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I am trying to build a work PC and would like lots of screen real estate via 4 monitors and have no plans to SLI them together. I have decided to get 2x GT 430 graphics cards which apparently need PCI-e x16 ports. If I get a motherboard which has 2 PCI-e x1 ports, how much of the graphics cards capacity will I lose?

I will not be playing games on the PC, but will be using it for some 3d graphics, video, and audio rendering

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You will most likely go with a PCI-Ex16 since that is where most of the graphic cards interface with. You may want to look into a motherboard that has DVI and VGA integrated graphics. Something like a Core-i5 Sandy Bridge. You can put two monitors on that while getting just one video card that will drive the other two monitors.

Currently, I'm doing a similar configuration where i have an ATI Radeon HD 6970 with 3 monitors plugged into it and I have a fourth monitor on my Integrated Graphics controller (music, web browsers, nothing intensive).

They do make some PCI-Ex1 graphic adapters, but usually less common.

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One thing to note. NVidia cards are limited to only 2 displays per card. ATI will allow you on their newer models to use more than two monitors (3+) using a technology called Eyefinity. –  kobaltz Dec 31 '11 at 7:19

If the graphics card has a PCI-e x16 connector, you will lose all of its capacity since you won't be able to connect it. If the graphics card has a PCI-e x1 connector, you will lose none of its capacity, because you will be connecting it to the only port it supports.

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