How to Connect Two Video Cards in SLI

Written by michael hintz
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How to Connect Two Video Cards in SLI
Grab a graphics card pair and set up an SLI configuration today. (graphic card image by DXfoto.com from Fotolia.com)

Scalable link interface can be an effective way to improve a computer's graphics performance. After all, the only thing better than one performance graphics card is a second performance graphics card. However, setting up SLI can be a bit daunting for the uninitiated since so many components are required to make SLI setups function properly. The set-up process need not be too difficult if you take it step by step to connect your two graphics cards via SLI.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • SLI-compatible motherboard
  • SLI-ready power supply
  • SLI connector
  • SLI software

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Assemble the necessary components. In addition to an SLI-compatible motherboard and two identical SLI-compatible cards, you will need an SLI connector, which should have come with the motherboard, and an SLI-ready power supply with at least two rails and two PCI-E graphics power adaptors--one for each card.

  2. 2

    Install both video cards into the motherboard's available PCI Express x16 slots; there must be two of these.

  3. 3

    Install the SLI connector to bridge the gap between the two cards, telling the system to run in SLI mode.

  4. 4

    Plug in the monitor to the graphics card in the primary PCI Express slot, then power the computer on and boot to Windows.

  5. 5

    Install the SLI software that came with the graphics card or motherboard. Alternatively, this may be found on Nvidia's website.

  6. 6

    Reboot the computer when prompted, then download the latest driver for the graphic card pair from Nvidia's website.

  7. 7

    Install the Nvidia graphics driver on your computer. If another card was installed previously, uninstall those drivers first. You can do this by accessing the "Control Panel"--click the "Start" button, then "Control Panel"--and selecting "Programs and Features." In Programs and Features, look for an Nvidia driver and select "Remove" or "Uninstall."

  8. 8

    Reboot the computer again, when prompted. Upon reboot, you should receive a message that the computer is SLI capable. Click the message to bring up the "Set SLI Configuration" window, where you'll need to enable SLI technology. SLI should now be set up and working.

Tips and warnings

  • SLI connectors, sometimes called bridges, can vary greatly in appearance.
  • Remember to ground yourself first before installing the video cards or touching any of the computer's components. Static electricity can damage computer components.
  • It is recommended that those setting up an SLI configuration use a quality power supply. The extra power draw of a second graphics card can be substantial enough to render an older or lower-quality power supply insufficient.

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