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Thread: Different PCIe cards on the same mobo

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    Question Different PCIe cards on the same mobo

    I have a question about multiple video cards on the same board. I would like to continue using my Quadro FX3400 for my Cad Station, but if it's possible, I would like to add a mid level card like a Radeon 4870.... The board is a MSI FX90 GD70.

    Obviously, I'm not looking for a Crossfire setup, I would just like to be able to use one card for Cad, and the other for better gaming.Both cards would be PCIe x16.


    Thanks for any suggestions, and/or help.

  2. #2
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    Excellent idea and question there Tooler, and welcome to PureOC by the way!

    You can indeed install another card, but there are 3 big problems with that:

    1. Quadro is an Nvidia card, Radeon 4870 is an ATI card. That's bad karma right there.

    2. Mixing CAD drivers with gaming drivers is also bad karma.

    3. Unfortunately it will not let you "switch" for gaming. A second card will only allow you to connect a third (or fourth) monitor to your computer. Your primary card is the one that will be used for whatever you are doing, whether it's CAD or gaming.

    So, yes you can install another card, but no it will not let you switch between CAD and gaming. Now, there are 2 other options here, 1 is fine but the other is a bit "out there". First, the easy one.

    1. Any modern 3D graphics card, and certainly a Radeon 4870 can easily handle CAD tasks. I do CAD, 3D Studio, Radiant, Photoshop, etc, as well as gaming. And a 4870 will do just fine for your CAD tasks. So you could simply remove your Quadro and go with the Radeon instead. Believe it or not, a 4870 has a crapload more horsepower than a Quadro 3400. This leads me to the second option:

    2. Just about any modern 3D gaming card on the market has the exact same equivalent Quadro/FireGL product. Truth be told, they are the SAME CARD EXACTLY, except for a coat of paint, different BIOS/drivers, and price tag. Quadro's are about 10x the price of a GeForce, and yet they're the same card. Why? Because Quadro cards have to be 100% stable all the time, while GeForce cards can be 98% stable. Also, Quadros are corporate cards, and companies will pay big money for that and so Nvidia charges an absolute fortune because they can. So..........you can in many cases, simply flash a GeForce or Radeon card and actually MAKE IT a Quadro or FireGL. And with a BIOS editor, you can definitely do it. It's not for beginners, but it can be done with just a bit of research. Not sure if you're into that, but as I said, it's a bit out there. But you can literally save yourself THOUSANDS of dollars in the process.

    HOWEVER.........that does not solve the problem of using a Quadro or FireGL for gaming. The BIOS/drivers are simply not optimized for gaming. HOWEVER........even a flashed Quadro or FireGL (such as a 4870) will still utterly spank the Quadro you have now in 3D gaming, and you still can use it amazingly for CAD work. Best of both worlds! But it takes a bit more nerve and research.

    So there you have it. The short answer is "No". The longer answer is "There's a better option, and an awesome option, but it depends on how comfortable you are with changing things."

    My suggestion? If you're anxious, then pull the Quadro, wipe the drivers from your system, install the 4870 and drivers. Call it a day and then rock and roll. If you're adventurous, flash a 4870 to become the equivalent FireGL card and you just saved thousands of dollars for a legit FireGL that can also handle gaming.

    Hope that helps!
    Last edited by Skyguy; 20-02-2010 at 13:22.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the welcome, and thanks for the reply Sky.

    Flashing the card is an AWESOME idea. If that's all it takes to get a GeForce to a Quadro, then that's the route I'll take. I'll just dump the FX3400. I'm amazed.
    I spent $700 on that card 2 years ago, and I just assumed it was still better than most of the gaming cards. I'm running HUGE 3D Catia models, so I'll give it a try.

    So now I am assuming I should flash to the same specs when going from GeForce to Quadro...?


    At any rate, I've got a lot of research ahead.
    Thanks for the help, and I'll let you know how it turns out.

  4. #4
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    There are a couple things you need to do before you move ahead. First thing you need to find out a GeForce card that is equal to a particular Quadro. I believe a 9800GTX is one of them, if memory serves. There are newer ones, of course, so it also depends on your budget.

    Here are the Quadro cards:
    http://www.techarp.com/showarticle.aspx?artno=95&pgno=4

    Here are the GeForce cards:
    http://www.techarp.com/showarticle.aspx?artno=88&pgno=8

    You will need to compare the two charts to match up the equivalent GeForce/Quadro cards. Then when you have a couple cards narrowed down, do some research, see if anyone else has flashed any of those cards. Then find out how, pick your card, buy it.

    Be sure to back up the BIOS on the card before you do anything! Just in case things go sideways, which they could potentially.

    Here's some info to get you started:
    http://www.techarp.com/showarticle.aspx?artno=539

    That is a soft-mod guide for beginners. It's the easy way. You can also flash the BIOS directly but it takes a bit more research and nerve.
    Last edited by Skyguy; 20-02-2010 at 14:04.

  5. #5
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    Excellent...I'm on it.

    Thanks for the help.






    Quote Originally Posted by smduff View Post
    What about a big Bang Mobo?
    .....

    you lost me.

  6. #6
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    He's talking about a motherboard that accepts Nvidia and ATI cards. Won't work I don't think Duff. Mixing and matching workstation and gaming cards is bad karma methinks, even on that board. Maybe future generations, but not this one from what I've seen. I wouldn't drop the money in the hopes it might work anyways.

    Getting a GeForce card and a soft-mod or BIOS flash is the safe way.

  7. #7
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    I'll chip in here just for fun...

    First I know nothing about ati cards...never had one, but on the nVidia front on some series the other difference between the gaming and cad version of the same card is the amount of memory.

    This from comments made by users wanting to fold on quadro/tesla cards
    Rig2: 2*e5-26xx (16c/32t @2.4), Asus z9 pe-d8 ws, 32gb ripjawsz under water, rig3 2*e5-26xx (16c/32t @2.4), Supermicro 7047A-T 16GB 1600 ecc reg, on air, Rig4: 2*e5-26xx (16c/32t @3.1), Supermicro x9 DAi 16GB 1600 ecc reg, on air, Rig5: 2*e5-2660 (16c/32t @2.7), Supermicro x9 DRW iF 32GB 1600 ecc reg, on air

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