We overclock, we overvolt, we cool them to force them to work at the maximum limit at which even manufacturer never thought of going. But here is the mod on nforce4 chipset that will totally change the category for which the product is meant for.
Before I start, let me warn you that this is the most extreme mod I have done still now. I have done some vmod in the past, but it is more extreme than doing vmod+pencil mod on AMD AthlonXP processor.
NVIDIA's nForce4 chipset is offered in three variants.
- nForce4: This is the low-end version, it has no support for SATA-II nor SLI. Like - MSI K8N NEO4-F
- nForce4 Ultra: This is the mid-end version, it supports SATA-II but not SLI. Like - MSI K8N NEO4-Platinum
- nForce4 SLI: This is the high-end version, it supports both SATA-II and SLI. Like - MSI K8N NEO4-SLI
Though they are different, in terms of features, but they are actually manufactured under the same production line-up. Except the very last process of manufacturing.
If you look closely to these chips, you will see that the chipset themselves appear identical. However, a closer look at the resistors and pads surrounding the chip shows some differences. The resistors appear the same on both, but there are 3 sets of resistor pads that are closed on the SLI chipset, just two sets are closed on Ultra and none for the Standard chipset.
The vertical set of resistor pads just to the right edge of the chip itself is closed on SLI and open on Ultra. We could find no other obvious differences in the 3 chipsets.
I choose my old MSI K8N NEO4-F (nForce4 chipset) motherboard for testing as it had just one year of warranty left. Perfect time for such testing. If successful then good, if corrupt will try for warranty. If get warranty then also good, if not then very good, will get a new SLI motherboard.
Rest is a bear system with -
Processor AMD64 3000+ RAM Hynix 512mb DDR400 Power Supply Colors-it 400W Hard Disk Seagate 80GB SAT-II OS WindowsXP Pro with SP2
We tried this mod with an ordinary conductive pen. It worked perfectly, and with there being so much room around the set of resistor pads, you don't have to be that neat. If you close the pads, you have converted to SLI. Those of you who remember Athlon XP modding for CPU speed, will recall how close the sets of pads were in that mod. This required masking and careful painting of the pads to be closed. With the Ultra to SLI mod, there is huge real estate around the resistor on which you are working. As a result, even "all thumbs" modders should have an easy time with this one.
- We get SATA-II support with the motherboard which ment to work at SATA-I only.
- We get partial SLI support.
Partial because, to work with SLI we need to install two same SLI capable cards in the two SLI-slots and connect the bridge between them. But, as we don't have the 2nd SLI-slot so we can't directly use two cards. But don't get depressed. After these mod, now we can use nvidia dual GPU graphics cards like GX2 with older drivers*. These GX2 series graphics cards are basically factory punched pair of graphics card needs only one SLI slot to install but still requires a SLI capable motherboard.
- We can not able to include the IEEE1394 that comes with a Ultra/SLI series motherboard.
* Few week later, we learned that nvidia was not happy with this "SLI hack" and they changed their latest drivers quickly so that "semi-SLI would not work with current and later Forceware drivers." It appears that the later Forceware drivers check the chipset ID and if the driver sees "Ultra", then SLI is not enabled. MSI decided to kill the "semi-SLI" board because it would be a nightmare supporting a board that would only run with older nvidia SLI drivers and also don't want to make big-daddy (nvidia) angry.
But, it was a great experiment.
Time to buy a real SLI motherboard.