Can I have 2 video cards but only activate one of them?

They make noise, too.

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tzhu07
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Can I have 2 video cards but only activate one of them?

Post by tzhu07 » Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:21 pm

Basically, I was thinking about this:

I love the silence and low power usage of a fanless video card, but I also want to game occasionally.

What if I bought two video cards, one fanless and one high-end for gaming and install both inside the computer. When I'm not gaming, only the fanless card would be used and the gaming card would essentially "shut down" (not idle, but completely off and not making any noise or drawing any power), and when I'm gaming the inverse would happen. Both video cards would be hooked up to the same monitor and I would simply toggle my monitor input as I enter and leave the gaming environment.

Is this at all possible?

RussellG
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Re: Can I have 2 video cards but only activate one of them?

Post by RussellG » Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:29 pm

No.

What you're describing sounds an awful lot like what Lucid is doing with their software and the new on-die GPU's. You can run integrated while the discrete card remains idle until you enter a game, when the discrete GPU will kick in.

tzhu07
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Re: Can I have 2 video cards but only activate one of them?

Post by tzhu07 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:58 pm

I figured there was no way to do this, which sucks because currently business class computers and gaming computers still have to be mutually exclusive.

Most of the stuff I do on my computer are in line with business computers: fast, reliable, silent, efficient, aesthetically simple, ergonomic, etc.

But when you want to add gaming capabilities, reliability, silence and efficiency go down the drain. Some company out there should create the ability to toggle video cards and integrate that with Windows.

CA_Steve
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Re: Can I have 2 video cards but only activate one of them?

Post by CA_Steve » Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:10 pm

As mentioned, the functionality is already there - you just need a Sandybridge - or potentially Llano motherboard. Use the integrated gfx for everything but 3D apps. Use an add on card for the 3D app. The current gen video cards use 10-14W when idling. That's the price you pay for the functionality. Chances are you can find a video card that is silent when idling.

tzhu07
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Re: Can I have 2 video cards but only activate one of them?

Post by tzhu07 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:25 pm

But the toggle functionality does not turn off the higher end card. I don't want idle. I want off so that it doesn't draw any power and creates 0db noise.

My standards for business class computers is sub 10db noise level during general productivity usage. What 580, 590, 6970, or 6990 has sub 10db at idle?

dhanson865
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Re: Can I have 2 video cards but only activate one of them?

Post by dhanson865 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:33 pm

tzhu07 wrote:But the toggle functionality does not turn off the higher end card. I don't want idle. I want off so that it doesn't draw any power and creates 0db noise.

My standards for business class computers is sub 10db noise level during general productivity usage. What 580, 590, 6970, or 6990 has sub 10db at idle?
Any fanless video card would idle below 10db :)

Why 6970, why not a 6850 like say this one

It'll still draw power but what you are asking for isn't possible outside of engineering hacks on a test bench that you'll never get in a real world usage scenario.

tzhu07
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Re: Can I have 2 video cards but only activate one of them?

Post by tzhu07 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:18 pm

dhanson865 wrote:
tzhu07 wrote:But the toggle functionality does not turn off the higher end card. I don't want idle. I want off so that it doesn't draw any power and creates 0db noise.

My standards for business class computers is sub 10db noise level during general productivity usage. What 580, 590, 6970, or 6990 has sub 10db at idle?
Any fanless video card would idle below 10db :)

Why 6970, why not a 6850 like say this one

It'll still draw power but what you are asking for isn't possible outside of engineering hacks on a test bench that you'll never get in a real world usage scenario.
Yes, I'm been eyeing that fanless Powercolor 6850. Although a good solution, it is ultimately a mid-range card, which is acceptable. I'm fine with having an ultimate business class computer with only mid-range gaming capabilities, but I was hoping that someone out there managed to combine the best of both worlds. Apparently it doesn't exist, but that could be the next great challenge or innovation.

I don't want computer speeds to take big leaps forward as the years go by, but yet have the acoustics remain anti-progressive. I often feel as if many people focus too much on "tech specs", and not enough on the actual computing experience (the more connotative aspects). That's why you have people (often gamers) that have fantastically fast computers that are unusable because I can't even hear myself think when I'm around them. This just seems like an unbelievable oversight within the entire personal computing industry.

0db is the goal, for every component...

ck8-04
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Re: Can I have 2 video cards but only activate one of them?

Post by ck8-04 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:11 pm

[quote="tzhu07...I was hoping that someone out there managed to combine the best of both worlds...quote]

I believe I've come pretty close. My goals when I built the machine in my sig were very similar to yours except I wanted the video card to be very quiet even at maximum load. I ran stability tests last summer after I upgraded to the 5850 and everything passed. The highest temperature I saw from the video card was 75C. My CPU never surpassed 65C.

dhanson865
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Re: Can I have 2 video cards but only activate one of them?

Post by dhanson865 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:20 pm

Forgive me for derailing your thread but your usage of "mid range" threw me.

just scraped this from Wikipedia it's far from comprehensive as when you get to the under $100 cards you start to see 3 or more memory configs/designs/bean counter cripplings.

Radeon HD 6450 $55
Radeon HD 6570 $79
Radeon HD 6670 $99
Radeon HD 6750
Radeon HD 6770
Radeon HD 6790 $149
Radeon HD 6850 $179
Radeon HD 6870 $239
Radeon HD 6950 $259/$299
Radeon HD 6970 $369
Radeon HD 6990 $699

That kind of price curve mixed with your statement makes me think you start high end at $250 and up? Mid range is $100 to 250? Low end is everything under $100?

Most gamers argue non stop about the cards in that $150 to $300 range to the point of some tech sites making recommendations every $25 all the way up to the dual GPU cards/crossfire/SLI.

I've spent so much time working with and evaluating $25, $30, $40, etc cards all the way up to the 5750/6750 that I find it hard to think of the twice crippled $30 video card in the same category as a 6750. From my end looking up I always though of the 6850 as a high end card with the $250 and up cards being professional gamer/extreme enthusiast/professional whatever cards.

pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Good Luck finding the card you want.

tzhu07
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Re: Can I have 2 video cards but only activate one of them?

Post by tzhu07 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:31 pm

dhanson865 wrote:
I've spent so much time working with and evaluating $25, $30, $40, etc cards all the way up to the 5750/6750 that I find it hard to think of the twice crippled $30 video card in the same category as a 6750. From my end looking up I always though of the 6850 as a high end card with the $250 and up cards being professional gamer/extreme enthusiast/professional whatever cards.

pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Good Luck finding the card you want.
Yes, I realize that what's mid-range can be subjective. I think I should've mentioned in my initial post that I'm using a 2560x1440 monitor, so a 6850 would result in many recent games dipping below the golden 60fps mark.

And if it's running below the optimum framerate or is constantly fluctuating above and below the optimal framerate, then that itself causes potential eye strain and a less than desirable computing experience, therefore removing the computer outside of business class requirements.

cordis
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Re: Can I have 2 video cards but only activate one of them?

Post by cordis » Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:01 pm

Would a fairly standard SLI configuration be the way to go here? You can get a couple cards that run at about half what you need, adjust the fan speeds on both cards so that they run at low speed during non-gaming usage, and then let them speed up when you need to game. I have a couple of dual gtx 460 systems that work like that.

ces
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Re: Can I have 2 video cards but only activate one of them?

Post by ces » Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:23 am

tzhu07 wrote:What if I bought two video cards, one fanless and one high-end for gaming and install both inside the computer. When I'm not gaming, only the fanless card would be used and the gaming card would essentially "shut down" (not idle, but completely off and not making any noise or drawing any power), and when I'm gaming the inverse would happen. Both video cards would be hooked up to the same monitor and I would simply toggle my monitor input as I enter and leave the gaming environment.
I believe a z68 motherboard should accomplish what you are seeking. My understanding is that it permits you to run using the integrated Sandy Bridge graphics most of the time, but electronically switch over to a video card when you need the extra horse power.

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