A8N5X dual video card. whats that mean?

Discussion in 'Asus' started by DDC, Feb 1, 2006.

  1. DDC

    DDC Guest

    On the asus web site it say this:
    Universal PCI-E Slot
    The ASUS Universal PCI-E Slot gives the users freedom and flexibility
    on the utilization of the PCI-E interface. With Universal PCI-E Slot,
    user is able to plug in an additional PCI-E graphics card to have dual
    VGA on a single motherboard! This special design supports up to 1GB/s
    in bandwidth, and it will also take in most of the PCI-E devices out

    Is this means that i can plug-in an other video card like a pci only
    one and getting both card working in pair for gaming and other related
    video application or is this just to have a pci video card for an
    extra monitor. I know that i can plug to monitor in my actual video
    card and have 2 CRT. but by adding a second video card a pci one would
    it be possible to get 4 CRT working together and having the benefit of
    2 3d hardware card?

    DDC, Feb 1, 2006
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  2. DDC

    Paul Guest

    To start, we need some info on the Nforce4 chipset of the A8N5X.


    The Northbridge has 20 PCI Express lanes on it. The main video
    card slot is x16. That leaves 4 lanes of PCI Express. There are
    two x1 slots. That leaves only 2 lanes to connect to the x4 slot.
    It is not a full slot, in terms of bandwidth. There is even the
    possibility that a card plugged into the slot, will not like it.
    (I think I have seen one posting about that.)

    If you look carefully at the connector used for the x4 slot, it
    looks like it is open-ended, on the end away from the faceplate.
    That means a x8 or x16 PCI Express card can be plugged into the

    As for video output, you can buy many video cards that have
    two video connectors on them, and connect your two monitors
    that way. There is no need to buy a separate second video card,
    and thus the x4 PCI Express slot (with the actual x2 bandwidth)
    is not going to see much use for video cards.

    There is actually a video card which would fit the slot and
    not cause a problem. There is a Matrox video card now, with
    a x1 PCI Express connector on it.

    The reason I mention all this, is Asus is careful to point out
    that the bandwidth in the slot is "1 GB/sec", but they don't
    say it is actually 500MB/sec TX and 500MB/sec RX (it is full
    duplex). Thus, their mention of 1GB/sec bandwidth is a
    "code word" way of apologizing for cheating on the slot
    wiring. You almost need a lawyer to help you read the ad copy
    and the manual :-(

    Paul, Feb 2, 2006
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  3. DDC

    milleron Guest

    This subject just came up here when my brother needed to add a card to
    his son's A8N-E so that he could have three monitors for working with
    Adobe Illustrator projects. He was running two monitors from the
    Radeon X800XL in the PCI-e x16 slot, and he purchased a Radeon
    X300-type PCI card for the third monitor. It works (uses the same
    driver as the original video card), but would it have been smarter or
    better to get the Matrox PCI-e 1x card?

    milleron, Feb 4, 2006
  4. DDC

    BC Guest

    This subject just came up here when my brother needed to add a card to
    KISS: Keep it simple, son--

    I have never tried to run two different kinds of video cards in one
    system, but that seems like a recipe for disaster (and apoligies to
    those of you who do it successfully)

    Did not take long to find this reference:

    Seems like having one set of drivers for video is going to work a lot
    better than trying to mix two sets of drivers.

    The Matrox Parhelia does triple monitors--I have a friend who has it,
    and it is quite impressive--but, about $350:


    Actually, I just looked at prices for the 800XL plus X300: about $275
    or so total? So, not a huge difference....

    Have never had a Matrox card--have heard great things about them, but
    always too expensive....

    Anyway, the same brand/'unified drivers' is a good thing, IMO...


    BC, Feb 4, 2006
  5. DDC

    Paul Guest

    Well, he is getting the benefit of x2 worth of bandwidth, which
    is better than the Matrox x1 worth. But the Matrox would allow
    you to use any PCI Express connector, whether the connector is
    open on the end or not. (It would be interesting to see how many
    lanes are reported as being used on that card - whether x2 are
    reported or x1. I don't even know at this point, what tool returns
    that info. I don't know if Powerstrip has been updated for
    PCI Express.)

    I had seen mention of someone trying a PCI Express x4 card (possibly
    a RAID card) in a slot with only x2 lanes, and it didn't work.
    I would expect video card designers to be closest to designing
    hardware that is fully compliant with the spec, while follow-up
    hardware, from companies that have never done it before, might have
    the odd issue. As I've commented in a previous posting, I'm still
    quite surprised at the good level of compatibility people are seeing
    with PCI Express - now that more companies are involved in making
    them, we'll see whether this trend continues.

    An intriguing thought that just occured to me, is it may be
    possible to spill your favorite beverage into a PCI Express video
    card slot, install the card, only have fewer than 16 lanes working,
    and the operating system could be blissfully unaware that some
    lanes were out of commission. I await the first "spilled beverage"
    experiment :) I don't know if the hardware is clever enough to
    pick the largest number of usable lanes in that scenario or not.

    Paul, Feb 5, 2006
  6. DDC

    milleron Guest

    He gets x2 out of a plain old PCI slot?
    milleron, Feb 5, 2006
  7. DDC

    Paul Guest

    My bad :) I thought you were referring to a X300 PCI Express.

    Paul, Feb 6, 2006
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