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How can I enable onboard graphics AND dedicated card simultaneously ?

I'm trying to make a 3-monitor system, with an Intel i7 Sandy bridge.

I'm looking at 2 options:

  1. Get a P67 motherboard, and plug 2 video cards in it (2 DVI outputs each)
  2. Get a H67 motherboard, plug 1 video card (2 DVI outputs), and use the integrated graphics in the CPU to power the mother-board integrated graphics card.

I read somewhere that if you plug in a video card, then the integrated graphics get disabled automatically. If this is true, then option 2 won't work.

So, will the CPU integrated graphic card work even if I plug in a regular PCI Express 2.0 video card?

Also, should I play games, will they use the much more powerful GPU? Or will they use the CPU graphics card?

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marked as duplicate by afrazier, Nifle, studiohack Apr 5 '11 at 23:34

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3 Answers 3

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I read somewhere that if you plug in a video card, then the integrated graphics get disabled automatically

You read that right.

So, will the CPU integrated graphic card work even if I plug in a regular PCI Express 2.0 video card?

No, it will be switched off.

should I play games, will they use the much more powerful GPU? Or will they use the CPU graphics card?

Since only one can be active, the one which is currently in used will handle all graphics processing. Goes without saying, most newer games will require a discrete graphics card.

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I discovered by chance one day that certain systems support this functionality. I then made assumptions based on this and in purchasing new video cards for systems at works figured this integrated+discrete graphics co-working could be depended upon to work the same on these new systems as it did on the older system I'd first observed it on.

No such luck. Thankfully the cards could be returned, but I found this is generally a function of the chipset and some systems allow it while others just don't.

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Have you considered just using an AMD Eyefinity card? Some AMD cards can be connected to up to 6 displays. The only drawback may be those display ports (instead of DVI). You need an adapter to convert from Display Port to DVI.

Okay, and they are not really cheap, yes.

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