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  1. #1

    Assigning a graphics card by program?

    Basically I work in CAD and for certain applications (SolidWorks mainly for me) require specific CAD graphics cards to use certain functions (Realview for Solidworks for example) even though there are normal graphics cards that are powerful enough to perform these tasks (like my ATI 5770). I know I could softmod this card to make my PC think it's a CAD specific GFX card but I don't want to mess with stuff like that so I'm considering buying a CAD specific graphics card, however they are not as good for gaming as other cards.
    I'm curious if anyone knows if it's possible to have both a CAD graphics card and an ATI 5770 for example, and set a graphics card to be used to each program individually so the CAD graphics card would be used for SolidWorks and the ATI would be used for games? I have a friend who knows his stuff and he said he knows no way to do it but I'm hoping someone does.
    Also, would it then be possible to buy a weak-ish CAD graphics card (like 512MB) just to enable SolidWorks to use Realview and then support that graphics card with the ATI? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Pandemonium
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    Bismarck

    To the best of my knowledge, the only cases of on-the-fly GPU switching relate to notebooks/laptops with integrated and dedicated ones. "Switchable graphics" simply disables the GPU when you're doing something minimal, like using your desktop, and isn't designed for the purpose you've described. Considering, I do not believe there's a way to do what you're asking without rebooting, but if you don't mind doing that, it should be simple enough.

    First, you'll need a machine with a reasonably powerful and well-made PSU (e.g., a PC Power and Cooling or Corsair unit that's at least 500W) that supports multiple cards (to ensure that you have multiple hookups). Even if you buy a low-end professional GPU, you shouldn't pair it nor your 5770 with a crap PSU.

    Secondly, your motherboard should have two PCI-E x16 slots, unless you want to manually swap the cards in a single slot each time you restart. Its BIOS must permit disabling one GPU/PCI-E slot while leaving the other active.

    Lastly, your monitor should have multiple inputs that you're willing to use (e.g., an HDMI and a DVI port) so you won't have to change cables each time, either—just display modes.

    If you can configure a machine that way, you'll have to reboot each time and change the BIOS setting, but that shouldn't take very long. If you want something faster, I'm not sure you'll get your wish.

  3. #3

    Yeah I could do all that but it's more effort than I had hoped for, guess I'll just fork out and buy a CAD graphics card and just use it for gaming anyway. Thanks.

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