Upgrading the DGFF GPUs in the Precision 7530 & 7730

Discussion in 'Dell Latitude, Vostro, and Precision' started by Ionising_Radiation, Aug 6, 2019.

  1. Ionising_Radiation

    Ionising_Radiation ?v = ve*ln(m0/m1)

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    Hi, everyone. I realised that I ought to stop spamming posts on the Owners' Thread and the 7540/7740 Pre-release thread, so I created a separate thread for this. Let's get the ball rolling, with me, the first upgrader. Hehe.

    First off, the Dell Precision 7530, 7730, 7540 and 7740 come with graphics cards that aren't soldered to the motherboard, unlike most other performance notebooks (whether gaming or workstation) of similar form factor. However, these notebooks aren't the usual MXM:
    [​IMG]

    These notebooks contain graphics card in the DGFF form factor. There are three currently-known versions: one for the 7530/7540 (Quadro P3200 and Quadro RTX 3000 pictured below), a longer one in the Precision 7730/7740, and the DGFF in the Alienware Area-51M.

    7530/7540:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Alienware Area-51M:
    [​IMG]

    These are Dell's proprietary form factor, the Dell Graphics Form Factor (DGFF). And clearly Dell has different standards for different machines, but the commonality is the wide, screw-down connector seen in the first image, that presumably runs the PCIe connection from the motherboard to the GPU daughterboard.

    Now, to the juicy details. I have upgraded the Quadro P3200 in my Dell Precision 7530 to the Quadro RTX 3000 that is currently offered with the Dell Precision 7540, by asking Dell for a quote for some part numbers.

    The relevant part numbers for the Precision 7540 and 7740 and their GPUs are below:

    Code:
    Precision 7540
    
    Quadro T1000:    CWF0J
    Quadro T2000:    HV0DX
    Quadro RTX 3000: MWDWM
    Code:
    Precision 7740
    
    Quadro RTX 3000: RY4MY
    Quadro RTX 4000: 5HPJW
    Quadro RTX 5000: K9TJP
    
    Mine was 'MWDWM', and I paid the low, low price of $163.50 for it. This was direct from Dell, so I think I got an immense bargain.

    I disassembled my machine (following Dell's Service Manual), swapped out the P3200 DGFF for the RTX 3000 DGFF, put it all back together and booted up. Do note the die size differences in the image above: the RTX 3000 TU106 die is nearly 40-50% larger than the P3200 GP104GL die. There is some black insulating tape on the heatsink for the 7530 if the P3200 was purchased, which I removed as this would've come in contact with the larger die of the RTX 3000. On the bright side, the heatsink's cold plate was very large, and had no problems coming into complete contact with the die of the Quadro RTX 3000.

    Once that was done, I booted up. It worked, but then the drivers didn't, and I was stuck with the Microsoft Basic Display Adaptor.

    Thanks to @Aaron44126's insight, I was able to get the drivers to install properly. What is needed is known as an INF mod: there exist .inf files in typical driver packages that tell the OS about the hardware that's installed in the machine of question, through the use of device, vendor and overall hardware IDs. The hardware IDs of the Quadros in the Precision depend on the machine they're installed in, and also on whether or not NVIDIA Optimus is enabled in the BIOS. Hence, we have to include this new combination of Precision 7530 + Quadro RTX 3000 in the relevant file.

    I downloaded the latest 431.70 Quadro drivers from NVIDIA, and got down dirty. If 7-zip is installed (as an aside, I strongly suggest everyone using Windows use this unarchival tool over WinZIP or WinRAR), one can right-click the executable (that's really actually an archive) and extract its contents to the working directory. Once that's done, I navigated to the Display.Driver folder (yes, there's a full stop in the middle), and edited the file nvdmwi.inf, and specifically under the heading, [NVIDIA_Devices.NTamd64.10.0...17098] (this is near the top of the file).

    I added in the following two lines:
    Code:
    %NVIDIA_DEV.1F36.0831.1028% = Section051, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_1F36&SUBSYS_08311028
    
    %NVIDIA_DEV.1F36.1831.1028% = Section059, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_1F36&SUBSYS_18311028 
    The first line is for Optimus mode, and the second is for Discrete-only. 1F36 is the device ID for the Quadro RTX 3000; 0831/1831 are the IDs for the Precision 7530, and 1028 is the Dell vendor ID.

    At this point, one can disable Windows' driver signature enforcement, proceed to execute the setup.exe executable from the extracted files to install the driver and it will work, but there's an extra, purely cosmetic edit I made, so that the device would show up as 'NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000' rather than a garbled mess of the device and vendor IDs.

    I scrolled all the way down to the end of the same file, nvdmwi.inf, under the heading [Strings] and added these two lines:
    Code:
    NVIDIA_DEV.1F36.0831.1028 = "NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000"
    NVIDIA_DEV.1F36.1831.1028 = "NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000"
    and saved the file to disk.

    Note that the blocks of code above will vary depending on which notebook you currently have (Precision 7530, 7540, 7730 or 7740), and which GPU you currently have. The difference between Optimus and Discrete-only is simply the presence of a 0 or 1 respectively, in the first digit of the subsystem ID—for the case of the Precision 7530, it's 0831 or 1831 respectively (thanks once again @Aaron44126 for this insight—I would never have known otherwise).

    And voilà—after this, rebooting with driver signature enforcement disabled and installing the driver, I was done, and following is an image showing UL 3DMark Fire Strike comparisons:
    [​IMG]

    Now, on to the issues. The Quadro RTX 3000, according to NVIDIA's specifications sheet, is supposed to have 2304 CUDA cores, matching the RTX 2070:
    [​IMG]

    However, according to GPU-Z and the NVIDIA driver, my RTX 3000 has 384 fewer cores, matching the RTX 2060:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I have spoken to an NVIDIA rep regarding this, and he said that Dell could've possibly changed the CUDA cores available on its versions of the RTX 3000. I have also followed up with Dell regarding this, and hope to receive a reply tomorrow or so.

    Otherwise, this has been a smooth upgrade.

    I hope to help everyone else with this.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
    skakckc, Div033, Dennismungai and 6 others like this.
  2. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Virtuoso

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    Ionising_Radiation and Div033 like this.
  3. faenil

    faenil Notebook Consultant

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    Just for your info, I tried getting the quote for the MWDWM from Dell UK and they said...that they don't have that part number in stock so they cannot tell me.... :rolleyes:
     
  4. Div033

    Div033 Notebook Consultant

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    Very impressive! I am especially impressed at the price you were able to procure that RTX 3000 - consider yourself very lucky!

    I wonder if the 1920 cores detail is another case of Dell altering the vbios to hamstring the chip in the name of better thermals/lower power draw? I just find it difficult to believe that there are further cut down versions of the RTX 3000... then again, this is Nvidia... ugh.

    Still, I'd say you made out well all things considered. Good to know that if I'm ever able to get my hands on one I too can make the upgrade. Thanks for taking the plunge!
     
  5. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Virtuoso

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    Now wondering if the 7530 and 7730 versions of the RTX 3000 will have a different number of CUDA cores. It was mentioned that the wattage of the two cards is the same. Reducing the core count would be another way to limit the thermal output...
     
  6. yrekabakery

    yrekabakery Notebook Virtuoso

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    If the wattage is the same, then the thermal output (heat) is the same.
     
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  7. Div033

    Div033 Notebook Consultant

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    So then the only reasonable explanation is that Nvidia themselves offers this cut down version at a reduced cost and Dell wanted to save money, right?

    If so, looks like NV’s continuing the practice they started/continued with the MX150 across different product tiers - undisclosed variants with radically different performance levels.

    Otherwise, I suppose they could’ve changed the spec for the SKU at the last minute for some reason. Time will tell once we see more pop up.
     
  8. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Virtuoso

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  9. yrekabakery

    yrekabakery Notebook Virtuoso

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  10. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Virtuoso

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    Yes, 110W, same as RTX 4000 I believe. Will be interesting to see relative performance if anyone springs for the 5000. In the 7730, P5200 wasn’t performing that much faster than P4200 because of the power limit.
     
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