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Need Advice on XFX Radeon HD 6950

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 11, 2011 6:45:29 PM

I am designing myself a new machine and am interested in buying a XFX Radeon HD 6950 with 2gb memory.

I've heard they can be biosed updated to a 6970 if they are a reference model.

I may not do this but would like the option to at some point.

I usually buy stuff at newegg and looking at the different XFX models I don't see anything that says if the card is a reference model or not or can be biosed.

I usually buy XFX for the great Warranty and sometimes Sapphire.

Anyone know which models can be biosed.


Thanks

More about : advice xfx radeon 6950

July 11, 2011 7:29:05 PM

A reference model is one that looks like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814129171

Basically it is the stock cooler (the big rectangle looking one) and, most importantly, It must say AMD on the bottom near where the card connects to the motherboard. These are the reference cards, that unfortunately cost alot more than non-reference designs at this point.

While it is never a guarantee that a reference model will unlock, its pretty safe to try to unlock the reference ones cause of their dual bios feature. Because of the stock design, these cards usually run very hot and very loud and are not able to be overclocked as well as non-reference models.

As for non-reference models, it is becoming less and less likely that you will be able to unlock them. I haven't see someone able to unlock a non reference model RECENTLY bought, cause I think the manufacturers have either laser cut the extra shaders or made them read-only bioses. This is not to say that you won't find some after reasearch that will unlock though.

To be very honest, unlocking the shaders on a card is not worth it for a couple reasons. For one, you only receive a 2-3% increase in performance from unlocked shaders. Also, overclocking becomes even more less effective because of other bios features that do not let the card be able to maintain higher clocks. Add this on top of the fact that reference cards run hot and loud normally, and you got a bad deal going on.

IMO, get a card that is non-reference, don't worry about unlocking the shaders, and just overclock the hell out of it. You will get the same results in performance if you are just able to overclock them with a slight increase in voltage. Also, you don't run the risk of screwing up your card alltogether with a failed, messed up bios flash.
July 12, 2011 12:43:10 AM

just make sure you get a card with a dual bios switch, which is part of the reference.

Not all dual bio cards are reference, but all reference cards are dual bios
!