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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a bit odd to me....
By NerV04 on 6/13/2006 10:02:24 AM , Rating: 2
if they go through an extra step just to disable SLI, wouldnt they be wasting more money to do it? I find it kinda funny how they charge less for more work done to the board. I know they make a killing with the extra money from the SLI, but still..

RE: a bit odd to me....
By masher2 on 6/13/2006 10:25:08 AM , Rating: 2
> "I find it kinda funny how they charge less for more work done to the board."

The extra cost comes from the R&D effort required to develop SLI in the first place, as well as modifying drivers and certifying SLI on as many games and applications as possible.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking that manufacturing costs are the only-- or even the primary-- cost of delivering a hardware product.

RE: a bit odd to me....
By BladeVenom on 6/13/2006 1:05:53 PM , Rating: 2
SLI was developed by 3dfx a long time ago.

RE: a bit odd to me....
By masher2 on 6/13/2006 1:12:34 PM , Rating: 2
3dfx introduced the concept of well as the specific implementation of it on their own hardware. However, it should be obvious that implementing SLI on other cards-- particularly those with a wholly different bus interface-- is a whole new development effort.

RE: a bit odd to me....
By pr0nbot on 6/13/2006 4:09:57 PM , Rating: 2

RE: a bit odd to me....
By pr0nbot on 6/13/2006 4:10:19 PM , Rating: 2
More pr0n!!!

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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