Video Ram Transplant Doubles RTX 3070 Memory To 16 GB

Making unobtainium graphics cards even more unobtainable, [VIK-on] has swapped out the RAM chips on an Nvidia RTX 3070. This makes it the only 3070 the world to work with 16 GB.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because he tried the same trick with the RTX 2070 back in January but couldn’t get it working. When he first published the video showing the process of desoldering the 3070’s eight Hynix 1 GB memory chips and replacing them with eight Samsung 2 GB chips he hit the same wall — the card would boot and detect the increased RAM, but was unstable and would eventually crash. Helpful hints from his viewers led him to use an EVGA configuration GUI to lock the operating frequency which fixed the problem. Further troubleshooting (YouTube comment in Russian and machine translation of it) showed that the “max performance mode” setting in the Nvidia tool is also a solution to stabilize performance.

The new memory chips don’t self-report their specs to the configuration tool. Instead, a set of three resistors are used to electronically identify which hardware is present. The problem was that [VIK-on] had no idea which resistors and what the different configurations accomplished. It sounds like you can just start changing zero Ohm resistors around to see the effect in the GUI, as they configure both the brand of memory and the size available. The fact that this board is not currently sold with a 16 GB option, yet the configuration tool has settings for it when the resistors are correctly configured is kismet.

So did it make a huge difference? That’s difficult to say. He’s running some benchmarks in the video, both Unigine 2 SuperPosition and 3DMark Time Spy results are shown. However, we didn’t see any tests run prior to the chip swap. This would have been the key to characterizing the true impact of the hack. That said, reworking these with a handheld hot air station, and working your way through the resistor configuration is darn impressive no matter what the performance bump ends up being.

Continue reading “Video Ram Transplant Doubles RTX 3070 Memory To 16 GB”

Add An Extra 8GB Of VRAM To Your 2070

Most of us make do with the VRAM that came with our graphics cards. We can just wait until the next one comes out and get a little more memory. After all, it’d be madness to try and delicately solder on new components of something so timing-sensitive as RAM chips, right?

[VIK-on] took it upon himself to do just that. The inspiration came when a leaked diagram suggested that the RTX 2000 line could support 16 GB of RAM by using 2GB chips. NVIDIA never did release a 16GB version of the 2070, so this card is truly one of a kind. After some careful scouring of the internet, the GDDR6 chips were procured and carefully soldered on with a hot air gun. A few resistors had to be moved to accommodate the new RAM chips. During power-on, [VIK-on] saw all 16 GB enumerate and was able to run some stress tests. Unfortunately, the card wasn’t stable and started having black screen issues and wonky clocks. Whether it was a bad solder joint or firmware issues, it’s hard to say but he is pretty convinced it is a BIOS error. Switching the resistors back to the 8GB configuration yielded a stable system.

While a little more recent, this isn’t the only RAM upgrade we’ve covered in the last few months. Video after the break (it’s not in English but captions are available).
Continue reading “Add An Extra 8GB Of VRAM To Your 2070”

Make Your Commodore 16 64k, But Not A Commodore 64

The Commodore 16 was a budget home computer from the mid 1980s, the entry-level model in a wider range of machines. As its name suggests it only has 16k of memory in keeping with its budget status, and while it has the rest of the hardware necessary to run software intended for its 64k stablemates, that 16k is impossible to expand without modifying the machine. Should you have a ’16 in your collection this is not a particularly arduous process, and Tynemouth Software have gone into great detail over how it can be achieved.

As was quite common in machines of the period, the address lines for the RAM area above the fitted 16k are not wired to disable it when those addresses are selected, so the same 16k appears mirrored three times in the space between it and the 64k limit. Thus simply plugging in a 64k cartridge would result in the top 48k being unusable, and some means of disabling or supplanting the internal chips was called for. Contemporary upgrades required pin or track snipping, but as they go on to show us there are some less ugly alternatives both permanent and reversible. Whichever you might favor they all at least don’t carry the huge cost hurdle in 2019 that they might have been when the machine was new. Sadly even though their cases may be similar the resulting machine will not be a Commodore 64, not even a new one.

Long-time Hackaday readers will know that the hardware designer for these machines was our Hackaday colleague [Bil Herd], and all followers of Commodore and his work should read his account of the CES trade show at the heady height of Commodore’s  fame.