I work in mechanical design and need several monitors to work with CAD and related. The system I'm currently using is a bit outdated, but still gets the job done fine:

  • Xeon 5130 dual core
  • 4GB RAM
  • nVidia Quadro FX 4600 video card w/ 756MB memory
  • Windows 7 Professional

The Quadro has 2 DVI connections, and I have 2 screens hooked in accordingly.

We have a slightly older model machine in the office with a similar video card, and nobody is using it, as well as 1 or 2 spare monitors.

Would there be issues with communication between the additional video card and my current? Does Windows 7 support this well or at all?

The secondary card I pulled from the old machine is a PNY GeForce FX5200 DDR 256MB PCI. Please let me know if this helps clarify the question.


The answer is 'maybe, but it depends on what that other card is'. Some cards will play nicely, and some won't. If it's another nVidia Quadro, it'll almost certainly work with no trickery on your part. (If you want to update the question with the exact model of that other card, I am sure we can get you a better answer.)

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  • Note that I updated the question with the secondary video card make/model. Any feedback is much appreciated. – NoCatharsis Feb 24 '11 at 18:00
  • @NoCatharis - I have no experience trying to mix those particular chipsets with one another, but I'd give it decent odds of working fine (assuming other things like 'you have the correct slots', etc). The only way to know is to try, though - it's not going to hurt anything, certainly, so just give it a whirl. – Shinrai Feb 24 '11 at 18:13

I don't use CAD quality cards but I see no reason why it shouldn't work IF your computer has an open slot internally for the card. Your video performance MAY suffer a little (fall back to the level of the slowest card), I'm not sure. But I use an add-in nVidia card with on board ATI graphics to drive 3 monitors on my desk. Tried adding a 4th using a USB video adapter, but the SIIG adapter I bought is very limited in "placement" of the screen and can have problems with the ATI graphics.

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The key question here is what kind of socket the video card needs. Most workstation motherboards only have one AGP or PCI-E x16 port for video cards. Some machines built for gamers have two, but it's rarer in business settings, even CAD shops like yours. So while I would expect your machine to work just fine with two cards, you may need to look for a PCI card rather than PCI-Express or AGP.

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  • If you do end up buying another card, I suggest getting one that natively supports three monitors, like an ATI Eyefinity model. They're not necessarily any more expensive than any other card you might buy, and will make your life simpler. – stone Jan 20 '11 at 18:53

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