Brazilian modders double Nvidia RTX 2080 memory but only see a 10% performance boost

A modded RTX 2080 with 16GB of memoy.
(Image credit: Paulo Gomes)

A group of Brazilian modders have soldered 16GB of memory to an RTX 2080, doubling its memory capacity from its usual 8GB (h/t Videocardz). The mod, which was performed by Paulo Gomes, Jefferson Silva, and Ygor Mota, involved removing the original GDDR6 chips on the RTX 2080, replacing them with denser models. Although a doubling of memory is quite substantial, the performance benefits of this mod are questionable and you're probably better investing in the best graphics cards for gaming than performing this mod.

Although modding a graphics card to have more VRAM sounds complicated on the surface, it's actually not that difficult. The modders simply removed the original 1GB GDDR6 chips and replaced them with denser 2GB chips to get a total of 16GB. All it needed was a great soldering station setup and a little patience. There was nothing unusual like putting more memory chips on the other side of the board. The only other step is moving a single capacitor to get the GPU to recognize the extra 8GB of memory. A new vBIOS for the GPU wasn't required.

Of course, GDDR6 and other kinds of VRAM aren't as easy to buy as regular sticks of RAM, and they're certainly not designed to be sold at retail. Gomes explains that the chips used for this particular mod came from Aliexpress, and although the mod clearly worked, he cautioned that he didn't know how long these 2GB chips would last for. They are likely to be reclaimed parts from scrapped boards, or factory surplus / seconds.

As for the performance results, they weren't exactly earth-shattering. The GPU was put through its paces in the Resident Evil 4 remake, which is notable for how memory intensive it is. The modders didn't do a proper benchmark run to compare the original 8GB model to the modded 16GB version, but noted that the average framerate was about the same while the 1% low framerate was roughly 10% higher, which indicates a smoother and more consistent framerate.

The results might be a little disappointing for gaming, but it's not unsurprising. 8GB of memory sounds about right for the performance level that the 2080 is at, and it's unlikely that it's particularly starved for memory. However, all that extra VRAM could be useful for rendering or AI, which are generally the kind of workloads that benefit more substantially from additional video memory.

Matthew Connatser

Matthew Connatser is a freelancing writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes articles about CPUs, GPUs, SSDs, and computers in general.

  • AgentBirdnest
    I think a 10% performance increase actually sounds pretty impressive.
    Look at the (lack of) difference that double VRAM made for the 4060 Ti. I think the 7600 XT was closer to +10% against the 7600 if I'm remembering right, but that also has higher clocks.
    TechPowerup does RE4 benchmarks. They show a 2.8% performance increase for the 4060 Ti 16GB over the 8GB at 4K. And around a 5-6% increase for the 7600 XT over the 7600.

    edit: my mistake, I missed the bit in the second to last paragraph about average framerates being about the same, and it's the 1% lows that saw a 10% increase. That makes a lot more sense. Apologies! Move along! : P
  • Notton
    The whole point of extra VRAM is smoother frame rates because it doesn't have to load textures from RAM/SSD.
    So it's working exactly as expected.

    They didn't exactly change the RAM clock speed, memory bus width, or number of active shaders, so of course it's not going to see higher max fps.
  • usertests
    I don't think most benchmarkers are even accounting for the fact that some game engines are silently degrading textures and pulling other tricks when VRAM runs out.

    So a 7600 XT looks rather unimpressive in price/perf charts, and it was a little overpriced considering the 6700 XT. But doubling VRAM from 8 GB to 16 GB can be beneficial.
  • Eximo
    No clock speed bump by default, but it did get a slight power increase, so should be able to go a little higher if cooled well enough.

    7600 XT isn't super overpriced, so it has that going for it at least. $50 for 8GB of memory, fine. $100 not so good Nvidia, on top of the higher starting price. ($90 right now)
  • atomicWAR
    Interesting experiment. I am not surprised that they only got 10% but that is still impressive in of itself. I'd be curious how long these chips last. I hope the modders test the longevity of these chips keeping the community updated in the process. Good Job!!
  • razor512
    In many ways, newer entry level cards are far more crippled than cards in the past, which makes a small VRAM pool far more detrimental. For example, 8GB of VRAM and a PCIe 4.0 X8 interface, basically means that after around 500-700MB or so of shared memory use, the card will encounter major hitching issues unless the game engine avoids loading bandwidth intensive stuff such as actively used textures and other bulk data into the system RAM. On the other hand, a card with PCIe 4.0 X16, you can often load ~1.5GB or so before major performance issues creep in. If a card has ample VRAM, then the bottleneck of an X8 interface becomes less of an issue, as the PCIe interface is less likely to encounter a situation where it needs to pull double duty.
  • Vanderlindemedia
    Notton said:
    The whole point of extra VRAM is smoother frame rates because it doesn't have to load textures from RAM/SSD.
    So it's working exactly as expected.

    They didn't exactly change the RAM clock speed, memory bus width, or number of active shaders, so of course it's not going to see higher max fps.

    Correct. The density of chips is only changed, from 1gb to 2gb, with same specs.

    You cant just install much faster - it would require adjustments in bios files which... most cards today don't even accept.
  • tstng
    Misleading article is misleading. You wouldn't see performance improvement if the game in question runs fine with less VRAM .
  • Eirikr1848
    Would be interesting for this card to see the stability diffusion image generation times in terms of it/s oh low/regular VRAM settings vs High.

    Aside from crappy local AI “art” there are other positive AI/ML implications for this as well especially for students with limited budgets needing more VRAM to train their models.
  • sfjuocekr
    Memory doesn't necessarily improve FPS, sure it adds extra space to store data needed by shaders and what not... but most memory transfers happen asynchronous anyway so if that were to stall it would only result in a frame drop here and there.

    TLDR: more memory, more stable frame rate.