after Nvidia released the SLI cards, Nvidia’s competitor ATI also came up with its own platform for multiple cards — the ATI CrossFire. ATI introduced CrossFire video cards in 2005. Like SLI, CrossFire allows up to four graphics cards to be used in a single computer.
Compatibility issues with your motherboard will limit your plans of running multiple video cards on one machine. Only motherboards with nForce chipsets and certain Intel X58 motherboards can support SLI cards. The SLI video card and the CrossFire video card cannot be mixed and matched. ATI CrossFire cards are more adaptable and can be used on many Intel motherboards that have at least two PCIe slots.