There are laptop users who want to push visuals to the extreme. They’re never content with just one video card. They need two! Desktop owners can be even crazier. They can connect up to four graphics cards and get insane benchmarks!
Of course, if you want a laptop with four video cards, you’re going to need a tank, not a laptop casing, to fit those four cards, so you’ll have to make do with that. The question is, though, why would you need two video cards? Does that mean twice the resolution? Does that mean twice the frame rates? Well, somewhat.
By using two video cards, you effectively share the load between them, making each card run at a lower temperature. This means that you can effectively crank your games to the max without any fear that your laptop will melt after 10 minutes of game play.
Why would you need two video cards anyway?
For the insane, you can hook up multiple monitors from your laptop, thanks to more ports. You can stick them together to create one mega screen. If you have enough space in your room, playing with multiple screens should be very fun, especially for shooting and racing games. You can basically push resolution to the max, and even go for more ‘exotic’ resolutions – basically anything above 1080p. You can also crank the settings of your game to max, making you visuals so impressive you might as well call it real life. It pretty much beats console gaming.
For workaholics, using multiple screens allow you to multitask even better, such as opening a worksheet in one screen and a word processor in another.
SLI and Crossfire
When you step into the world of dual video cards, you’ll encounter the terms SLI and Crossfire.
What do they mean?
SLI is a term that came from NVIDIA, meaning Scalable Link Interface. Basically, to connect two video cards together, you need a motherboard that supports SLI with multiple PCI Express slots. This is where you stick the card into the motherboard.Crossfire is basically the same as NVIDIA, except that Crossfire is used by AMD video cards. You also need a motherboard that supports Crossfire, and AMD cards that support that feature.
Laptops with Two Video Cards
Right now, there are several laptop manufacturers that offer two video cards in a single laptop. The most famous is the Alienware M18x, the 18 – inch monster laptop. The other one is the AVADirect P270WM, a 17 – inch monster laptop by boutique assemblers.Both offer SLI or Crossfire in several video cards. You can configure which one to install to adjust the price to your budget.
The only downside to running two video cards is the price, added weight, power consumption and heat. Right now, NVIDIA is releasing dual GPUs in one card to improve power consumption, found in the new TX 690 card.
Sadly, it’s only available for desktops, so laptop owners will have to wait.