Can You install Two Graphics Cards On Any Motherboard? For years, the quickest path to improved presentation, 3D, and gaming performance has been to add a second graphics card.
Today’s desktop motherboards can support two graphics cards. But this isn’t the cheapest or easiest way to improve your PC’s graphical capabilities.
Although adding a second graphics card to your computer can offer some benefits, such as improving gaming performance and especially 3D graphics, it can also carry with it some liabilities.
Can You Install 2 GPU On Any Motherboard?
It is a good idea to put 2 GPUs in your motherboard but to do that, you need Nvidia or AMD technology that links the two cards to give you a single output.
The Nvidia technology is known as SLI while the AMD graphics technology is called CrossFire. To use any of the two, your PC must use a compatible motherboard, which must also have required PCI Express graphic slots.
Note: To find out if your motherboard will support dual graphic cards, you need to check for its specification on the official product page. You could also look for SLI or CrossFire symbol on the box your motherboard came in.
How do I connect more than 2 GPUs to my motherboard?
To use dual graphic cards, you need a desktop case that is wide enough to take extra card and you also need a power supply that can run 2 GPU. You must link the cards using a bridge connector, which may come with your motherboard or GPU.
You need to also enable CrossFire or SLI feature in your GPU driver control panel to be able to link two graphic cards.
Here is what you need to know.
You can put 2 GTX 480’s in a PCI slot. The main issue is the GPU and the memory have to be aligned in the slot. This means the GPU can’t be shorter than the slot length, and the memory can’t be wider than the slot width.
If you put the 2 cards in the same PCI slot, the width of the memory would exceed the width of the slot, and the memory would be too wide for the slot.
If you put the 2 cards in different PCI slots, the GPU would be too long for the slot.
If you put the 2 cards in a PCI-to-PCI bridge, you’d have to use 2 PCI slots, and the cards would have to be in the same PCI slot.I don’t think you can put 2 in a PCI-to-PCI bridge.
I’m not sure how much of this you already know.
If you can get the card(s) to fit in the PCI slot, then the PCI-to-PCI bridge isn’t necessary. If you can’t get the card(s) to fit in the PCI slot, then you’re not going to be able to get them to work together in SLI.
If you want to put the cards in different PCI slots, then you can use the PCI-to-PCI bridge.
If you want to use SLI, then you need to get the cards to fit in the same PCI slot.
Benefits Of Using Multiple GPU
The main benefit of using to graphic cards is to increase your video game performance. When your computer uses two or more GPU to render the same 3D image, it runs at higher resolutions and higher frame rates with additional filters.
That extra capacity improves the graphics quality in your games. Many graphics cards render games up to 1080p resolutions and if you combine two cards, the game will run at even higher resolution like on 4k display that provide four times the resolution.
The benefit of using CrossFire or SLI-compatible is that you can upgrade your computer anytime without having to replace the graphic card. You can also add the second GPU later to increase the performance of your PC without removing the existing graphics card.
Disadvantages of Using Multiple Graphics Cards
Cost is the main disadvantage of using multiple graphics cards. A good card can cost you $500 or more.
Another minus is that not every game benefits from multiple GPU and some graphics engines don’t even handle two cards properly. In fact, the performance of some games may reduce in performance.
Graphics cards are always power-hungry, so you may need double the amount of normal power if you use two graphics cards. For instance, one high-end graphics card may require up to 500-watt power supply in order to work properly. So, two of such cards will require up to 850 watts.
But most desktops are not equipped with high-wattage power supplies. So, check if your system can run two graphics cards before starting to use it.
Who Can Run Multiple Graphics Cards?
If you do not use two monitors or play video games with your PC, you will not notice any improvement in your system performance if you use dual graphics cards. You can also incur huge cost from buying the cards, motherboard and other important hardware.
But if you use two monitors and play video games, dual graphics cards will improve the performance of your PC.
Related: What Is MSI Game Boost
Top 5 motherboard with multiple GPUs?
Games and software consume more and more resources, which is why PC manufacturers are trying to build powerful PC parts to fulfil user requirements.
If you are looking for the top-rated motherboards with multiple GPUs, here are the best:
1. Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Ultra Motherboard
Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Ultra Motherboard is one of the best motherboards with multiple GPUs. It is durable and offers tons of amazing features that are beneficial for top-quality or high-end PC users. This motherboard has three slots and you can easily install two SLI graphics cards on it.
It is also equipped with high-quality and durable RGB headers. It also gives the facility up to 3 M.3 solid-state disk and six SATA storage. It supports both 8th and 9th generation Intel Core i3, i5, i7 and i9 processors.
- Intel Optane memory
- Advanced thermal design
- 12+1 phase power design
- Dual-channel memory
- Onboard WIFI
- Four memory slots
- WIMA audio capacitors
2. ASRock Motherboard Z390 Taichi Ultimate
This motherboard is another top motherboard that can handle dual GPUs (Graphic Processing Units). It supports 8th and 9th Gen Intel Core CPUs. It is equipped with dual GPUs as it has three Pcle slots and supports dual NVIDIA SLI graphics cards.
- 4 DIMMs
- 3 Pcle slots
- IR Digital PWM
- Only one HDMI
- Supports DDR4 RAM
- 12 power phase design
- Dual Intel Gigabyte LAN
MSI is a popular motherboard known for delivering durable, reliable, lightweight, compact, portable and build-quality motherboards at a good price. This motherboard is a highly recommended motherboard with premium features.
It supports DDR4 RAM and offers AMD AM4 CPU sockets. It also supports 2nd and 3rd generation AMD Ryzen. Also, it has an audio boost 4 technology as well as Nahimic 3 software that enhances immersive experience.
This motherboard supports dual memory with maximum storage capacity of 128GB.
- Build quality
- Gaming motherboard
- Dual-channel memory
- AMD AM4 CPU socket
- Patented fan design
- Frozr heatsink
- Dual ball bearings
- Propeller blade technology
4. Asus Prime Z390-A Motherboard
You will surely love Asus Prime Z390-A motherboard. It is affordable and offers amazing features. It is based on the ATX form factor and supports LGA 1151 CPU socket.
It offers 3 x Pcle x 16 slots.
- LAN guard
- 8-channel HD audio
- Quality of materials
- Over-voltage protection
- High-definition audio Codec
- Fan Xpert 4
- 5X Protection III hardware-level safeguard
- 5-way optimization
- Patent-pending safe slot
5. MSI MPG Z490M Gaming Edge Motherboard
- Built-in WIFI
- Micro ATX form factor
- 2 Pcle X16 slots
- Durable and portable
- Easy installation
- Designed for gaming
- Display port
- Worth the money
How many GPU can a motherboard support?
It’s true that it is possible to use 2 GPUs on a motherboard, but that’s not necessarily something you should rush out and do. For starters, additional power requirements will be needed, and as stated above the best way to provide sufficient power to 2 GPUs is to hook each GPU up to its own PSU.
This can be cost prohibitive for some people, particularly if you need more than one PSU (which is likely) or if the motherboard in question does not have enough SATA ports for all of your HDDs and SSDs.
Both PSUs then are going to the GPUs, so you’re eating up 3 valuable SATA ports before you even get started. And what about cable management? Do you really want both graphics cards using up a PCI Express slot? Why risk a disaster? It is all up to you!