RE: Drivers to support Stereo Viewing in VMD etc using Standard GeForce Cards

From: Ross Walker <>
Date: Thu 18 Oct 2001 20:29:56 +0100

> "Ross Walker" writes:
> >Dear Everyone,
> >
> >I thought this might interest some people reading this list who use
> >programs such as VMD to visualise molecules. Up until now stereo
> >support has been restricted to SGI's and expensive
> professional graphics
> >cards like the NVIDIA Quadro series.
> This procedure voids your warranty (just like overclocking)
> and is also
> just plain ethically wrong. Is it really worth it? If you really
> think stereo viewing is useful, then include a section in your next
> grant proposal for stereo viewing hardware (IE a card that supports
> stereo). They aren't that much more expensive and those
> cards' drivers
> have better performance anyway. Now, whether it is ethical
> for nVidia to
> sell you a card which is capable of stereo viewing and
> antialiased line
> drawing in hardware and then disabling it in software since you
> paid $100 instead of $500; that's another issue entirely :-)

I don't see how this can void your warranty since you are not modifying
hardware in anyway that runs it beyond what it was designed for. What
you are doing is simply changing 4 bytes in the driver which then just
skips the card ID check and just provides access to everything the Card
states that it is capable of doing. You are not even flashing the bios
on the card, hence there is no way NVIDIA could know what has been done
hence you would still be covered under warranty. Besides, at less than
$100 does it really matter if the card goes wrong?

As regards pirating of drivers you are not doing this, you are simply
replacing 4 bytes from one of the DLL's and hence from what I can tell
by reading the Licence you are not in breach. The person who originally
reverse engineered them is breaking the law but that is a different
point entirely. I am not responsible for that.

As regards the ethics of it I don't see a problem at all. Nvidia is a
business selling a product, I am the customer, I bought their product
thus it belongs to me and I am free to modify it to my hearts content as
long as I don't want their technical support and don't sell it on in a
way that breaches their patent. This is a free market and all is fair in
love and war. If you are really worried about the ethics then by all
means spend 5 times more than you need to, I will sleep more soundly at
night knowing that I didn't waste $400 when I didn't need to.

Yours Sincerely

|\oss Walker

| Imperial College of Science, Technology & Medicine |
| Department of Chemistry | Theoretical Division |
| Tel:- +44 207 59(45851) / +44 7958 970896 |
| EMail:- |
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Received on Thu Oct 18 2001 - 12:29:56 PDT
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