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I've seen a few questions similar to this, but nothing that spoke specifically to my issue.

I'd like to get three monitors running on my system the easiest (read:cheapest) way possible. I'm curious if I can just add an additional cheap video card for the third DVI output or if I need to go the route of a full-blown replacement that has three outputs. The card I am currently using is not very old so I'd really like to keep using it if I can. I don't do any gaming, so I'm not concerned with super high-end graphics. Thanks in advance!

These are my specs:

-Win7 Professional x64

-ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X

-AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 140W Quad-Core Processor

-8 GB DDR3

-EVGA FPB 768-P3-1360-TR GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 768MB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support

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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes, getting a second card for other PCIe slot would be fine.

There are a couple of things to note:

  1. Get an nVidia card so you are not running two different video drivers concurrently - this way you should be able to span the display across them all using Extended Display
  2. You are currently running a single card, so this uses your existing PCIe slot at 16x. If you install a second PCIe card, then each of the PCIe slots will only run at 8x. This will result in slightly diminsished performance on the GTX460. It is possible you won't even notice though.
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If you install a second PCIe card, then each of the PCIe slots will only run at 8x. I've never heard of this effect. Is it something particular to the motherboard? I have two graphics cards plugged into mine (AMD cards, different board) and they both are at 16x speeds. –  Ben Richards Jan 20 '12 at 3:53
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@sidran32 Yes definitely. Some motherboards can do full PCIe at 16x for both, and some drop to 8x. The one in question drops to 8x with two cards: asus.com/Motherboards/AMD_AM3/M4A79XTD_EVO/#specifications –  Paul Jan 20 '12 at 4:08
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+: Another disadvantage of running two video drivers (if you were to choose a mismatched configuration) is the loss of Aero, as the WDDM does not support more than one video driver. –  surfasb Jan 20 '12 at 5:19
    
@sidran32: I have a motherboard that does something similar as well. –  surfasb Jan 20 '12 at 5:25
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Get a cheap second card, it will work fine, just ensure your main monitor is on your first card (in case you decide to play games in the future) You'll probably save yourself some headaches if the second card is the same manufacturer as your first card (nvidia).

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