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For gaming enthusiasts, the immense enjoyment experienced from playing the latest video game can quickly turn to disappointment if your graphics card is outdated and slows the game down. Before you ditch your computer or quit gaming, there is a simple solution that could see you enhance your current computer set up so that you can get maximum performance from your game. This can all be achieved by using two graphics cards. Read on to see how to make dual graphics work for you. 

graphics card

Why should you consider upgrading to two graphics cards?

While this is not a solution for every gamer, it can be a useful compromise for gamers who need that additional graphics capability without the cost of upgrading their current graphics card. So who will dual graphics really benefit? 

Anyone who plays video games can make use of two graphics cards, especially if they like to play each game in the highest quality setting. In addition, if you use multiple monitors then two graphics cards can be useful when running different programs on each screen.  

If you have a need for a greater graphics capacity then anyone can have a go at using dual graphics, as long as their computer will support it and they are happy to spend time altering the settings to make it work. It can be a useful cheaper step to try if the alternative is updating your graphics card to a more premium level option. 

Is your computer compatible?

The first step you should check before spending money on extra graphics cards, is that your computer has the capability to support the use of dual graphics? This means that your computer either needs to be able to run NVIDIA, which is SLI graphics, or AMD, which is Crossfire graphics. 

Then you need to ensure that the motherboard is able to run two graphics cards and that it is compatible with the graphics cards that you want to use. You can check the motherboard’s website to check these specifications and make sure that dual graphics are supported. 

Lastly, you need to know how to choose two graphics cards that are compatible with each other. This means that for SLI systems the cards should have the same GPU but for Crossfire systems there is a bit more leeway.

There are a wide range of graphics cards available for you to choose from online. Once you have checked which ones are compatible, have a look at bestbudget for the cheapest options for good quality graphics cards that can help you to save money when setting up this system. 

Advantages of using two graphics cards 

The top reason for using dual graphics is for the improved video game performance, with improved 3D graphics and increased frame rates. In addition, the resolution can be greatly improved, even up to four times in some specific situations. This can make a huge difference to your gaming experience when compared with your original graphics card. 

The use of two graphic cards can also work well for computer systems that use multiple monitors. It means that each screen can simultaneously run graphics-heavy programs without any compromise on performance or speed. For this function, the graphics cards do not necessarily have to be the same, as each one can be installed independently on each monitor. 

If you get lucky with this system and manage to make it work for you, then you can potentially save yourself money, especially if you are using two budget graphics cards to create the overall performance level of a premium costing graphics card. 

The downside of using two graphics cards

Not every game will be improved as a result of using dual graphics, as not every game has the capability to run this system. This can make using two graphics cards risky. Certain games will show stuttering when two graphics cards are used, which can ruin the gaming experience or you might not see any overall improvement when compared to using your original graphics card.   

Running two graphics cards will greatly increase the power demand. This means that you will have to check that your computer has the power capability to run at this level, and many basic computers may be limited in this area. As a result of the increased power requirement, you will find that more heat and noise are produced, which can be unappealing to some computer users. 

How to set up two graphics cards 

Firstly, you will need to ensure that you have all of the appropriate equipment. 

  • Two compatible graphics cards 
  • Compatible motherboard 
  • SLI or Crossfire bridge cable 

Setting up dual graphics cards

  1. Set up the system by inserting each graphics card into the cardholder slots.
  2. Install the cards onto your computer. This process should start automatically once you have started your computer. Follow any instructions on your screen to enable this process to be completed. 
  3. Open up the appropriate NVIDIA or AMD control folder, depending on which system you are using. Enable SLI or Crossfire to run. 
  4. Now you are ready to test out your new dual graphics system and can start playing games. 

What is the alternative?

If the use of two graphics cards does not appeal to you, or if your computer is not capable of running this system, then you are going to have to look for another option to improve the graphics on your computer. Often, this means a complete upgrade of your graphics card to one that has the capability that you require. Unfortunately, this option can be more costly, though it is often simpler to set up, and you will be instantly pleased with the results. 

Is it worth it?

Whether the use of two graphics cards is worth it depends on what you want to achieve. If you are a big gaming enthusiast and use multiple monitors then yes it can definitely be worth giving a dual graphics set up a try. In some situations, it can work out cheaper than a graphics card upgrade but you will need to be happy adjusting your computer settings and have the computer knowledge to get both of the graphics cards to work. It can be the riskier option but you may be rewarded for the time and effort that you put in to make this dual graphics system work. 

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