Since from time to time, people have email, pm, and even repost threads on questions regarding softmod their 6800. i decided to make this thread sticky. it's a great reference to answer all your questions and doubts. enjoy
here's your dream come true to convert your 6800LE/NU/GT/Ultra to a Quadro 4000.
if you're wondering what's the difference between a commercial card and a professional one like quadro or firegl. the difference is the professional card has Hardware OpenGL aceleration capability which dramatically speeds up your workflow in 3D apps. it has NO, i repeat NO performance increase in games. in some cases, depending on the version of the drivers, it might even negatively impact your gaming frame rate by a small margin.
here's what happened. ever since i recently graduated from college i've been working at home long hours for the past two month putting together my demo reel to start my job hunt. and the latest and the last project i've been working on has been giving me a hard time. those of you who know me know more or less that i am some kind of graphic designer. in fact, i've shifted my main focus to 3D. so this latest project i've been working on involves XSI. i've shifted away from Maya (don't ask me why). there is one problem tho. XSI and Radeon are like Venus clashing with Mars. while i was working on my model last week and saved all my animation sequences, quit and open back up the scene. BAM!... error!!... that one scene was gone. and believe me that wasn't the first time that happened. so i finally told myself that i had it with all these crashes, clunkyness and errors. i was gonna go out and actually buy a Quadro 1100 even tho my broke fresh outta college ass have no money.
after a whole day of researching just right before i bid on a quadro 1100 on ebay. i came across some info on the net on modding a Geforce 6 series to a quadro equivalent. and yes, there is an equivalent softmod for ATI radeon to FireGL. and believe me.. i tried mine countless times with different methods and my 9800pro just doesn't seem to convert. so this new 6800 to quadro 4000 seemed like a dream. so i went out and bought a 6800LE from newegg just to try it out. BOOM!.. it took me less than 5 mins to set it up before i have a fully functional Quadro capability. if you think FreeFireGL was easy, you're gonna kick yourself on this one. it involves no BIos flashing, soldering or annoying god for saking driver patching.
here is what needs to be done
(NOTE! anything here on about the modification is an invention and discovery of Unwinder, the RivaTuner creator himself. i take NO credit myself. all credits and thanks goes to him. i am just here to spread the word and bash the evil spirits in the nut.)
all you need is installing the latest RivaTUner 2.0 RC15.4 no more patching specific drivers. you're free to use any driver you want.
once you have the card, driver(geforce driver or quadro driver doesn't matter), and riva tuner installed.
1. go to Low Level system settings under Target Adaptor and install NVstrap.
2.Check "use ROM strap for PCI device ID Program" and under PCI device ID click on one of the up or down arrow and select Custom. then choose Quadro FX4000 below you.
3.Check unlock Professional Capabilities and allow enabling Hardware masked.
HEADS UP! for LE or NU owners. by default, LE has 8X1pp and 4vp enabled and NU has 12X1pp and 5vp. the masked out pipelines "should" be functional however they might not be complete stable in some cases. which is the reason why those NV 40s are made for LE or NU coming out of the production line. just like CPU manufacturing process, the better cores that pass all the tests are assigned to be constructed as higher end cards like ultra and GT while the others go to the lower end LE or NU. in most cases those masked pipelines should function properly. in some cases they might produce a few artifacts or prevent you from overclocking. in worst case scenario, the masked pipelines will simply not work at all. in that case, you're stuck with the default pipelines. however, you'll still be able to enable the professional capabilities. so this pipeline enable method is not quarenteed for EVERYONE. youll just have to try your luck.
4. if you're an LE or NU owner you can enable the remaining Pixel and vertex pipelines by select the drop down box that says Determined by bios and go to custom.
5. click Customize and unlock all the masked pipelines by putting a checkmark next to it. click ok and exit out and reboot
BOOM!.. you have a Quadro. go back to Riva Tuner and you should see that you have all 16X1pp and 6vp enabled.
if you still don't believe it. download SpecView and run the benchmarks.
below is an example of my SpecView benchy after the mod.
Run All Summary
3dsmax-03 Weighted Geometric Mean = 35.40
catia-01 Weighted Geometric Mean = 26.42
ensight-01 Weighted Geometric Mean = 16.70
light-07 Weighted Geometric Mean = 26.62
maya-01 Weighted Geometric Mean = 60.68
proe-03 Weighted Geometric Mean = 38.67
sw-01 Weighted Geometric Mean = 21.76
ugs-04 Weighted Geometric Mean = 21.31
that's all... the mod is done!
now... if you're an overclock maniac like me... you're not just gonna stop here are you?
for you crazy overclockers out there should have no problem overclock your GT or ULtra. there shouldn't be much difference in overclockbility. however, if you're an LE or NU owner, depending on the stability of the masked pipelines, you might or might not be able to overclock. so if RivaTuner's low level overclock can't pass the test that means the masked pipelines are not stable enough to run the overclocked frequency. but hey!.. you still got yourself a hell of a deal coming from a $230 6800LE investment. that's what i did. i went out and bought a LE and got all the pipelines functional with quadro capability. however, my maked pipelines weren't stable enough to overclock. so i was stuck with the default frequency. unlike most people, i like to overclock everything in my system. so i RMAed my LE and was planning on getting another GT. since i didn't feel like pressing my luck on getting another LE that has all the most stable 16 pipelines and also paying for another $30 restocking fee. i thought i'd just get a GT. BUT WAIT!... i couldn't believe this, just while i was looking for another GT. i finally found a way to convert my stubburn 9800pro to a FireGL . how i did it?.. well.. that's for another write up. not bad for two days of research and playing around. i now can finally get back to my project and finish what i was working on without any of the instability problems.