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Best Flashable 6950?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 9, 2011 6:37:50 PM

Okay so im planning on buying a 6950 and flashing it to a 6970. I will also crossfire it in the future and add a lower end gtx ( 550 450 gts 420 etc) card for physx. If you have ever seen the hardwarecanucks "round up" where they will take all the brands for a card and compare them through benchmarks, pricing, clockspeeds, temps, power consumption, etc in nifty little graphs and paragraphs. Unfortunately there isnt one up yet for this card, so does any one have a link or two of the same thing on a different site so i can compare the brands and make my picks, thanks!

More about : flashable 6950

a c 217 U Graphics card
May 9, 2011 7:05:23 PM

I know you've probably read a bit about flashing these cards, but you should know that a fair amount of these cards are damaged as a result. It's not usually a problem with the GPU, but the video ram that is not able to handle the 6970 timings a great deal of the time.

There is another method to get the performance of a 6970 (or very close to it) with far less risk to damaging your card. One way is to alter your existing bios so it unlocks the shaders of the GPU, but leaves the voltages and timings the same as the 6950. You can then over clock the GPU core to 6970 speeds fairly safe.

As far as I can tell, and have seen all the 2GB cards can do this. The only advantage to the reference card, is that they have a bios switch with the default stock bios in one of two bios. This makes it so that if the bios flash failed and bricked your card, the bios switch can help you recover. (You should still be able to reflash the card if it failed by booting up on a 2nd card).

I'd definitely advise against flashing the bios with a 6970 bios. I'd highly recommend you alter the existing bios to unlock the shaders only, then OC it after.
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May 10, 2011 12:00:54 AM

bystander said:
I know you've probably read a bit about flashing these cards, but you should know that a fair amount of these cards are damaged as a result. It's not usually a problem with the GPU, but the video ram that is not able to handle the 6970 timings a great deal of the time.

There is another method to get the performance of a 6970 (or very close to it) with far less risk to damaging your card. One way is to alter your existing bios so it unlocks the shaders of the GPU, but leaves the voltages and timings the same as the 6950. You can then over clock the GPU core to 6970 speeds fairly safe.

As far as I can tell, and have seen all the 2GB cards can do this. The only advantage to the reference card, is that they have a bios switch with the default stock bios in one of two bios. This makes it so that if the bios flash failed and bricked your card, the bios switch can help you recover. (You should still be able to reflash the card if it failed by booting up on a 2nd card).

I'd definitely advise against flashing the bios with a 6970 bios. I'd highly recommend you alter the existing bios to unlock the shaders only, then OC it after.


Thanks for the help, i am aware of the memory problem that causes problems with video intensive apps but what about the new flash that only involves unlocking the shaders? Also what would you recomend as the best reference card for this job that is still on the market, has nice cooling, and great overclocking abbilities? (PLEASE NO ASUS card as it is WAY to big to crossfire and fit in my case with 2 other cards...thanks
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a c 217 U Graphics card
May 10, 2011 12:19:47 AM

The reference cards are big. I was able to unlock the shaders on a MSI Twin Frozr II, which was not a reference card. But it does not have the backup bios. If something went wrong, I would have had to do a bios flash after booting from a different card. (although if I only unlock the shaders, the card isn't like going to have problems due to it unless I played a game, making reverting back fairly easy).

I'm not sure what to recommend to you, if you want only a reference card, as your requirements are for a smaller than reference card. The MSI Twin Frozr's are smaller, btw.
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May 10, 2011 3:07:45 AM

bystander said:
I know you've probably read a bit about flashing these cards, but you should know that a fair amount of these cards are damaged as a result. It's not usually a problem with the GPU, but the video ram that is not able to handle the 6970 timings a great deal of the time.

There is another method to get the performance of a 6970 (or very close to it) with far less risk to damaging your card. One way is to alter your existing bios so it unlocks the shaders of the GPU, but leaves the voltages and timings the same as the 6950. You can then over clock the GPU core to 6970 speeds fairly safe.

As far as I can tell, and have seen all the 2GB cards can do this. The only advantage to the reference card, is that they have a bios switch with the default stock bios in one of two bios. This makes it so that if the bios flash failed and bricked your card, the bios switch can help you recover. (You should still be able to reflash the card if it failed by booting up on a 2nd card).

I'd definitely advise against flashing the bios with a 6970 bios. I'd highly recommend you alter the existing bios to unlock the shaders only, then OC it after.


That's bs imo.

I have 3 flashed 6950 cards with the 6970 bios and none of them have failed or showed any signs of failure (shut downs, artifacting, etc). I'm quoting from personal experience vs you quoting from what you've read.

1 Powercolor, 1 HIS, 1 XFX and all are reference models.
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May 10, 2011 3:20:03 AM

Carc369 said:
That's bs imo.

I have 3 flashed 6950 cards with the 6970 bios and none of them have failed or showed any signs of failure (shut downs, artifacting, etc). I'm quoting from personal experience vs you quoting from what you've read.

1 Powercolor, 1 HIS, 1 XFX and all are reference models.



Which of those did you have the best peformance with? And where can i buy one as i have found it a little difficult as ati has seemed to have noticed the flashing loophole and was quick to take off most of ther models from the market? Thanks again
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a c 217 U Graphics card
May 10, 2011 3:38:15 AM

Carc369 said:
That's bs imo.

I have 3 flashed 6950 cards with the 6970 bios and none of them have failed or showed any signs of failure (shut downs, artifacting, etc). I'm quoting from personal experience vs you quoting from what you've read.

1 Powercolor, 1 HIS, 1 XFX and all are reference models.


I have person experience with success too. That doesn't mean others have not had cards go bad as a result of flashing. And if you do unlock the shaders, then proceed to OC to 6970 clocks, you get the same performance, the only difference is that you do it with 6950 voltages and timings. It just seems to be the safe way to go.

The problem isn't that the GPU fries, the problems people are having is the memory going bad within a few days to a few weeks of flashing.
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May 10, 2011 3:44:34 AM

okay i will but what card do you reccomend and where to i get it? If you look on newegg all the old flashable cards a deactivated, where do i buy a reference on (with the tumbler fan, red stripes, black, etc) as i cant seem to find a dual bios version ?
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May 10, 2011 4:06:05 AM

yea i wanted a twin frozr as well, but those arent flashable anymore

i too am looking for recommendations on a flashable 6950, thinking about an his since my local store has one
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a c 217 U Graphics card
May 10, 2011 4:13:58 AM

chchom22 said:
yea i wanted a twin frozr as well, but those arent flashable anymore

i too am looking for recommendations on a flashable 6950, thinking about an his since my local store has one


I personally unlocked the shaders on the MSI R6950 Twin Frozr II. Again, I'm still not sure the risk if things didn't unlock well, but I assume I can still flash it back to the original bios, as long as I can boot from a 2nd card (this is the risk part, as these don't have a dual bios).

Part of the problem is he can't fit a reference design in his case, and it's only the reference design that has the dual bios. Although the bios flash, or shader method doesn't "require" a reference design, it takes away a safety net (dual bios).

I'm not sure what to recommend.
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May 10, 2011 6:12:32 AM

sofyanator said:
ur store is?


microcenter
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May 10, 2011 7:47:35 AM

I would guess that they have stopped shipping the reference models of the 6950. Tired of 6970 sales bitting the dust probably. I don't know why you are harping over which brand of reference card to go with at the description is in the name ... reference aka they are all the same except for the color of the shell which is brand specific. So unless you are looking to show off someone's logo on the inside of your case I would just pick up any reference model you can find that is left. I would try newegg, tigerdirect, amazon and probably even ebay at this point in time.

Hope you can find what you are looking for.
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May 10, 2011 1:27:55 PM

sofyanator said:
Which of those did you have the best peformance with? And where can i buy one as i have found it a little difficult as ati has seemed to have noticed the flashing loophole and was quick to take off most of ther models from the market? Thanks again


Idk if they've hardlocked the bios or if its that's just a rumor tbh. I bought mine back in January. All of them provide the same performance. The one I like the most is XFX because of the double lifetime limited warranty. That warranty allows for a so much easier resale.
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May 10, 2011 1:29:27 PM

chchom22 said:
microcenter

Microcenter is a rip off. Newegg is definitely the way to go. Only thing I've gotten cheap from microcenter was my i7-930 for about $200 last year. It was some kind of deal to get people to come into the store. Everything was more expensive and the base price didn't include tax.
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May 10, 2011 1:33:20 PM

bystander said:
I personally unlocked the shaders on the MSI R6950 Twin Frozr II. Again, I'm still not sure the risk if things didn't unlock well, but I assume I can still flash it back to the original bios, as long as I can boot from a 2nd card (this is the risk part, as these don't have a dual bios).

Part of the problem is he can't fit a reference design in his case, and it's only the reference design that has the dual bios. Although the bios flash, or shader method doesn't "require" a reference design, it takes away a safety net (dual bios).

I'm not sure what to recommend.


Well judging from the Techpowerup article, over 90% of the people had no problems when flashing the 6970 bios. 3 out of 3 were successes for me. I'm sure some do mess up but I believe it to be a rare occurrence. I've never flashed with a modified 6950 bios so I can't speak on that. I'm not arguing which method is better. I'm just saying flashing into a 6970 bios doesn't necessarily mean you are destroy your card.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
May 10, 2011 2:58:02 PM

Carc369 said:
Well judging from the Techpowerup article, over 90% of the people had no problems when flashing the 6970 bios. 3 out of 3 were successes for me. I'm sure some do mess up but I believe it to be a rare occurrence. I've never flashed with a modified 6950 bios so I can't speak on that. I'm not arguing which method is better. I'm just saying flashing into a 6970 bios doesn't necessarily mean you are destroy your card.


I don't argue that majority are successful without problems. I don't know what the actual number is, the original article only had those who were successful initially, so it's hard to say what happened a week or 2 down the road. I saw a followup thread where a lot of people came back to vote about whether their card was damaged after the initial success. There were quite a few people with damaged video ram.

My whole thought here isn't that it's not possible, but risk vs reward. The unlocked shaders result in a great reward with much lower risk. I like lower risk.
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May 10, 2011 3:27:58 PM

Carc369 said:
Microcenter is a rip off. Newegg is definitely the way to go. Only thing I've gotten cheap from microcenter was my i7-930 for about $200 last year. It was some kind of deal to get people to come into the store. Everything was more expensive and the base price didn't include tax.


price match
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May 10, 2011 5:58:40 PM

will price match work with an out of stock card?
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May 10, 2011 5:59:08 PM

bystander said:
I don't argue that majority are successful without problems. I don't know what the actual number is, the original article only had those who were successful initially, so it's hard to say what happened a week or 2 down the road. I saw a followup thread where a lot of people came back to vote about whether their card was damaged after the initial success. There were quite a few people with damaged video ram.

My whole thought here isn't that it's not possible, but risk vs reward. The unlocked shaders result in a great reward with much lower risk. I like lower risk.



So please tell us how to modify the 6950 bios to unlock the shaders!! I like your idea and might give it a go on my 2 XFX's.

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May 10, 2011 6:40:05 PM

sofyanator said:
will price match work with an out of stock card?


bro its in stock, did you read my original post at all
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a c 217 U Graphics card
May 10, 2011 6:43:51 PM

rockitman said:
So please tell us how to modify the 6950 bios to unlock the shaders!! I like your idea and might give it a go on my 2 XFX's.


1st, you'll want to save a copy of your existing bios. You can follow the bios flash guide steps 1, 3 and 4 to save your bios. This is just in case something doesn't work right (not all 6950 GPU's have fully function shaders). The flash instructions are here: http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/overclocking/vidcar...
Just do steps 1, 3 and 4.

Next, download this: www.techpowerup.com/wizzard/Mod_BIOS_HD_6950.zip
(this came from page 16 of the original flash directions thread look for W1zzard's post; http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1371...)

Extract the script and copy over the original saved bios into the folder for this script. It needs to be named "original.bin"

Now run the script (it will tell you instructions) and follow the original flash instructions with the modified bios. ( http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/overclocking/vidcar... ) follow steps 5 through 9 with the modified bios created with the script ( modded.bin )
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May 10, 2011 6:51:10 PM

bystander said:
1st, you'll want to save a copy of your existing bios. You can follow the bios flash guide steps 1, 3 and 4 to save your bios. This is just in case something doesn't work right (not all 6950 GPU's have fully function shaders). The flash instructions are here: http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/overclocking/vidcar...
Just do steps 1, 3 and 4.

Next, download this: www.techpowerup.com/wizzard/Mod_BIOS_HD_6950.zip
(this came from page 16 of the original flash directions thread look for W1zzard's post; http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1371...)

Extract the script and copy over the original saved bios into the folder for this script. It needs to be named "original.bin"

Now run the script (it will tell you instructions) and follow the original flash instructions with the modified bios. ( http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/overclocking/vidcar... ) follow steps 5 through 9 with the modified bios created with the script ( modded.bin )


is this only for reference cards?
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May 10, 2011 6:59:21 PM

Bystander, thanks a bunch! Man, my brain was going to explode trying to read that 100 + page thread!

I'm curious, since this procedure obviously looks to be the safer way to proceed, how come the original instruction article is not edited to state this new method? Why does every newbie who comes along thinking about boosting his 6950 card think he has to flash a 6970 bios?

Also, this newbie has to ask a stupid question:

"what is a reference card and what is a non reference card?"

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May 10, 2011 7:24:20 PM

On all PCI-Express slots, AMD puts their logo on there ONLY if it is a reference design. The fan is also at the end of the card for the 6950 reference model. Also it must be 2GB. I don't believe there are 1GB reference models.
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May 10, 2011 7:31:15 PM

chchom22 said:
price match


They price match the price yea... but with tax being around 10% that still is a huge chunk of cash. That's why I don't buy from Microcenter because of the taxes. If you live in California, you are screwed either way.

I'd go with Newegg or Amazon. Amazon's are about the same prices as Newegg but normally don't have the same deals (10% off, $30 off, etc...)
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a c 217 U Graphics card
May 10, 2011 7:42:11 PM

chchom22 said:
is this only for reference cards?


I've performed these proceedures on a reference XFX 6950 and a non reference MSI R6950 Twin Frozr II. Both function perfectly. My XFX had also been flashed to the 6970 bios, but I later went back to the default bios and unlocked the shaders.

Note: I'm not entirely sure that if something went wrong with the non-reference board, I'd be able to flash it back to the original bios, but from what I've seen from others, I should be able to reflash it back, as long as I boot up from a 2nd card.
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a c 217 U Graphics card
May 10, 2011 7:53:09 PM

rockitman said:
Bystander, thanks a bunch! Man, my brain was going to explode trying to read that 100 + page thread!

I'm curious, since this procedure obviously looks to be the safer way to proceed, how come the original instruction article is not edited to state this new method? Why does every newbie who comes along thinking about boosting his 6950 card think he has to flash a 6970 bios?

Also, this newbie has to ask a stupid question:

"what is a reference card and what is a non reference card?"


I do not know why he didn't go back to alter it. It's even the author who wrote the script I used, although the method of unlocking the shaders was someone elses technique, he just made it easier to use. He did at least give warnings of the possible risks, so he didn't leave everyone in the dark.

A reference designs are the designs that AMD and Nvidia come up with. The non-reference designs are redesigned by their partners who sell them retail. The MSI Twin Frozr is a good example of a non-reference design.
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May 10, 2011 8:05:21 PM

bystander said:
1st, you'll want to save a copy of your existing bios. You can follow the bios flash guide steps 1, 3 and 4 to save your bios. This is just in case something doesn't work right (not all 6950 GPU's have fully function shaders). The flash instructions are here: http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/overclocking/vidcar...
Just do steps 1, 3 and 4.

Next, download this: www.techpowerup.com/wizzard/Mod_BIOS_HD_6950.zip
(this came from page 16 of the original flash directions thread look for W1zzard's post; http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1371...)

Extract the script and copy over the original saved bios into the folder for this script. It needs to be named "original.bin"

Now run the script (it will tell you instructions) and follow the original flash instructions with the modified bios. ( http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/overclocking/vidcar... ) follow steps 5 through 9 with the modified bios created with the script ( modded.bin )


You state to run steps 5 through 9. Step 8 talks about moving the Powertune slider in CCC to the +20% setting. Is this still necessary if one is just unlocking shaders?

Also, can one now proceed to bump up the clocks in Afterburner? What are good safe numbers to try?

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a c 217 U Graphics card
May 10, 2011 8:17:42 PM

rockitman said:
You state to run steps 5 through 9. Step 8 talks about moving the Powertune slider in CCC to the +20% setting. Is this still necessary if one is just unlocking shaders?

Also, can one now proceed to bump up the clocks in Afterburner? What are good safe numbers to try?


If you plan to leave the clocks at stock, you won't need to turn up the powertune, but if you plan to OC it to 6970 levels, you will likely want to.

My personal experience with the latest cards is that you are pretty safe to OC the GPU until you see artifacts, then back it down 20+ hz, but I would not mess with the video memory. Since DDR5, the memory seems to be very temperamental, and gives little returns for the OC.
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May 10, 2011 8:32:21 PM

bystander said:
I've performed these proceedures on a reference XFX 6950 and a non reference MSI R6950 Twin Frozr II. Both function perfectly. My XFX had also been flashed to the 6970 bios, but I later went back to the default bios and unlocked the shaders.

Note: I'm not entirely sure that if something went wrong with the non-reference board, I'd be able to flash it back to the original bios, but from what I've seen from others, I should be able to reflash it back, as long as I boot up from a 2nd card.


if i only buy one twin frozr III, will i be safe using this method you think?
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May 11, 2011 12:23:28 AM

okay you guys said the reference card is still in stock, the ones where you can safeky unlock the shaders right? Well where do i get it? An xfx, power color, gigabyte, and i guess saphire would be great! A specific link would be delicious....thanks. First answer with a link to a shader unlockable card that has reference design and below 300 dollars get best answer.

P.s. from earlier about me having a small case
( i have a haf 932 and an asus maximus extereme iv, big stuff but those asus cuII cards are big too and it would be very hard to crossfire 2 and putt in a physx card.
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May 11, 2011 1:24:27 AM

um for some reason the links dont work for me lol, can you post it as just a url
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a c 217 U Graphics card
May 11, 2011 1:27:12 AM

sofyanator said:
um for some reason the links dont work for me lol, can you post it as just a url


It works for me still. That was just the url. Sometimes you need to click it, which opens up the link, then hit enter on the link. It should open up then.
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May 11, 2011 1:42:44 AM

see just indent and put spaces between every now and then in the link and it will be text instead of a link
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Best solution

a c 217 U Graphics card
May 11, 2011 1:52:05 AM

sofyanator said:
see just indent and put spaces between every now and then in the link and it will be text instead of a link


Alright, let me get it a go: http://www.newegg.com/ Product/Product.aspx? Item=N82E16814161359&cm_re= 6950-_-14-161-359-_-Product&nm_mc= AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc= AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID= 10521304&PID= 4176827&SID=1vln6enioc7xv
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May 11, 2011 1:59:54 AM

Best answer selected by sofyanator.
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May 11, 2011 2:06:15 AM

I have had a succesful flash and overclock with this Gigabyte card GV-R695D5-2GD-B and it is running like a champ now as I type but I have not seen it on Newegg in a while. Friends have had similar succes with HIS and XFX cards. As long as you get a reference card with dual bios you should be safe. Read the techpowerup article on flashing it has everything you need. You can also read about software vs hardware locking of the shaders. I only mention that because I have heard of cards that can not unlock the shaders and I would assume that as time goes on AMD would start to hardware lock them so as to be able to sell more 6970s.
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May 11, 2011 2:21:20 AM

also this is kind of gay, i dont realy like his's color scheme and graphic as it doesnt realy go with my black and red rig (haf 932, asus maximus iv,) so is it like a sticker and i coul just go to kinkos and slap on a xfx sticker or would i have to buy another cover or could i have kinkos make me a custom fitting sticker that would fit it?
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a c 217 U Graphics card
May 11, 2011 2:24:39 AM

sofyanator said:
also this is kind of gay, i dont realy like his's color scheme and graphic as it doesnt realy go with my black and red rig (haf 932, asus maximus iv,) so is it like a sticker and i coul just go to kinkos and slap on a xfx sticker or would i have to buy another cover or could i have kinkos make me a custom fitting sticker that would fit it?


Ya, those are just stickers. You might not be able to see the stickers either, as the card points down.
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May 11, 2011 2:42:52 AM

i just read a review and yes the his have dual bios !!
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a c 217 U Graphics card
May 11, 2011 2:45:19 AM

chchom22 said:
if i only buy one twin frozr III, will i be safe using this method you think?


I'm not sure, and I'm not willing to test it to find out :p 

I believe you should be able to boot off of another card all together, the one you currently use, and have the twin frozr in the 2nd pcie slot, then you should be able to reflash it if things don't go to plan, but I do not know for sure.
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