How to Hack Nvidia GPUs into Workstation Counterparts

nvidia hack

A forum post on eevblog.com by the user gnif reveals some interesting secrets that Nvidia doesn’t want you to know about. Basically, the analog values generated by a resistor combination on the back of the card determines what the GPU will read as. You can turn a GTX 690 into a K5000 or K10 workstation GPU, by desoldering and changing around the resistors, which you can see below:

gtx 690 back

gtx 690 mod

Grif also makes it clear that this id change does not make the card faster, it just unlocks professional features. For example, he needed a workstation card in order to get around some odd limitation imposed by Nvidia in Linux so he could use 3 monitors. However, the main issue here is the cost of the professional cards. The workstation GPUs are much more expensive in comparison, so this is an interesting method to save money. It is important to note that this is not recommended for gamers as drivers may differ and result in issues. This trick is only recommended for developers that are using said specialized software that will take advantage of the features as a result of the id change.

…the parts are identical, changing the Device ID just makes the binary blob advertise the additional features to the system, and enables them. It does NOT affect the clock speeds, and will not make the card faster for general day to day work unless you are using the specialized software that takes advantage of these ‘professional’ features.

Changing the ID does not affect the clock speeds as they are configured by the BIOS which we are not touching… And stock, the GTX690 is clocked FASTER then the K5000 and the Tesla K10, so you are getting a faster card in comparison, not making the GTX690 faster. I repeat, this does NOT make your GTX 6XX card faster, nor does it make it slower.

Here are the results of grif’s effort below:

k10

quatro

Furthermore, grif is taking donations to test this modification out on other GPUs.