Is a GTX 460 better than a GTX465, well as the name would suggest no not really (possibly a few fps better in most games) but it cannot be considered much of an upgrade other than lower power and lower temps . did you mean a 560 ti or something which is more likely to be given the best bang for buck title these days?
I was looking at the charts for performance here on Tom's regarding 2011 GPU's and I see the 560ti beating the 6950
Yeah, it really depends on what game you are playing.The hd6950 can unlock a lot though. Well, I think it is still more than a 50% chance, but not 98% like it used to be. You would need a reference card for that though. I would get a GTX 560 Ti if I were you.
Have you tried overclocking the GPU ? with good cooling the can get up to 800 MHZ yes even the 465 and with the extra cuda cores it really is pretty awesome, I've seen massive gains over the stock 607 MHZ core
What are you talking about the dual bios? I'm not sure what your talking about regarding flashing etc, please explain.
The original HD69502GB reference design simply had 2 BIOSs, the first being the standard, stock HD6950 video card.
The second could function as a backup to the first (in case it became corrupted or otherwise borked) or it could be 'loaded' or flashed with HD6970 instructions.
It is actually quite simple -- there are instructions all over the internets. The issue is finding the video card with the reference design - dual BIOSs. They are still out there but you have to look around.
The success rate is probably 100% - minus a very small Fail for sheer operator stupidity. And you really can't 'break' the card - you can simply revert back to the original HD6950 BIOS.
Even if you find one it looks a bit above your budget, anyway.
Just a heads up -- the rumors won't go away about some new Radeon 7xxx-series video cards coming out in Q4. HD69501GB cards (which are essentially as fast as the HD69502GB cards but can't be modded) are hitting the low $200s - which looks to be right down your alley.
And if you are patient, prices will continue to fall to move out that inventory before the 7xxx-series cards hit the street.