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Doubling Down: RTX 3070 Modded with 16GB of VRAM

RTX 3070 16GB Mod
(Image credit: YouTube)

Modder and YouTuber "VIK-on" completed his project on modifying a Palit RTX 3070 with 16GB of video memory, doubling the card's VRAM capacity from its original 8GB specification. In his video detailing the mod, VIK-on shows us the installation process of the memory modules, and his experiences using the card.

This isn't the first time this has happened. We've previously covered VIK-on's memory mod on an RTX 2070, where he upgrades that card from 8GB to 16GB of memory with some success. Things seem to have gone better with the 3070 this round.

Installation Process

RTX 3070 16GB Mod

(Image credit: YouTube)

VIK-on's work is no easy process, so don't expect to have a good experience duplicating his mod back at home with your own card. Especially if you lack the proper equipment.

VIK-on first takes the cooler off the RTX 3070, then applies a heat gun to the card's VRAM modules and starts increases the temperature to the point where he can pull the modules off the card with little to no resistance.

Next, VIK-on has to change what is known as "straps" on the PCB itself. Basically, these straps are little resistors that need to be changed (re-soldered) depending on the memory module in use, whether that be an 8Gb or a 16Gb chip, or a memory chip from a specific memory maker, like Hynix, Samsung, or Micron.

Finally, he lubricates the PCB points where the VRAM will be installed, then installs the VRAM by heating up the modules when placed on the 3070's PCB.

Like with the RTX 2070 he modified, the 3070 POSTed just fine, and GPU-Z reveals that the full-fat 16GB of memory is indeed visible and usable to the card.

RTX 3070 16GB Mod

(Image credit: YouTube)

Driver Problems and a Workaround

Unfortunately, VIK-on ran into what seems to be a driver limitation with the RTX 3070, as the card was very unstable in any 3D application. However, he managed to fix the issue by going into EVGA's Precision X software and forcing the card to run at its normal frequencies and prevent it from underclocking and undervolting to save power.

Strangely enough, this fix completely resolved any crashing in 3D applications, and the card was fully operational.

Perhaps this bug is a countermeasure from Nvidia to prevent AIB partners from selling 16GB models, since that SKU technically isn't supposed to exist. More likely, the firmware and drivers simply aren't tuned to work properly with the different memory configuration. This proves the RTX 3070 core (GA104) can support a 16GB configuration, but this hardware hack isn't the same as official support from Nvidia.

Hints of a Future RTX 3070 Ti?

A 16GB RTX 3070 would be an interesting configuration to see out in the wild. We're already seeing AAA games at 4K resolutions reaching the 8GB frame buffer limit, particularly with Ray-Tracing enabled. The 16GB frame buffer could come in handy a few years down the road as games become more and more demanding.

But there's also the cost, especially during a time where we have a massive VRAM shortage. A 16GB model could be more expensive than it's worth for most consumers. Presumably, this is why Nvidia dunked the 16GB route and stuck with 8GB of VRAM for the RTX 3070. Rumors of a future 16GB RTX 3070 Ti persist, however, and such a card would make mods like this unnecessary.

For now, it's cool to see a fully functioning RTX 3070 with double the VRAM. Never underestimate the power of modders.

  • bigdragon
    Very impressive work! This is even better than the last attempt to increase VRAM on a GPU. Nice to see this mod stable. It gives me hope that a 3070 16 GB will be released one day.

    Personally, I'd like to see Nvidia end the 3080 and 3070 in favor of replacing them with Ti versions. I wonder if this is already going on with the 3080 given the total lack of stock drops for it for the past month at least. Having a new GPU release with a ton of day-one stock may give more of us the ability to purchase GPUs. The current stock trickles just get eaten up by bots immediately.
    Reply
  • hotaru.hino
    I feel like it's now a given NVIDIA is going to do half-generation refreshes. But the question of what those specs will be will make it interesting to guess. For example, the 3070 is fully realized GA-104. So unless NVIDIA went down to 5nm or a highly refined 7nm to bump up the clock speeds by a meaningful amount, throwing on 16GB to a 3070 and calling it a 3070 Ti would be a let down.

    The only other thing I can think of, but can't see why they would do it is make a GA102/GA104 hybrid where there's 12 SMs per TPC like the GA102 rather than 8 SMs per TPC like the GA-104, but keep the same 6 TPC and 8 channel memory configuration.
    Reply
  • JarredWaltonGPU
    hotaru.hino said:
    I feel like it's now a given NVIDIA is going to do half-generation refreshes. But the question of what those specs will be will make it interesting to guess. For example, the 3070 is fully realized GA-104. So unless NVIDIA went down to 5nm or a highly refined 7nm to bump up the clock speeds by a meaningful amount, throwing on 16GB to a 3070 and calling it a 3070 Ti would be a let down.

    The only other thing I can think of, but can't see why they would do it is make a GA102/GA104 hybrid where there's 12 SMs per TPC like the GA102 rather than 8 SMs per TPC like the GA-104, but keep the same 6 TPC and 8 channel memory configuration.
    Not quite a full GA104 -- it's 46 SMs out of 48 potential SMs. Not a huge difference, but if Nvidia can get enough full GA104 chips, plus a clock speed bump, plus double the VRAM... Or like you said, maybe just do a GA102 with 56 SMs or something. I don't think Nvidia will do new Ampere GPUs, though -- they'll stick with the GA102/GA104/GA106 (and potentially GA107/GA108) until Hopper or whatever comes next. That will be 5nm most likely, or some Samsung equivalent.
    Reply
  • Giroro
    bigdragon said:
    Very impressive work! This is even better than the last attempt to increase VRAM on a GPU. Nice to see this mod stable. It gives me hope that a 3070 16 GB will be released one day.

    Personally, I'd like to see Nvidia end the 3080 and 3070 in favor of replacing them with Ti versions. I wonder if this is already going on with the 3080 given the total lack of stock drops for it for the past month at least. Having a new GPU release with a ton of day-one stock may give more of us the ability to purchase GPUs. The current stock trickles just get eaten up by bots immediately.

    There may be a massive price delta between the RTX 3080 and 3090 (MSRP for 2x 3080s is less than a single 3090, which explains why they killed SLI) , but there is almost no performance difference in gaming. So what would a 3080 Ti even be? Would it just exactly split the difference and be a 16GB card with 4-6% better performance for $1100? I don't think a 16 GB arrangement is even possible on GA102 without dropping the bus width. Micron only lists an 8Gb (1GB) GDDR6X chip in 19Gbps and 21Gbps speeds. Nvidia isn't currently using the 21 Gbps chips, but they could in the future. Some of the arrangements that we can assume possible are:

    Total MemoryNumber of chipsBus WidthBandwidth10 GB (RTX 3080)10 (x16 mode?)320 bit @ 19 Gbps (1188 MHz)760.3 GB/s 12 GB12384 bit @ 19-21 Gbps912 - 1,008 GB/s16 GB16256 bit @ 19-21 Gbps608 - 672 GB/s20 GB20320 bit @19-21 Gbps760.3 - 840 GB/s24 GB (RTX 3090)24 (x8 mode?)384 bit @19.5 Gbps (1219 MHz)936.2 GB/s
    Maybe they would do a 20GB card, used mostly as a marketing gimmick to justify a several-hundred-dollar price premium over AMD's 16GB 6900 XT @ $999... Or they could ignore that, because they would sell every card produced, regardless.
    I don't see a 16GB card happening, unless Micron has a weird 10.6Gb or 12.8 Gb chip in the works. Or maybe a 16Gbit chip that can be mixed and matched with the 8Gbit.
    Personally I think they have already released their RTX 3080 Ti, they just happened to call it RTX 3080.
    Either way, I think the last thing the market needs right now is more high-end SKUs with big chips and big memory. What Nvidia needs is a 4GB card with ~18 SMs, targeting 1080p with DLSS (no RTX) on a die that is smaller than 1/4 the size of GA102. The market basically needs a modern card that is roughly a quarter of RTX 3080, so they can make 4x as many of them at (hopefully) 1/4 the price.

    I would even be happy if AMD and Nvidia would at least restart production on some of their old low-midrange cards. People who need an office PC shouldn't be forced to buy a high-end gaming card out from under somebody who actually wants it. Where is GT 1010?
    Reply
  • hotaru.hino
    Giroro said:
    Either way, I think the last thing the market needs right now is more high-end SKUs with big chips and big memory. What Nvidia needs is a 4GB card with ~18 SMs, targeting 1080p with DLSS (no RTX) on a die that is smaller than 1/4 the size of GA102. The market basically needs a modern card that is roughly a quarter of RTX 3080, so they can make 4x as many of them at (hopefully) 1/4 the price.
    Considering if optimized/developed well, a 2060 Super can get 60FPS at 1080 with all the bells and whistles including DLSS, I'm hopeful a possible 3050 would just be the equivalent of that in a 107 die.

    I would even be happy if AMD and Nvidia would at least restart production on some of their old low-midrange cards. People who need an office PC shouldn't be forced to buy a high-end gaming card out from under somebody who actually wants it. Where is GT 1010?
    I don't really think there's a need for lower end cards below the $150 mark anymore. Every CPU for consumers made by Intel has a GPU. AMD looks like they're trying to do that with their laptop CPUs but nothing's really stopping a system builder from using a laptop system in an AIO or SFF desktop. In any case, iGPUs are sufficient for most tasks people typically do and some of the higher end ones effectively make the <$150 video card market redundant. Plus for system builders, a video card is an extra line item they have to support. Getting rid of that if possible would save them money.
    Reply
  • MarsISwaiting
    Someone needs to mod it to 32GB !!! if 16GB is possible , why not 32GB ?
    Reply
  • kaalus
    What is a "8GB frame buffer limit" at 4k resolution? Frame buffer at 4k requires at most 64MB (assuming HDR color, 24 bit depth buffer and 8 bit stencil). Even with triple buffering that no one is using these days, this sums up to a paltry 192MB. Less than 3% of memory on an 8GB card.
    Reply
  • hotaru.hino
    kaalus said:
    What is a "8GB frame buffer limit" at 4k resolution? Frame buffer at 4k requires at most 64MB (assuming HDR color, 24 bit depth buffer and 8 bit stencil). Even with triple buffering that no one is using these days, this sums up to a paltry 192MB. Less than 3% of memory on an 8GB card.
    Perhaps "frame buffer" isn't exactly the correct term, but to really take advantage of the resolution you do need high resolution textures which eat up a bulk of VRAM. Plus games still render to many "frame buffers" (called render targets) for certain effects before compositing the final output. There's a slide deck from one of Sony's game developers showing that they were using something like 800MB on render targets for a 1080p output.
    Reply
  • JarredWaltonGPU
    hotaru.hino said:
    Perhaps "frame buffer" isn't exactly the correct term, but to really take advantage of the resolution you do need high resolution textures which eat up a bulk of VRAM. Plus games still render to many "frame buffers" (called render targets) for certain effects before compositing the final output. There's a slide deck from one of Sony's game developers showing that they were using something like 800MB on render targets for a 1080p output.
    Directed at the OP and backing up Hotaru:
    It's not just frame buffer for sure, and you can see the amount of memory 'required' by games balloon as you go from 1080p to 1440p to 4K -- well, in some games anyway. Red Dead Redemption 2 for example:

    1080p Max (no SSAA) = 4347 MB for RDR2, 995 MB "Other", 5342 MB total
    1440p Max (no SSAA) = 4666 MB for RDR2, 995 MB "Other", 5661 MB total
    4K Max (no SSAA) = 5537 MB for RDR2, 995 MB "Other", 6532 MB total

    So, that's 319 MB extra to go from 1080p to 1440p, and 871 MB extra to go from 1440p to 4K. Considering an entire 32-bit frame only requires a bit more than 14MB at 1440p, that would suggest there are around 23 different buffers or something? A 4K frame would take just under 32MB, and the scaling is even higher there (~27.5X the frame size in increased memory footprint). Probably because at 4K the game also stores more MIPMAPS or something, I don't know for sure. But these numbers from RDR2 aren't outliers -- most games need about 1GB more VRAM at 4K than at 1440p, and it's often enough of a jump to push beyond the VRAM limits of 6GB cards. That doesn't mean the games suddenly can't run at all on a 6GB card, but proportionately there's a bigger hit to performance due to memory swapping required at 4K.
    Reply
  • Giroro
    hotaru.hino said:
    Considering if optimized/developed well, a 2060 Super can get 60FPS at 1080 with all the bells and whistles including DLSS, I'm hopeful a possible 3050 would just be the equivalent of that in a 107 die.


    I don't really think there's a need for lower end cards below the $150 mark anymore. Every CPU for consumers made by Intel has a GPU. AMD looks like they're trying to do that with their laptop CPUs but nothing's really stopping a system builder from using a laptop system in an AIO or SFF desktop. In any case, iGPUs are sufficient for most tasks people typically do and some of the higher end ones effectively make the <$150 video card market redundant. Plus for system builders, a video card is an extra line item they have to support. Getting rid of that if possible would save them money.

    I'm going to guess what you meant by $150 cards, because even the worst old gaming cards on the market cost more than $150 right now. If you consider the $199 "class" of GPU, the GTX 1060 has consistently dominated the top of the steam charts for several years.

    Low end graphics (at least when launched) still outperform iGPUs by a wide margin. Plus they add different/newer/more display outputs. A GT 1010 is very necessary in a world where the only GPU for sale in town is a $90 Geforce 210, which I'm reasonably sure cannot even output 4k60.
    How many motherboards out there have multiple DP1.4 ports on them? Personally, I would be very happy if I could get a GT 1010 for the ~$50 that the GDDR varients of the GT 710 usually cost back before they all sold out everywhere forever.

    If you mean that there is no demand for low end gaming/productivity cards like a GTX 1030 / 1050 ti, well every possible metric disagrees. Sure those cards aren't that great at modern gaming, but they're 2 generations old. What do you expect? They are still far far superior to integrated graphics. Just because a modern/last gen equivalent doesn't exist, doesn't mean that people don't want them. Gtx 1650 does exist to replace the 1030 in the lowest performance class, but with ~50% higher launch prices than the older cards - just like everything else last gen. That's a part of the problem, nvidia keeps linearly increasing pricing with performance so you can't really categorize cards by price. I'm sure most customers would absolutely love it if a future "RTX 3050 ti" launched at the same $139 as the 1050 ti. They would absolutely lose their minds trying to buy it - moreso than the already overwhelming demand for an RTX 3060 at $330. But that's how progress used to go: more performance and features at the same price points.

    Every consumer CPU from Intel does not have a GPU, see "F" models. For AMD, none of their Zen3 desktop processors have integrated graphics, and none of their mid to high-end processors in general have one. There's their low end Zen2 APUs, but those are just as imaginary right now as everything else with a half decent GPU. AMD hypothetically is making some promising laptop APUs (I assume supply is also tight there), but you can't put a laptop APU in a desktop, and you can't put a dedicated GPU in a laptop. It's a different market. Even still, theres still plenty of laptops using something like an nvidia M150 just to get better desktop performance over Intel igpu.
    And yes, a system integrator could probably put a laptop CPU into a desktop PC if they wanted, but they are the only people who can still but gpus, so I doubt they would put more development into that category than they already are.

    It still bothers me how quickly we got used to the RTX 20 series pricing. As I recall, those cards were universally panned at launch for being obscenely overpriced, and Tom's was universally panned for recommending that people 'just buy it'. Then, when Nvidia largely keeps that pricing scheme for the 30 series, we all flip out like it's the best pro-customer deal ever? I don't get it, but I guess that's the power of a monopoly.

    Also to the other point, I get that an RTX 2060 is a good card for 1080p. But that gpu was too big and too expensive, which is why the 1060 is still king of the mainstream.
    What I'm asking for is a minimum-viable mainstream card on the smallest die possible, in order to drastically increase production, and eventually decrease cost. (As in a "$150" TU116/117 calss of gpu in terms of design). The superior architecture and manufacturing process should put performance somewhere in the GTX 1660S or GTX 1070 ballpark. RTX would not be useful in this performance class, and the RT cores are separate from the SMs so they could be removed more easily than the tensor cores. Nvidia needs faster production far more than they need a niche graphical feature which makes makes 30ish games prettier, with the tradeoff of being unplayable.

    A $250+ 6/8GB RTX 3050/ Ti targeting GTX 1080 performance on a ~200 or 246 mm die at isn't enough to push through their production bottlenecks. If Samsung can't make enough big GPUs, then they need the minimum viable die. If they can't buy enough memory, then they need the minimum viable memory. Why not start with something that does both, then with about upselling customers once they actually have a product available on the market? The sad thing is, they could probably still sell the "minimum viable gaming" card at $250 and move every single one that can be produced for the foreseeable future - but eventually they could either stop production or drop the design down to mobile or a 2GB gt 1030 replacement.
    Reply