(Last Updated On: November 8, 2021)
If your computer does not run modern games and your computer processor and memory are at your level, then the weak link in your system is the video card. Therefore, you need to connect two video cards to one computer to get optimal output.
All modern video cards are fully compatible with the PCI Express system bus (previously, a channel called AGP was used, which can be found only on old motherboards). Please note that there are several main PCI Express versions.
Each next type differs from the previous one mainly in bandwidth, which in theory can significantly increase performance, but this is only in theory. No, the difference between the first and third generations will be significant, but between the neighboring ones – barely perceptible. It is worth noting that the data transfer rate is not the only difference. The outcome is quite likely when the improved version will receive more functionality and capabilities, for example, in the HDMI interface, which is designed to transfer digital video data. We have compiled some of the best motherboards for dual graphics cards in the article. We suggest you have a look at them, keep exploring and searching.
The video cards are equipped with a new and improved version of PCI-Express, which has better bandwidth. However, what happens if, say, a graphics chip with PCI-Express v. 4.0. Cram into an old motherboard, which has only a version 2.0 slot under the hood.
The fourth version of the “express” on the video card implies that a certain amount of data can pass through the connector. The second version of the “express” on the motherboard will not pass the same amount of information through itself since it is designed for a smaller amount. Hence, it turns out that the video card will work slower. Nevertheless, you do not think that the difference will be huge. Often, we will talk about a few percent if we talk about iron production in computer games. In synthetics, traditionally, the difference will be more significant.
However, there will be a limiting factor in the face of the younger PCI-Express version. Moreover, it works both ways. It does not matter where the outdated connector format is located and where the newer one is. 2.0. On the motherboard limits the potential of 4.0 on the video card, just as 2.0 on the video card slows down 4.0 on the board.
For greater clarity, let’s draw an analogy. It is very similar to the work of a duo of a video card and a processor. If you pair a premium video card with a budget CPU, you will find gorgeous textures that will not have time to load because the stone will be hammered to the eyeballs. The situation will not look better if the components are swapped. On the other hand, a high-performance processor will easily handle all the mathematical and physical calculations in the game. Still, the number of frames will remain unsatisfactory due to the weak capabilities of the graphics adapter. In general, one should maintain a balance in everything, as the Buddha bequeathed to us.
Besides the version, PCI-Express slots can differ in the number of lanes. The more lines a connector supports, the higher the bandwidth. There are four main types: x1, x4, x8, and x16 (x32 ports exist but are extremely rare on motherboards of ordinary computers). The slots differ physically, and you will not be able to plug an x16 video card into an x8 connector without physical intervention. The larger the number in the designation, the greater the number of supported connections, and, accordingly, the larger the port size.
Best Motherboard for Dual Graphics Cards (Comparison)
|MSI Z390-A PRO||12 x 9.6 x 1.2 inches||1 Pounds|
|GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS||13.58 x 11.57 x 3.14 inches||2.99 Pounds|
|ASRock Z390 Taichi||12.2 x 14 x 3.5 inches||4.5 Pounds|
The MSI Z390-A Pro ATX motherboard is attractive due to its overclocking capabilities and low price. Due to its potential, the gaming motherboard is suitable for both advanced users who want hyper-high performance and who want to install the dual video card and upgrade their PC in the future.
The kit includes a motherboard, a metal plate with holes for outputs on the rear panel, a box, a CD with drivers and software, a paper manual, a card with a registration code on the website, an MSI logo sticker, and two SATA cables.
MSI develops products with self-assembly in mind, so this board is suitable for those who do not want to pay an additional cost for ordering an assembly in a store. In addition, the LGA1151-v2 socket allows you to install both budget processors and 8-core Intel 8-9th generation with a frequency of up to 5000 MHz.
Its core Boost power system provides stable processor voltage and overload protection. Mosfets of the motherboard are protected from overheating during overclocking by massive, stylishly designed heatsinks. In addition, the reinforced PCI x16 connector will not allow itself to be broken even by a heavy video card weighing one and a half kilograms.
The Z390-A Pro is decorated with RGB lighting, controlled in conjunction with the lighting of other devices, be it a tower cooler or a graphics card. So go for a case with a glass lid.
It has an Intel LGA 1151 v2 processor socket suitable for both budgets Intel Celeron and Pentium G series processors and mid-range and top-end Intel Core i3, i5, i7 i9 processors of the eighth-ninth generations. Additionally, it has American Megatrends Inc. (Ami) Bios with a UEFI add-on. It supports DDR4 DIMM * 4 slots, 2133-4400 MHz, two channels, 64 GB maximum ram.
Furthermore, it has a Realtek ALC892 Sound card with 7.1 channels and six connectors. It also comes with an integrated graphics card with VGA (D-Sub), DVI-D, and Display Port outputs. A-Pro motherboard supports drives such as M.2 (SATA PCI-E 4x) and SATA3: 6 pcs.
The motherboard has two 4-pin CPU cooler power connectors to cool the system and five 4-pin connectors for case fans. There are no obsolete 3-pins. Its main power connector is 24-pin; 8-pin for powering the processor, nine power phases.
There are PCI-E 3.0 slots; 1x – 4 pcs; 16x – 2 pcs; which support Crossfire technology for the operation of two AMD video cards. Its Built-in network card is LAN RJ-45 – input for a standard cable, twisted pair, connecting the Internet with Intel I219-V, 1 Gbps. Controller.
|Dual graphic card support||Only for Intel processors|
|Bios with UEFI add-on|
The Z390-A Pro motherboard lives up to expectations despite its low cost. For the next five years, it will hold the bar as one of the best budget motherboards.
The Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Ultra is based on a completely new design. Although it replaces the previous Z370 AORUS Ultra models in the collection, the similarities between the motherboards in naming and placing them in the product segment end.
Features include three full-size and steel-reinforced PCI Express x16 connectors, three M.2 x4 drive bays, four USB 3.1 Gen. 1 port, five USB 3.1 Gen. 2 ports, and Intel gigabit network chip. Further, the Intel 802.11ac WLAN / Bluetooth 5 module, HDMI 1.4 monitor interface, digital 12 + 1-phase power supply, eight PWM-controlled fan ports, four RGB ports, two slots for external thermal sensors and six layers.
A plastic cover that covers the I/O connector housings powers the back of the motherboard. The shell itself is relatively moderate in size and conservatively shaped; however, its parts travel on the power supply cooler in the width direction to the middle of the motherboard. The plastic shell does not significantly affect the airflow to the power supply cooler, as the shell has been cut on the lower part of the heat sink allowing the airflow.
Made from Gigabyte’s gray anodized aluminum, the two-piece heat sink for processor power supply is the smallest of the motherboards tested in terms of overall physical dimensions. However, despite its modest size, it is the second heaviest in the test set in terms of mass. It is explained by the fact that the Gigabyte radiator chiller is made of a practically closed aluminum profile by machining. In addition, efforts have been made to increase the profile area through cuts.
A flattened heat pipe running directly on the contact surface of the hedgehog connects the upper and lower part of the hedgehog. Thus, the size of the lower part of the hedgehog could easily have been considerably larger.
The chipset on the motherboard is cooled by an asymmetrical but large board made of black-treated aluminum about 6 mm thick. The design priorities of the radiator are purely aesthetic, and undoubtedly, the only priority has been to include the AORUS logo in the design of the motherboard. The available cooling area is nominal but still more than adequate.
Each of the three M.2 drive bays on the system board is equipped with a heat sink. The Gigabyte has replaced the excellent and highly acclaimed coolers with aggressive ribbing it used in the past with a virtually straight aluminum plate. The new radiators consist of an approximately 4 mm thick gray anodized aluminum plate with slightly stylized edges. A few cuts have been made to the surface of the two radiators to increase the cooling area, with one being completely smooth. Gigabyte’s new solution is in line with the cooling solutions offered by other manufacturers.
|Steel-reinforced PCI Express||Professional installation procedure|
|Intel gigabit network chip|
|Thick gray anodized aluminum edges|
The motherboard faithfully follows the theme typical of other AORUS series motherboards, with the predominant colors being black and gray.
The ASRock Z390 Taichi is primarily a new development version of the previous Z370 Taichi motherboard. The appearance of the motherboards is almost identical to each other, and only a trained eye can distinguish the motherboards from each other with a glance. The most significant visible changes concern the design of the plastic shell covering the back of the back panel and the slightly larger and differently shaped power supply cooler. However, there have been many changes that are more difficult to detect or completely invisible.
The motherboard’s power supply is more robust than before, and it is equipped with the best control circuit supplied by Infineon on the market. In addition, a 4-pin ATX12V auxiliary power connector has joined the power supply’s 8-pin EPS12V auxiliary power connector.
The power supply heat sink has two parts, and a flattened heat pipe connects its upper and lower parts. The hedgehog is made of gray anodized aluminum and has an enormous mass among the motherboards tested. However, despite its relatively large size and large mass, the hedgehog does not provide an extensive cooling surface area.
Moreover, the top surface of the hedgehog has been broken by six oblique cuts, even if there was quickly room for twice the amount. The lower surface of the hedgehog is intact and covered with loose decorative panels.
The chip hedgehog is purely an exhibition piece. It consists of three round, gear-shaped, gray, and black anodized aluminum plates stacked on top of each other. The solution offers little cooling surface area, but considering the heat output of the Z390 chipset, this is not a very relevant issue, let alone a real problem.
Although the motherboard is equipped with three M.2 drive bays, the motherboard is supplied with only one M.2 heat sink. The Z390 Taichi’s only M.2 radiator consists of an aluminum plate about 12 cm long and 2.5 mm thick, with slightly rounded edges. The gray anodized aluminum plate is completely flat, i.e., it does not significantly provide a cooling surface area.
The list of features on the motherboard is quite long, as you would expect in this price range: three full-size and steel-reinforced PCI Express x16 connectors, three M.2 x4 drive bays, eight USB 3.1 Gen. 1 port, five USB 3.1 Gen. 2 ports, and two Intel gigabit network chips. Furthermore, the Intel 802.11ac WLAN / Bluetooth 4.2 module, HDMI 1.4 and Display Port 1.2 monitor interfaces, fully digital 10 + 2-phase power supply, external Hyper BCLK Engine II for more accurate and comprehensive BCLK control – a clock circuit, eight PWM-controlled fan connections, three RGB connections, and a six-layer circuit board.
|Strong power supply||Chip hedgehog is purely an exhibition piece|
|Three M.2 drive bays|
The Z390 Taichi BIOS follows the format familiar with other ASRock motherboards, being very clear and with truly comprehensive control options. The motherboard can automatically test the response of the PWM fans and create an optimal temperature-speed curve for them.
Component compatibility is a crucial factor behind any computer assembly. It is always necessary to consider whether the iron pieces can work with each other without dancing with a tambourine and conflicts.
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