How to Install an nVidia GRID Card on Dell Servers

So, in the process of doing my job here at Dell as a VDI Support Guy in ProSupport, I periodically come across a customer issue where the GRID cards are not properly installed in the system, either because of a misconfiguration/oversight when ordering the server or just forgetting a step in the installation process.

After searching the Internet for some sort of doc or video that details the process and not finding anything, I stepped into our lab here in ProSupport and did an installation video.

Two key points:

  1. Make sure you ground yourself, protect your equipment from static discharge!!
  2. Don’t forget the power cable for the GRID.

 

Enjoy, and I hope this helps someone out. ¬†Please let me know if it does… below… in the comments.

 

8 thoughts on “How to Install an nVidia GRID Card on Dell Servers

  1. Jake

    Dell no longer directly sells the Grid K1 card – we are in the process of expanding our production clusters and would like to maintain the same config we have today (R730 with 1xK1 card).

    Do you see any pitfalls to us ordering an R730, specifying “with GPU cooling” in the config, and putting a K1 (obtained elsewhere of course) in ourselves? Do you know if there is a specific part number or model number of the GRID that would make it specific to being installed in a Dell?

    Thanks!

    Like

    • scooterx01

      Hi Jake! Yeah, nVidia has discontinued the K-Series GPGPU cards and replaced them with the M-Series GRID 2.0 cards. Unfortunately, nVidia chose to start charging a licensing fee/per user for doing shared GPGPU. So, a lot of folks like you are wanting to deploy the K1/K2 models instead.
      The GPU cooling kit is primarily: low profile heat sinks for the cpu’s – so the dual-height GPGPU’s will fit in the server & requirement that 1100W power supplies are in the box to adequately cover the power needs of the system + GPGPU cards on board (plus a couple of other tweeks & riser power cable). I don’t see why the GPU Cooling config wouldn’t work, as a double-wide GPU is a double-wide GPU in terms of form factor.
      However, I would defer to your Dell Sales Rep to validate the config and ability to get the GPU Cooling config without purchasing a current M-Series GPGPU with the system.
      As for the what model to purchase; only the K1 & K2/K2a GPGPU’s were validated on the R720/R730 platforms, so stay within those bounds.
      Hope this helps,
      Scott

      Like

      • Jake

        Thanks Scott – I noticed that some GRID K1’s appear to be OEM branded with unique model/mfg numbers. For example, if one were to look at a “RF61J” you would find it as a “Dell nVidia GRID K1” but it you were to look at a “J0G94A” you would find it as an “HP ProLiant nVidia GRID K1” – this is what threw me off.

        I assumed a K1 was a K1 – any idea what, if any difference there is? Or what the manufacture part number of the “Dell Certified” card is?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. scooterx01

    Hey Jake,
    Had to take a look into this. Apparently, nVidia leaves some small features/configurations available for resellers/hardware vendors to customize – either by menu option or through card firmware. So, therefore, each vendor will have unique model/mfg numbers and you should only apply the corresponding vendor’s firmware to that device.
    As for make/model numbers for Dell Certified cards – I did a quick search on the Dell.com website. It seems we still have some available, even though they have been discontinued by nVidia.
    The mfg number for what we have available is: H6VT2

    ref: http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/accessories/apd/490-bchr?c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&sku=490-BCHR

    – Scott

    Like

  3. denismakarov1

    Hi Scott,
    Do you know anything about airflow requirements (left to right or vice versa, active or not) for Nvidia cards (like tesla) for installing them into R730? Because Dell doesn’t provide any info about this. More than that they sent me the link to your youtube video as manual.

    Like

    • scooterx01

      Hey Denis,
      I don’t have any numbers on airflow requirements for GPU cards in the R730. However, there is a GPU Enablement kit that is required to accommodate GPU’s in 12th, 13th & 14th Generation Dell servers. The kit contains low profile CPU “radiators” for earlier generations of servers to be able to fit in the full length GPU cards in the PCIe slots. There’s also a power cable for additional power for the higher end (>75W) GPU’s to come off of the power port on the PCI Risers. The fans are already capable of moving enough air through the chassis to take care of the additional heat produced at the back end of the chassis.
      Pretty much, if the card is validated on a Dell Chassis – just make sure you have the GPU enablement kit installed and you are good.
      Lemme know if this doesn’t cover the bases for you,
      Scott

      Liked by 1 person

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