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Print 20 comment(s) - last by Knish.. on Jun 13 at 11:44 PM


nForce 550 chipset courtesy of HKEPC
Take out that soldering iron and turn your nForce 550 or 570 motherboard into an SLI compatible motherboard

HKEPC has stumbled across a few interesting findings regarding the non-SLI compatible nForce 5 variants. A motherboard manufacturer by the name of Magic-Pro has an nForce 550 motherboard that is compatible with SLI—the A2N5. This is quite strange as NVIDIA doesn’t certify the nForce 550 for SLI operation but somehow Magic-Pro has found a way around it. The A2N5 has two full length PCI Express x16 slots with eight lanes routed to each slot—similar to an nForce 570 SLI setup. NVIDIA drivers were able to detect two graphics card and open up SLI options on the Magic-Pro A2N5.

The A2N5 was than compared to other nForce 550 motherboards and it was found the nForce 550 chipset lacked a resistor that was found on other nForce 550 core logics. This is similar to how nForce 4 Ultra boards were modified for SLI compatibility. After further examination HKEPC did further experimentation with an MSI K9N Platinum nForce 570 motherboard. The K9N Platinum nForce 570 motherboard appeared to have the resistor soldered in place that prevented SLI operation. It was removed but SLI operation was still disabled on the motherboard. 

There was more to just unsoldering a single resistor to enable SLI operation on nForce 550 and nForce 570 chipsets. A couple more resisters had to be removed around the second PCI Express x16 slot to divide the sixteen PCI Express lanes to both slots. After removing more resistors HKEPC achieved success and was able to mod the MSI K9N Platinum nForce 570 motherboard to allow SLI. SLI performance on modified nForce 550 and 570 motherboards came out identical to a regular nForce 570 SLI motherboard.

nForce 550 and 570 users shouldn’t rejoice quite yet. Although the modification appears to work well, don’t expect it to be working for too much longer. If previous nForce 4 Ultra modifications is a hint of things to come expect NVIDIA to find a way to prevent SLI support on uncertified motherboards. While this modification is a hard mod the chipset ID still remains the same so expect NVIDIA to use this to its advantage.  nForce 570 and 570 SLI only have a price differential of about $20 right now, so for those not handy with a soldering iron, the modification might not be worth the elbow grease either.



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Cut the traces?
By Lord Evermore on 6/13/2006 6:02:16 AM , Rating: 2
It's kinda funny that the boards the manufacturers came out with are the exact same board, the 570 and 570SLI for example, and all they did was run the non-SLI models through an extra step to stick a few resistors on it, and make the second X16 slot a different color. With the NF4 models the ones I saw that were essentially the same board at least used only a physical X1 slot even though you could see the pinout and traces on the board where it could have been an X16.

Couldn't nvidia just insist that the traces NOT be physically connected to the slots, or that they be cut in places where people couldn't re-connect them? Like when they're soldering the chipset to the board, just don't solder the pins which connect those extra lines? Or heck why did nvidia even leave those pins on the chip package in the first place?




RE: Cut the traces?
By RTJP66 on 6/13/2006 7:04:22 AM , Rating: 2
To make a host of different boards is going to cost alot extra, when simply adding parts to a single generic board is alot simpler and cheaper, yes there will be the small percentage who work out the where to add the 0R resistors to enable thigns but in the grand scheme of things its not a threat to their sales.



RE: Cut the traces?
By masher2 (blog) on 6/13/2006 10:22:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Couldn't nvidia just insist that the traces NOT be physically connected to the slots, or that they be cut in places where people couldn't re-connect them? Like when they're soldering the chipset to the board, just don't solder the pins which connect those extra lines?


Regardless of where one cuts a trace, it can always be reconnected by soldering a jumper directly between the relevant pads. The same goes for leaving chipset pins unconnected. The only way you're going to make a board truly tamper-proof is to modify the chips themselves...and there's a fairly stiff manufacturing cost for doing so.


RE: Cut the traces?
By Knish on 6/13/2006 11:44:13 PM , Rating: 2
Omg. It's Masher. Great to see you again man...


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