I am building a workstation PC for Autodesk and Adobe CC work. Maybe a little bit of gaming on the side but it is by no means a priority. Is it possible to run separate drivers for each card, at the same time? So for example a Geforce card might be driving all the displays and performing any gaming related graphics but a compute card like a Quadro or Tesla could be crunching numbers on a 3D or video rendering application at the same time.

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    It's certainly possible, but I don't know whether your specific apps support that. – user1686 Dec 29 '16 at 10:44

The only thing of this kind that I know of is running two GPU's using vtd technology, so far as home/desktop computing goes.

For vtd you'd need a vtd compatible motherboard (a lot of the Asrock gaming ones have vtd), a vtd compatible CPU (check tech specs on Intel/AMD website) and a vtd compatible graphics card.

You can then run two different operating systems with the built-in graphics on the CPU running the host system's desktop and the client system's desktop has the graphics card "passed through" to it using vtd.

For example, you could have Windows running as a virtual machine inside Linux. Linux would be using the CPU's on-chip graphics and Windows would be using the more powerful graphics on the card, perhaps for playing games.

  • WIndows 10 Pro includes Hyper-V: With that you can run 1 card on the host Windows install and assign the other dedicated to a guest Windows system. Please bear in mind that VTD also requires a compatible CPU, motherboard chipset, Bios that allows to enable it and a compatible graphics card. Nearly all workstation grade business computers have it as standard. Quadro cards can all do it. Geforces sometimes can't do it. If you build your own system you have to check very carefully that everything is compatible. – Tonny Dec 29 '16 at 11:23

I have some experience in mixing video-cards...
In general this isn't going to work out well.
(The suggestion made by bitofagoob in the other answer is a better solution in my opinion.)

For starters combining a Geforce and a Quadro (or even 2 different models Geforce or Quadro) isn't the best idea. The cards are very similar, enough so that also the drivers have a great deal of overlap.
This leads to stability issues as it is quite possible a Geforce driver part tries to control the Quadro and vice-versa.
If you really want to try this always be sure to install the newest driver LAST. And be prepared to uninstall all drivers and redo everything whenever a driver-update (either from Nvidia or Windows 10 decides to give you an upgrade) messes things up again.
It is much better to use 2 identical (and thus a single driver) cards to prevent the driver issues.

For normal displaying of graphics windows/screens a regular Windows application, like Adobe, Autodesk, etc. you can put each application on it's own screen/card and it will almost exclusively use the graphics-resources of that card.
However you need to consider is how your software is going to deal with GPU acceleration: In nearly all applications I have ever seen the software that can make use of GPU acceleration for the heavy duty calculations just grabs whatever card is first, regardless if that card might be doing something else. (And usually the 2nd card doesn't get used at all.)

Additionally gaming on 1 card and running something else on the other has other additional complications:

  1. Most games have a tendency to claim and lock display-resources like they are the only kid in the playground with very little regard for any other software that is trying to work in the background. E.g. in Windows many games/display-related resources (DirectX) are single-program usage only so the game would lock out the other application.
  2. Games require massive CPU power. So, even if you have a very beefy workstation, chances are that there won't be enough CPU power around to satisfy the demands of the other application simultaneously.
  • This is interesting. OK, so what if I used 2 identical Quadros, say, Quadro 5000's, with identical drivers. Let's also say I'm only using one large monitor/display. Could I plug the monitor into one Quadro, using that to drive display and applications, WHILE utilizing the additional card (which I remind you no monitor would be plugged into) just for GPU acceleration where needed. I don't think Autodesk 3DS Max could take advantage of that additional card, but I'm pretty sure Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro could. Am I wrong? – Matthew Jendrasiak Dec 30 '16 at 6:47
  • @MatthewJendrasiak Maybe. That appears to be your best bet. It totally depends on how the application that needs the GPU selects which GPU to use. Some applications have an option to explicitly set that. Others just have internal logic that may or may not do what you want. I think no one is able to predict what will happen. Trail and error seems needed. If you get it to work please post a followup (you can self-answer your own question) . I'm really interested in the results. – Tonny Dec 30 '16 at 11:41

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