Themattman, I'm happy to report to you that folding with four video cards in one machine is entirely possible.. just take a look right below.
This setup consists of 3 96000GSO cards and 1 8800GS card attached to a MSI K9A2 Platinum, and with a 8450 cpu. It's running Vista 64-bit, so the load on the cpu isn't as heavy, around 30% on two cores, as on XP. There is one caveat to successfully running this setup however, and that is Vista requires that a monitor be attached to each card and also the desktop to be 'extended', though there is a workaround to the monitor issue if you don't have the luxury of having multiple monitors to attach to this beast.
You'll notice that I have an Antec True Power 1000, which I admit is total overkill for this setup, being that the it only pulls about 370 watts (yes, the 9600GSO's and 8800GS are quite modest in power consumption).This number would probably go up to 500 watts if I install a SMP client on here, but that's another project for another day as I plan to overclock the 8450 first. Anyhow, below is the finished product:
Now the workaround for Vista extend desktop issue.. take a look at the picture below and you'll notice that there some are funny looking video adapters attached to the video cards. No, a dog (or a really mean gerbil) didn't come up and chew the heck out of my video cables.. these are actually homemade VGA dummy adapters to trick Vista into thinking that a monitor is attached to each of those connectors.
I ran into the desktop issue when I worked on piecing this setup together and needed an economical solution.. thus my research lead me to this site
. Now be warned that if you're squeamish and gets light-headed at the thought of working with a soldering iron, then read no further... go play with your Lego set or something. However, if hot iron doesn't faze you, then read on.
First you'll need to run to your local Radio Shack and grab the following items, if you don't already have them:
1) A soldering iron (obviously). Radio Shack should carry soldering sets for as low as $8.
2) DVI/VGA adapters. I have a bag full of these laying around, as I'm sure many people as well. If not, they can be easily found at your local electronics store.
3) Resistors. Now this site
specifies 75 ohms resistors but my local Radio Shack stores didn't carry them, so I ended up getting 100 ohms, 1/4 watt resistors instead, which should be $1 for a pack of 5. See picture below. Please not that you'll need three resistors for each connector that you make, so plan accordingly.
4) D-sub 15-pin male connector. $2 at RD.
Once you have all the parts, the soldering fun begins! Just look at the pin-outs on the page that I had linked up top and start soldering. Now let me give you a tip on soldering these things together to save you a deal of frustration. When soldering the resistor to the pin, don't try to put the iron and the solder together with the resistor, instead, put the solder on top of the iron to let the solder melt onto the tip of the iron. With the solder now on the tip of the iron, move the iron tip to the point where you want to solder the resistor to the pin, and at this junction, the melted solder should just slide over to the joint and solidify. If this venture is successful, you should get something that looks like this... hopefully a little prettier than this as my soldering skill is.. well, a little rusty.
Here's the connector attached to the adapter.
One last advice, and that is after you connect the jerry-rigged
adapter to the video card, you must reboot the computer before Vista can sense the attached adapter. Hope this helps!