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Is Nvidia Tesla K40 Good for Gaming? Let’s Find Out

Can you game on Nvidia Tesla K40?

The Nvidia Tesla K40 is a mid-range GPU that is widely used in workstation servers throughout the world. Also, the Tesla K40 shows 20% faster performance than the Tesla K20. Also, this graphics card comes with a higher amount of VRAM, memory clock, and Cuda cores for efficient computing. With all these powerful features, is it possible to play games on Nvidia Tesla K40? Is it really worth buying? Let’s break it down.

Now, the K40 graphics card packs enough Cuda cores, almost similar to those found on RTX-2000 Series GPUs. Having more Cuda cores makes Tesla K40 an ideal choice for servers and scientific applications. Moreover, the Nvidia Tesla GPUs are solely made for the enterprise market where there is a need for more productivity and High-Performance computing (HPC).

So, Tesla Series cards are good at handling productivity tasks like video rendering, 3D modeling, Data Analysis, Animation Creation, etc. Also, there’s no video output port in models up to Tesla K80, so you have to rely on onboard graphics or choose another graphics card as your primary display for gaming. Also, you have to configure the settings using special software meant for Tesla cards to switch the authority to another GPU.

Is Nvidia Tesla K40 Good for Gaming?
Image Credit: Nvidia

With all this in mind, let’s move further and find out if we could really play games on this beast.

Can you use Nvidia Tesla K40 for Gaming?

But first, let’s see what this graphics card has to offer:

Video Memory12GB GDDR5
Cuda Cores2880
Base/Boost Clock Speed745 MHz / 875 MHz
Memory Clock Speed3 GHz
Memory Interface Width384-bits
Memory Bandwidth288GB/s
Maximum Power Consumption235W
Key Specifications of Nvidia Tesla K40

Looking at the specs, we can say that Nvidia Tesla K40 is not as much powerful in gaming as a GTX 1070. No doubt, the Tesla K40 has more VRAM, interface, and memory clock speed, what it does not have is the higher processor clock speed.

Even if you compared it with a low-budget graphics card like Nvidia GTX 1660, it underperforms in most AAA games. However, you can easily play five years old game titles on Nvidia Tesla K40 without any issue.

But keep in mind that there’s no video output on Nvidia Tesla K40, so you may need to configure it for off-screen rendering. If somehow you configure this graphics card for gaming, you’ll need to set the final frame buffer out through another GPU (that comes with a video output port).

Generally, the Tesla K-Series GPUs are designed for raw computing. Also, the drivers that these types of chips use are different from regular gaming Nvidia cards. Nvidia Tesla cards are still in existence because of the Nvidia EULA agreement that bans the use of entry-level chips in enterprise use.

Even if you manage to play games on an Nvidia Tesla K40 chip, you cannot expect high performance. It is because the Tesla K40 has no video output, so frames will be routed via another graphics chip on your computer, and also because it has a lower base clock speed. In gaming performance, you can expect the Nvidia Tesla K40 to perform similar to an Nvidia GT 1030.

Things to Consider Before Gaming on Nvidia Tesla K40

The Tesla Series chips are different from your regular gaming graphics cards. So here are some important things to keep in mind before you play games on a Tesla K40 or K80 GPU.

Check your PSU

Most GPUs in the Tesla Series draw over 250W of power on peak load. So, it is worth having a reliable power supply with at least x1 6-pin and x1 8-pin power connector. To be on the safe side, we highly recommend you to go with a Gold or Bronze rated power supply.

Passive Cooling

As the Tesla cards are specifically designed for servers and enterprise use, you’ll need a reliable cooling solution to keep the temperatures minimal. It’s worth going with a spacious case with enough cooling fan for maximum airflow.

Getting Nvidia Tesla K40 Ready for Gaming

Generally, GPUs like the Nvidia Tesla K40 or K80 are not recognized by Windows 10 as your default processors. To enable your graphics, you have to follow the steps below:

  • Enable 4G Decoding in you BIOS. Some motherboards might have a different name for this, so consult your motherboard manual if you don’t find this option in your BIOS.
  • Install the latest drivers for your Tesla K40 graphics card from here.
  • Once the drivers are downloaded, install them and then reboot your PC.

Now we will modifiy the Windows Registry, this will help the Windows to recognize the Nvidia Tesla K40 as a graphics processor.

  • Go to the Start Menu and type “Regedit” (without inverted commas)
  • Now head over to  computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Class\{4d36e968-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}\0001
  • Once you are there, delete the “AdapterType” option
  • Here, create a 32bit dword: EnableMsHybrid and assign a value if 1 to it. And then Reboot your PC once again.

Now once you get back in Windows, it’s time to switch to WDDM graphics mode. To do this, follow the guidelines below

  • Once again, head back to the Start Menu and type in “CMD” to enter the command prompt.
  • Run the command prompt an administrator.
  • Now, in the command prompt type nvidia-smi -L (without inverted commas) to get a list of Nvidia chips along with their respective ID numbers. Note the ID number of your Nvidia Tesla K40 graphics card.
  • Again, type nvidia-smi -g {ID} -dm 0 and press enter. Replace the “ID” in this command with the ID number of Nvidia Tesla K40 GPU that you found in the previous command.

Reboot your PC

  • Right click anywhere on your desktop and go to “Display Settings
  • Move down and find the “Graphics Settings
  • Here find the .exe file of the game that you want to run on Nvidia K40 GPU.
  • Click on it and select “High-Performance” to play the game on Nvidia Tesla K40 GPU.

The Final Verdict

Overall, the Nvidia Tesla K40 is a reliable graphics card if you want to get high-performance in productivity workloads. Also, you can play entry-level games on it if you do some modification in your BIOS and Windows. However, you cannot expect a Tesla K40 to perform like an RTX 2080 Ti or AMD RX 6800 XT GPU. As this card lacks without output and comes with a lower base clock speed, it isn’t going to get your higher frame rates in gaming.

Moreover, these type of enterprise-based graphics cards are readily available on eBay or Amazon for a fairly low price. Until, you get your hands on a reliable gaming GPU, you can game on a Nvidia Tesla-Series card by compromising with lower performance.

If you have a mid-range budget to spend on a gaming GPU, then go for an RTX 2070 or 2080 Ti rather than Tesla K40.

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