Although Windows Vista already supports multi-GPUs, Windows 7 will feature improved support for multi-GPUs. In Microsoft Windows 7, multi-GPU support falls into two broad categories :
- the PC has multiple graphics adapters that use the same graphics drivers.
- the PC has multiple graphics adapters that use multiple graphics drivers.
In a homogeneous multi-adapter configuration, the PC has more than one graphics adapter but all adapters use the same graphics driver. Here are two examples :
Two identical cards from the same graphics hardware vendor, e.g. two ATI Radeon HD 4870 cards, each in an x16 PCIe slot.
Two different cards from the same graphics hardware vendor, e.g. an NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS in an x16 slot and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 in a second x16 slot.
The type of bus or interface used by the graphics cards - PCIe, AGP, or PCI - is irrelevant. The graphics adapters can all be on the same bus or they can be on different buses. The key point is that all graphics adapters use the same graphics driver.
In a heterogeneous multi-adapter configuration, the PC has more than one graphics adapter and they use more than one graphics drivers. A common example is the use of graphics adapters from two different manufacturers, each of which requires a different graphics driver from the respective manufacturer.
Windows 7 supports heterogeneous multi-adapter configurations, whereas Windows Vista does not. In Windows 7, a system can have a heterogeneous multi-adapter configuration, with multiple GPUs that require different WDDM drivers. The WDDM model for Windows Vista required that all display adapters use the same driver.
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