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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 mod confirms that there was a 16 GB VRAM configuration in development

It turns out that the GeForce RTX 3070 could have 16 GB of VRAM, not 8 GB. (Image source: NVIDIA)
It turns out that the GeForce RTX 3070 could have 16 GB of VRAM, not 8 GB. (Image source: NVIDIA)
It is possible to modify the GeForce RTX 3070 to support 16 GB of VRAM, a YouTuber has discovered. Enabling support on the GA104 card requires setting 'strap' resistors to the correct values too, which all but confirms that NVIDIA had been developing an RTX 3070 SKU with 16 GB of VRAM, as had been suggested last year.

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The GeForce RTX 3070 may have 8 GB of VRAM, but it turns out that the Ampere graphics card supports up to 16 GB. Modifying a GeForce RTX 3070's VRAM is not for the faint-hearted, though. As the videos by VIK-On below show, one must be comfortable with removing the eight 1 GB modules that are pre-installed on the board, replacing these with 2 GB modules and altering certain resistors on the PCB.

These resistors are commonly referred to as straps, for reference. By default, NVIDIA sets these straps to 00000 bits for Samsung memory and 00001 for Micron memory. However, VIK-On found out that 00110 allows the RTX 3070 to run with 16 GB of VRAM. NVIDIA had been expected to release an RTX 3070 with 16 GB of VRAM at some stage. Nevertheless, in October it emerged that the company had shelved plans to do so. Since then, NVIDIA has launched the RTX 3060 with 12 GB of VRAM, adding confusion to its Ampere product stack where there need not have been any, in our opinion.

Hence, it seems that VIK-On has confirmed that NVIDIA was developing a 16 GB variant of the RTX 3070 at some stage. The modified RTX 3070 works too, albeit with some initial instabilities. Locking clock speeds in EVGA Precision resolved these instabilities though and allowed the modded RTX 3070 to outscore the RTX 3070 Founders Edition in 3DMark Time Spy and Unigine Superposition.

Ultimately, we can see why NVIDIA decided against releasing a 16 GB version of the RTX 3070. Currently, few games benefit from having more than 8 GB of VRAM, although some modern triple-A titles will come close to that ceiling. Additionally, the RTX 3070 is likely to run into other hard limits before it needs more than 8 GB of VRAM.

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Source(s)

VIK-On (1) (2)

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Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - Senior Tech Writer - 4146 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.
contact me via: @aldersonaj
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 03 > NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 mod confirms that there was a 16 GB VRAM configuration in development
Alex Alderson, 2021-03- 9 (Update: 2021-03- 9)