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When I built my PC, I installed 2 graphic cards to allow a total of 4 monitors to be plugged in (2 per card). I was only planning to use 3 monitors but I have since went back down to 2 monitors for the time being.

So my situation now is I have an extra graphic card that is running all the time, I am not sure how much electric this waste or wear on the card. I was curious if I would be better off disabling the card as I may not need it for at least another year?

If so, is it possible to just disable the card in a setting somewhere or should I physically remove the card? I believe it uses a PCI-slot

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2 Answers 2

If you are not going to need the graphics card then remove it. It is wasting power (very little), putting unnecessary wear on the fan and most importantly taking up space. Removing the graphics card will likely improve the cooling of your entire system. Cooling is crucial to keeping your components in top shape, and proper cooling will increase the life of said components.

There is no harm in removing it and it will probably improve your performance. That is of course unless you have Crossfire or SLI enabled. If you do then you will take a performance hit as the card is actually being used.

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The best option is to remove the card. Even if it is not processing graphics, it is still consuming electricity (albeit small) and the driver for it is still consuming a small amount of memory.

Leaving it in will not cause any problems though.

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The memory consumption would be tiny as the other two cards are likely the same brand, thus the same driver. There would be not much more overhead on a 3 v 2 card setup if the 3rd is not being used. –  Sam Jan 21 '13 at 8:17

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