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Lesson 4: Installing 2nd video card for SLI mode- build a gaming PC computer

 

Overview

In lesson 4 you will  find instructions on how to install the 2nd video card and get it working in Crossfire or SLI mode to build a gaming PC computer.

Updating Drivers

Once you have Windows installed you can add your second video card to enable Crossfire or SLI mode for better performance in your games.

First make sure you have the latest version of the video drivers, either from the video card's makers website, or directly from ati.com or Nvidia.com

Getting the driver from Nvidia or AMD, directly, is usually best since you always have the most recent version. This can give you better performance and compatibility with games.

Crossfire

We'll begin with installing the second AMD card. This is the system from computer setup lesson three where we installed the latest Catalyst video drivers.

It's a good idea to play some games with just the one card installed, to make sure it is working properly, before adding the second card.

We'll shut down the computer so we can install the card. {reg}

Insert the second video card into the 2nd pci-express 3.0 16x slot. Each video card comes with a crossfire bridge. Connect the cards together with just one bridge. The direction of the bridge doesn't matter.

If your video cards need 1 or 2, 6 or 8 pin pci express power cable, be sure to connect it from the power supply.

Power the computer on and when you get back into Windows, the 2nd card will be detected and you'll be prompted to enter the Catalyst Control Center.

Click Enable Crossfire and it will tell you to make sure the monitor is plugged into the Crossfire card. As long as you have your monitor plugged into the top video card, the one closest to the CPU, it will work. That's it. Crossfire is enabled and you can play some more games.

SLI

Now on to installing a second nvidia card to enable SLI.

Once you have the latest version of the video drivers, run the set up and it will automatically find the correct driver for your hardware and install it.

After a reboot, right click on the desktop and click Nvidia Control Panel to make sure it is working. Remember to run a few games to verify the driver is working with the single video card.

Then shut down Windows so you can install the second video card.

Insert the card into the 2nd pci-express 3.0 16x slot. The motherboard comes with an sli bridge. Connect the cards together with the bridge. The direction of the bridge doesn't matter.

If your video cards need 1 or 2, 6 or 8 pin pci express power cable, be sure to connect it from the power supply.

Power the computer on and when you get back into Windows the 2nd video card will be detected and the drivers will be installed for the card.

Right click on the desktop and click Nvidia Control Panel

Choose Advanced Settings

Under 3D Settings, click Set SLI configuration.

Here you can click Enable SLI technology and then click Apply

The screen will go blank for a second, then click Yes to keep the changes.

That's it, SLI is set up and you're ready to play your games.

If you run into a game that's having trouble playing with either Crossfire or SLI enabled, go back into the control panel, disable the second video card and see if that takes care of it.

You can then look for a newer driver from AMD or Nvidia or an update from the games maker that will get Crossfire or SLI working for the game.

If after you install the 2nd video card you are not given the option to enable Crossfire or SLI, make sure both cards are detected in Device Manager, under Display adapters and try uninstalling and reinstall the latest video drivers. You will then have the option to enable Crossfire or SLI.

SLI and Crossfire technologies have had several years to mature so you really shouldn't run into a problem. Have fun playing.

Home PC Builder 2014

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