Building a triple card system

I’m about to build myself a PC to be used mostly for games and game-related programming.

Was hoping to put three graphics cards in it, a 512MB 4850, a 512MB 9800 of some kind, and a 1024MB 9700. If the 4850 and 9800 were available in 1024MB versions, then I’d do away with the 9700, or maybe get a lower spec card instead. I’m trying to cover the high end of both vendors, and as a potentail bonus have a reasonably low end card if possible.

I have done some research, which I’ll summarize as follows: it seems to me that I need to get an SLI or Crossfire board, and just not use SLI or Crossfire.

I’m currently suffering from information overload, so any comments or advice on how to go about the above would be most welcome.


I would not try to use multiple cards from different vendors at the same time on the same machine.
But what I know …

Hi Zbuffer,

Why not? (If that looks like a silly question, please bear in mind that I’m also switching from Mac to PC with this).

Any reason not to have 3 different graphics drivers installed?

I don’t actually want to use them all at the same time (at least to start with). I just want to have them all physically in the machine, with two of them disabled at any given time, to avoid having to swap them physically when I want to use a different one…


form here :

SLI GPUs | Graphics Cards
NVIDIA SLI GPUs deliver powerful, elegant and super-rich graphics for games and other graphics-intensive applications. Combining two NVIDIA SLI-Ready certified graphics cards (with the same GPU) in a single system with an nForce SLI MCP results in up to double the graphics performance.

I seem to remember that you could mix gpus on some ati cards, but generally it’s not a good idea.
Though it would be nice to be able to use a cheap low end card to enhance physics.

If you only want to use one card at a time, don’t forget to desinstall its driver before installing the driver for another card.

And you should really ask the guys at the beyond3d forums, they definitely know more about this kind of stuff.

Thanks to everyone, advice much appreciated.

You should be able to do this (as long as the motherboard has 3 full-length PCI-E slots), but only the first card will be able to render 3d graphics.

Which means this is useless for your purpose - it only helps if you need > 3 monitors at the same time.

Why will only the first card be able to render 3D graphics? Is there a limitation in Windows that causes this?

Thanks & regards, charliejay