Watch A GeForce RTX 3070 Get Modded With 16GB Of VRAM For A Huge Performance Lift

hero rtx 3070 16gb mod
The unaware PC gamer will buy a graphics card based on how much video RAM it has and might be disappointed at its performance. The uninitiated will then tell you that video RAM doesn't matter, because games rarely use that much. Those truly in the know are well aware that current games are pushing past the 8GB barrier, and having 12 or more gigabytes of video RAM is a real asset even for pure gaming systems.

That has never been demonstrated so succinctly as by Brazilian GPU repairman Paulo Gomes. We're not directly familiar with Paulo's YouTube channel, but it seems to focus primarily on his business of fixing broken graphics cards. In the video, he takes a customer's GeForce RTX 3070 GPU and replaces the eight 1GB GDDR6X memory packages with 2GB packages, ultimately ending with an unusual GeForce RTX 3070 16GB card.

gpuz 16gb rtx 3070
GPU-Z finds the 16GB of memory after the mod.

This isn't the first 16GB GeForce RTX 3070 card we've seen. More than two years ago, Russian modder VIK-on performed the same trick, but testing in games available at that time he saw a pretty minimal difference. The biggest gap back then was in the decidedly synthetic Unigine Superposition 8K. In this case, the whole impetus for the mod was a customer's complaint that the new remake of Resident Evil 4 was stuttering on his RTX 3070 card.

resistor mod 16gb rtx 3070

The procedure isn't so simple as just pulling off the mounted memory and replacing it with the new packages—which is actually a pretty challenging task in and of itself. Paulo tested the card once that was done, and it still reported that it had 8GB of memory onboard. Getting the card to recognize and use the 16GB of RAM requires moving around a couple of extremely tiny surface-mount resistors.

terrifying gpu test rig
The somewhat-terrifying GPU test rig used to confirm card function before reassembly.

Even after moving the resistors, the card is no longer stable unless you fix the clock rates to their highest value. Paolo indicates in the video that setting the NVIDIA Control Panel's power management setting to "Prefer Maximum Performance" is enough to fix this problem. Indeed, after doing so, the card boots up Resident Evil 4 just fine.

resident evil before after 16gb rtx 3070

As you can see, the mod made an incredible impact on the card's performance in Resident Evil 4's recent remake. On its highest settings, the game simply wants more than 8GB of video RAM, and it will have massive stutters that seriously cripple smoothness while playing. The modded card has no problem filling up nearly 12GB of its video RAM, though, and chugs along at over 90 FPS average, nearly double the performance.

We have to salute Paulo for a successful mod and a job well done. NVIDIA has been criticized in some places for shipping graphics cards with less onboard memory than they could otherwise make use of. Recent titles like Resident Evil 4 and Hogwarts Legacy, which are happy to gobble down more than 10GB of video RAM, can even run into issues on GeForce RTX 3080 cards.