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Tweaker Turns GeForce GTX 690 Into a Quadro K5000

By - Source: VideoCardz | B 33 comments

A user from the EEV forums has figured out how to turn a GTX 690 into a Quadro K5000 card, or at least make it appear so.

A user from the EEV forums has figured out a way to turn the dual GPU GTX 690 into a Quadro K5000 graphics card. While the K5000 might be a single GPU part, the modification to the GTX 690 turns one of the GPUs into a Quadro K5000 chip. The Quadro K5000 card is a business-oriented card that costs about twice as much as a GTX 690 and requires special drivers to run.

The user's motive to modify the card was that GeForce cards might support Nvidia Surround in Windows but do not support this under Linux. The Quadro cards, apart from different memory, are almost identical to the consumer cards. That supports this feature, which led the user to believe that it would be a driver issue that could be resolved by making the Linux box think that it was running a K5000 graphics card.
 

This was correct, and by a simple hardware modification on the PCB, the PCI Device ID can be changed so that the system drivers believe that it is actually running a Quadro card. We do know if the system sees the card as a Quadro K5000 card, but we cannot be sure about whether it actually performs like one or if it is entirely bug-free. Nvidia's Quadro cards carry ECC enabled memory that the consumer graphics cards lack.
 

Sadly, Nvidia hasn't responded to the story, and the forum posting where the process was explained has been taken offline.

This trick can not only be applied to this card; we've seen it in the past with other graphics cards. For example, currently, users could possibly utilize the same trick to turn a GTX 660 Ti or a GTX 670 into a GTX 680. The already disabled CUDA cores remain disabled though, so there will not be a full performance benefit. Taking a more interesting example though, perhaps we might see users apply the same process to the GTX Titan, turning it back into a Tesla K20(X) card and saving a lot of money in the process.

Tell us, if you had a GTX Titan or GTX 690, would you consider giving this trick a shot?

UPDATE: The tweaker in question has linked us to the main thread, and has mentioned that he is accepting donations so that he can buy another GTX 690. The reason for the purchase of another GTX690 is because it is not clear which mods turn the other GPU into a K5000 part, and it is too risky for the tweaker to risk his only card for this. Therefore a second card will be purchased if there are enough donations, after which the hacking can carry on. Here is the forum.

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  • 12 Hide
    tipoo , March 23, 2013 10:37 AM
    He (or tomshardware?) should try running things that use Quadro acceleration on it, Mudbox, Maya, etc. Then compare the test back to the actual K5000 and see if it runs stably for long renders, then you can tell if it's just the name that changed or if it really behaves like a K5000. Pretty sweet if it did, I missed the days of turning consumer cards into workstation beasts.
  • 11 Hide
    glob , March 23, 2013 11:53 AM
    Quote:
    I don't see it being useful for actual application as the Quadro's have ECC memory for a reason and that is why they cost so much more and anyone using an application that needs the ECC memory is not going to risk the accuracy of the data just to save a few bucks !


    Quote:
    Well actually most of the reason why these sort of cards cost more is mainly because of manufacturer support.


    No, the reason why they cost (much) more is because companies and freelancers see it worthy to spend through the nose for the added performance gained by the drivers. ECC is a fraction of the added cost and the manufacturer support is irrelevant for most people. The productivity gained from faster rendering jobs is not.
Other Comments
  • 6 Hide
    anononon , March 23, 2013 10:13 AM
    I am very curious to see how well this performs.

    If it does well, thats great! I remember years ago you could solder a couple points to turn a 200 series (I think) into a quadro card as well. That worked great then, why not now?
  • 12 Hide
    tipoo , March 23, 2013 10:37 AM
    He (or tomshardware?) should try running things that use Quadro acceleration on it, Mudbox, Maya, etc. Then compare the test back to the actual K5000 and see if it runs stably for long renders, then you can tell if it's just the name that changed or if it really behaves like a K5000. Pretty sweet if it did, I missed the days of turning consumer cards into workstation beasts.
  • 1 Hide
    renz496 , March 23, 2013 10:43 AM
    Quote:
    ell us, if you had a GTX Titan or GTX 690, would you consider giving this trick a shot?


    for people that really intend to use properly it i don't think anyone would dare doing so. unless they can get it free but still able to get replacement on top of that after breaking one. btw why need to flash Titan into Quadro (if ever existed)? the performance for the card has been unlock so if they really want quadro like performance and precision maybe they just need to tinker with quadro driver to work with Titan
  • 1 Hide
    nforce4max , March 23, 2013 11:21 AM
    It has been known for years how to mod cards on the software side without the need of taking chances with other roms. At least the hardware mod info got out but all one has to do is save the rom then manually change the device id ect while leaving the timings intact. For this mod to work one has to know how to flash on a multi gpu system and the pci-e switch will show up in nvflash.
  • -6 Hide
    JDFan , March 23, 2013 11:42 AM
    I don't see it being useful for actual application as the Quadro's have ECC memory for a reason and that is why they cost so much more and anyone using an application that needs the ECC memory is not going to risk the accuracy of the data just to save a few bucks !
  • 3 Hide
    -Jackson , March 23, 2013 11:47 AM
    JDFanI don't see it being useful for actual application as the Quadro's have ECC memory for a reason and that is why they cost so much more and anyone using an application that needs the ECC memory is not going to risk the accuracy of the data just to save a few bucks !

    Well actually most of the reason why these sort of cards cost more is mainly because of manufacturer support.
  • 11 Hide
    glob , March 23, 2013 11:53 AM
    Quote:
    I don't see it being useful for actual application as the Quadro's have ECC memory for a reason and that is why they cost so much more and anyone using an application that needs the ECC memory is not going to risk the accuracy of the data just to save a few bucks !


    Quote:
    Well actually most of the reason why these sort of cards cost more is mainly because of manufacturer support.


    No, the reason why they cost (much) more is because companies and freelancers see it worthy to spend through the nose for the added performance gained by the drivers. ECC is a fraction of the added cost and the manufacturer support is irrelevant for most people. The productivity gained from faster rendering jobs is not.
  • 1 Hide
    falchard , March 23, 2013 12:23 PM
    I think the most recent NVidia cards would not be able to effectively do this trick. NVidia made concessions with this generation in GPGPU functionality for the consumer cards, so I don't see it being softmoded into a Quattro as something more than switching what appears in messages.
  • 1 Hide
    Inferno1217 , March 23, 2013 1:11 PM
    No I wouldn't do that to mine. I like it the way it is.
  • -3 Hide
    alidan , March 23, 2013 1:57 PM
    globNo, the reason why they cost (much) more is because companies and freelancers see it worthy to spend through the nose for the added performance gained by the drivers. ECC is a fraction of the added cost and the manufacturer support is irrelevant for most people. The productivity gained from faster rendering jobs is not.


    its not that it renders faster, its that its guaranteed to work, as in the programs wont crash.
    a single crash can cost a crapton of money, and its better to have no crash than many that add up to costing more than a single pro card.
  • 3 Hide
    blazorthon , March 23, 2013 2:14 PM
    falchardI think the most recent NVidia cards would not be able to effectively do this trick. NVidia made concessions with this generation in GPGPU functionality for the consumer cards, so I don't see it being softmoded into a Quattro as something more than switching what appears in messages.


    The Quadro K5000 uses nearly identical hardware to the GTX 690 and has the exact same concessions made in dual-precision compute performance for GPGPU processing. However, they both perform decently in single precision (at least much better than Fermi).
  • -2 Hide
    blazorthon , March 23, 2013 2:16 PM
    JDFanI don't see it being useful for actual application as the Quadro's have ECC memory for a reason and that is why they cost so much more and anyone using an application that needs the ECC memory is not going to risk the accuracy of the data just to save a few bucks !


    At least some form of ECC is used even in regular graphics cards. It's the cause of why overclocking graphics memory oftentimes reaches a point where performance is hurt instead of improved IIRC.
  • 0 Hide
    downhill911 , March 23, 2013 4:29 PM
    Can't wait to start....rendering. LOL
  • 0 Hide
    jkflipflop98 , March 23, 2013 5:12 PM
    . . . you've been able to do this with Rivatuner since the GeForce2 came out. You just load in a Quadro bootstrapper and you're set. It's the same silicon.
  • 2 Hide
    demonhorde665 , March 23, 2013 5:52 PM
    tipooHe (or tomshardware?) should try running things that use Quadro acceleration on it, Mudbox, Maya, etc. Then compare the test back to the actual K5000 and see if it runs stably for long renders, then you can tell if it's just the name that changed or if it really behaves like a K5000. Pretty sweet if it did, I missed the days of turning consumer cards into workstation beasts.

    Renders don NOT run on the gpu , The gpu only powers the veiw ports 3ds max (and any other 3d program worth its salt) has ALWAYS rendered off the cpu. the main reason being that the program(s) suport technologies that can't be rendered in real time such as ray tracing, or technologies that are not present in Direct 3d or open glide yet.
  • -4 Hide
    thecolorblue , March 23, 2013 6:54 PM
    -JacksonWell actually most of the reason why these sort of cards cost more is mainly because of manufacturer support.


    That's what they say... interesting how "manufacturer support" is available as a separate OPTIONAL contract for loads of computer hardware... but when it comes to "workstation cards" the "support contract" is built into the card... even if the user will never ever call support.

    for that reason alone, your explanation is nothing more than a repeat of marketing BS
  • 0 Hide
    Achoo22 , March 23, 2013 7:02 PM
    It's interesting that nobody points out the irony of not being able to just modify and distribute the drivers (which function as a LKM and must therefore be bound to the GPL) instead of modifying the hardware to change the PCIID.
  • 3 Hide
    blazorthon , March 23, 2013 7:03 PM
    thecolorblueThat's what they say... interesting how "manufacturer support" is available as a separate OPTIONAL contract for loads of computer hardware... but when it comes to "workstation cards" the "support contract" is built into the card... even if the user will never ever call support.for that reason alone, your explanation is nothing more than a repeat of marketing BS


    I'm pretty sure that this article's comments is a good example of how making assumptions based on a single fact doesn't go well. I'm sure that the prices of the workstation/super computer cards factor in support, the additional hardware expense of higher RAM capacity of superior reliability and more, more stringently tested drivers, and more as well as the fact that they're sold in a market that can afford the high prices even if the cards shouldn't be worth it by performance (relative to the consumer cards) alone.
  • 0 Hide
    InTheCity , March 23, 2013 10:29 PM
    thecolorblueThat's what they say... interesting how "manufacturer support" is available as a separate OPTIONAL contract for loads of computer hardware... but when it comes to "workstation cards" the "support contract" is built into the card... even if the user will never ever call support.for that reason alone, your explanation is nothing more than a repeat of marketing BS


    Several render engines run off the gpu only, 'Octane' for example, is a GPU only unbiased render engine. While not as powerful as hybrid engines that are cpu/gpu, they are finding their way into production workflows.
  • 0 Hide
    rmpumper , March 24, 2013 12:38 AM
    globNo, the reason why they cost (much) more is because companies and freelancers see it worthy to spend through the nose for the added performance gained by the drivers. ECC is a fraction of the added cost and the manufacturer support is irrelevant for most people. The productivity gained from faster rendering jobs is not.


    Quadro and GPUs in general have nothing to do with rendering performance (unless you are using vray RT, mr iray or some other standalone GPU renderer). Quadros are only provide better viewport performance.
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