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Still possible to flash a 6950 to 6970?

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October 13, 2011 7:15:28 PM

Hello fellow community members and Enthusiast,

I was finally able to purchase and install a Asus DCII 6950 2gb graphics card into my system Mid September. I plan to run crossfire, but at the moment I'm only runing 1 card. I chose this card for variouse reasons, one of those reasons was that it was possible to Flash the card to a 6970.

Now, I know that pre August; I had not found any later posts that were relavent to my query, that other owners were still able to flash the card even though the switch no longer functioned to switch for the two bioses.

Thus my question is this, can any one confirm that yes It is still possible to flash a card that was bought roughly the same time as mine?

Also; if the above answer is yes, was it done on a single card system like mine?

Again if yes to the above, If I run into issues and need to flash the stock bios back onto the card, how would I go about doing that? I ask because I haven't come across any threads that realy pertain to this question, and in the few cases's were there was a "close" match, the card in question was already part of a crossfire settup.

thank you for viewing, and thank you for responding in advance.

More about : flash 6950 6970

October 13, 2011 8:09:40 PM

Through a bit more searching I found that Techpowerup has a bios editing software utility that can be used to "attempt" to unlock the shaders.

Would it be wise to just unlock the shaders and over clock to a decent 6970 performance, say 880/900 clock and 1300~/1400~ mhz?
a b U Graphics card
October 13, 2011 8:19:03 PM

From everything I have read on the forums
Just unlock shaders and OC
Dont try to flash to 6970
that was only the early reference boards
Use MSI afterburner with the OC limits and voltage unlocked

the performance difference between the 6970 unlocked shaders OCd and the HD 6970
is not worth trying to flash the BIOS

Disclaimer: this info is from reading forums and NOT personal experience
Related resources
October 13, 2011 8:19:23 PM

I have seen , SOME reviews on Newegg , that SOME 6950 cards are flashable again , this was on a Sapphire brand card though. Does this card have the Dual BIOS Swtich on it ? if so then I think one setting is a factory stored deafult bios, then you flash it to another bios and wont brick the card , IF it has the switch on it. I am not sure about the asus models.
October 13, 2011 8:24:47 PM

Just go the safe route and OC it wit out unlocking it.
a b U Graphics card
October 13, 2011 8:27:22 PM

Three weeks ago I unlocked the shadders on a non reference HIS 6950. So yes it is still possible to do the mod. It was done on a single card system also. Please understand that the mod. does not make a 6950 the same as a 6970. There are other differences the bios mod. cannot and will not address. I believe your card is also a non reference design.
Modding the bios is done at your own risk. There is the chance of bricking the card making it useless. It voids the warranty. Almost everyone, myself included, will advise you not to fool with it if there is not a duel bios switch. But if you insist and want to take the chance: Follow this guide using update 2 method only (ttp://www.techpowerup.com/articles/overclocking/159).
You do not want to flash to a 6970 or a reference 6950 bios (this is vital and important). You do want to use the existing bios with the shadders unlocked. This is why the update 2 method is the only one you should try.
October 13, 2011 8:28:46 PM

@King smp:
I don't think its necessary to unlock the limts and voltage to uptain a high clock speed unless attempting to go for >950 clock settings. But I think your right on just ocing the card with unlocked shaders, however before I select a "best answer" i would like feed back from some who has done both methods realtively recently.

@Itrazaklt
on the Asus DCII the switche is present, a simple google search can verify that on its own. however, asus claims that the switch is no longer used for bios switching but to switch be tween a dual link and single link option on the primary DVi/HDMI connections. I'm at work and can't provide a picture, but agian A simple google search can produce the image.
a b U Graphics card
October 13, 2011 9:26:53 PM

@King smp:
I don't think its necessary to unlock the limts and voltage to uptain a high clock speed unless attempting to go for >950 clock settings. But I think your right on just ocing the card with unlocked shaders, however before I select a "best answer" i would like feed back from some who has done both methods realtively recently

Totally understand
I am well read but there is no substitute for personal experience

Also as far as unlocking OC/Voltage on Afterburner
I was thinking from the viewpoint of a "mainstream" card owner
(BTW is mainstream a synonym for cheap?)

as a mainstream owner squeezing every bit of your card
IMHO is necessary

but once you hit the level of a HD 6950 then yes
I think OC more than what overdrive offers is really
not needed

I also like to use Furmark stress/bench to "race" against other cards
(usually other HD 5670s) using the scoreboards

I use to race cars
Now I race video cards
:) 
October 13, 2011 9:53:41 PM

i unlocked my sapphire toxic 6950 2gb to 1500 and some shaders. the card has the 2 bios on it, on a switch. they dont guarantee the unlock will work, but it seems most do. additionally its not a reference card but actually the same pcb they used on the 6970. higher quality, better layout. came factory overclocked to perform at 6970 levels
October 13, 2011 9:57:28 PM

king smp said:


Also as far as unlocking OC/Voltage on Afterburner
I was thinking from the viewpoint of a "mainstream" card owner
(BTW is mainstream a synonym for cheap?)

as a mainstream owner squeezing every bit of your card
IMHO is necessary

but once you hit the level of a HD 6950 then yes
I think OC more than what overdrive offers is really
not needed

I also like to use Furmark stress/bench to "race" against other cards
(usually other HD 5670s) using the scoreboards


I don't think mainstream is a synonym for cheap. If we look at it from the enthusiast's point of view, mainstream is more of a best bang for the buck scenario because of overclocking or software tweaks. Just my opinion though.

While not oppsoed to unlocking the OC/Voltage on afterburner, through my seraching I found that most of the 6950's are caped at a max 950 clock setting, and I can't remember the Mhz setting exactly, but I think it was at or just above 1500 and I don't remember the voltage. Now, I may have mearly mis read and these could just be the max that Afterburner allows "locked" but honeslty, if I'm looking to "future proof"* my setup, overclocking to much might be counter productive as instead of having a... lets say 2 year proof card at ~880/1400 vs a 6month-1year proof card at 950/1500.

just a side thought, it seems "future proofing" has become a new term to the ethusiast, well at least to me it is. I however think the term is essentially wrong. Mainly do to the advances in technology. They way the industry is now, you essentially have several releases a year, but the problem is that a new flagship release at the end of the year might only be slightly better than one at the begining. This being the case its Often better to buy the best at the time as it will last several years, and even then you can compete with newer flagship models with 2x/Nx Crossfire/sli setups. Thus I feel the term should be changed to something more like "major upgrading Delay" or a Delay of some kind.
October 13, 2011 10:02:50 PM

neonneophyte said:
i unlocked my sapphire toxic 6950 2gb to 1500 and some shaders. the card has the 2 bios on it, on a switch. they dont guarantee the unlock will work, but it seems most do. additionally its not a reference card but actually the same pcb they used on the 6970. higher quality, better layout. came factory overclocked to perform at 6970 levels


You kind of answer the question here. Frist, did sapphire specify that it had 2 bioses(bios's?) or did you just notice the switch and figured that it must have dual bios options. I ask because the theory that I've developed from reading forums, reviews and how to's on other sites about my specific card is that while Asus states that the switch isn't for dual bios's, it still acting as such.

Secondly, when did you do the Unlock? 3 min. ago, 3 hours, 3 days, 3 weeks, etc (i like 3, strongest naturally accuring number for variouse reasons). Also did you just unlock or did you attempt to flash?
October 13, 2011 10:07:21 PM

it comes with the 2 bios already on it. they advertise the switch but not so much that it will unlock shaders, because thats not guaranteed. switch in position 1: 1400 and sum shaders. switch in position 2: 1500 and sum. i unlocked it as soon as i got it, which was a couple months ago.
October 13, 2011 10:15:30 PM

neonneophyte said:
it comes with the 2 bios already on it. they advertise the switch but not so much that it will unlock shaders, because thats not guaranteed. switch in position 1: 1400 and sum shaders. switch in position 2: 1500 and sum. i unlocked it as soon as i got it, which was a couple months ago.



By a couple months do you mean August or Jully? As far as I know, Asus doesn't advertise that the switch is for dual bios switching. However, one forum poster ran into issues with his/her flash and flipped the switch and was able to get back to windows and boot properly. Several others replied to said post claming similar happenings. Ither way, your reply didn't really clearify to much for me, thank you though, its still a step to the right answer.
October 13, 2011 10:18:19 PM

i answered... you asked how long ago, i said a couple (TWO) months ago. i didnt flash anything, it came with 2 seperate bios, and i explained what happens with each of them. i also explained it doesnt work for everyone. also told you this was a sapphire card and not asus. *sigh* your welcome anyway
a b U Graphics card
October 13, 2011 10:31:31 PM

MSI afterburner normally limits its OC to the same limit as AMD Overdrive
which for my card was pretty low

My stock is 775 core/1000 mem
Overdrive and Afterburner (locked)
only allow 850/1050
so from my reading on the web
that was really low for mem especially
so I now have it set for 880 core /1200 mem
when you are dealing with a card like the HD 5670
those extra FPS can really count
for example stock 25FPS OCd 30 FPS

now with a HD 6950
stock FPS could be 58
while OC would be 65
so really no reason to do it

as far as life of card
I feel if you stay within safe temps that
it makes no difference

I have cards last way past their usefull lifetime
OCd to the max
I had a XFX Nvidia 7600 GSAGP OCd daily until retired
two years ago
still sitting in my parts closet
put away working

Lets say the life span of a card non OCd is ten years
with OC it shaves %25
that means it will still be around for 7.5 years
or way beyond usefullness

Thats just my opinion
I could be wrong.....


Of course if you do voltage increase then that whole
theory is faulty :) 
October 13, 2011 10:33:43 PM

neonneophyte said:
i answered... you asked how long ago, i said a couple (TWO) months ago. i didnt flash anything, it came with 2 seperate bios, and i explained what happens with each of them. i also explained it doesnt work for everyone. also told you this was a sapphire card and not asus. *sigh* your welcome anyway


... Your attitude is unwarented. using a generic term like "a couple" signifies that it could be 2(TWO) or 3 (THREE) and usually any thing beyond this is specified with an actual number. I understand that your Card is made by sapphire and that it advertises that it has 2 bios and that it comes overclocked already to 6970 speeds. I merely wanted to point out to you that the Asus DCII models have the switch, but do not specifiy if it contains a dual bios settup, but there are claims that it does. Also, if you had read enough of my post you would have infered that I was seeking information form others that had at least the SAME brand of card I did and could at least provide a bit more information than: Yeah I unlocked my card's shaders even though it might not have worked and I didn't have to mess with overclocking as it already came pre-overclocked.
a b U Graphics card
October 13, 2011 10:34:08 PM

If you want better performance buy the 6970. I did flash my 6950 bios as described and it works no problems for me (3 weeks ago on the HIS card). The link I gave you is the method I used. It utilizes your cards' bios and only changes are shadder counts. This resolves comparability issues for bios versions. If your bios is locked it will not flash, no harm done. If it can be flashed this is the least chancy method. also my card clocks to 890/1350 with no temp. or artifact problems. I run it at 850/1300 as my operating base. Also remember to set the power control in ccc to +20% if you unlock the shaders.
October 13, 2011 10:43:27 PM

king smp said:
MSI afterburner normally limits its OC to the same limit as AMD Overdrive
which for my card was pretty low

My stock is 775 core/1000 mem
Overdrive and Afterburner (locked)
only allow 850/1050
so from my reading on the web
that was really low for mem especially
so I now have it set for 880 core /1200 mem
when you are dealing with a card like the HD 5670
those extra FPS can really count
for example stock 25FPS OCd 30 FPS

now with a HD 6950
stock FPS could be 58
while OC would be 65
so really no reason to do it

as far as life of card
I feel if you stay within safe temps that
it makes no difference

I have cards last way past their usefull lifetime
OCd to the max
I had a XFX Nvidia 7600 GSAGP OCd daily until retired
two years ago
still sitting in my parts closet
put away working

Lets say the life span of a card non OCd is ten years
with OC it shaves %25
that means it will still be around for 7.5 years
or way beyond usefullness

Thats just my opinion
I could be wrong.....


Of course if you do voltage increase then that whole
theory is faulty :) 



Very thought out, and to reply working backwards. I have no intention of messing with the voltage too much, if I need to raise it from say 1.25v to 1.3 inorder to maintain a stable 900/1300 mhz then thats what I'll do. So far I haven't noticed any heating issues as the DCII's heatsing and cooling system are probabbl over kill at stock settings. While granted the FPS gain at some resolutions are slight at best, overclocking still warents more performance outside of just FPS which is what I'm looking to gain.

@Dogsnake:
here in Chile, the 6970 and 6990 are not available hence the reason I bought the best 6950 I could after reading many reviews and forum posts. I'll take a look at your link as soon as I post this, and thank you for your reply with a closer time frame as to when I bought & installed my card. Also thanks for the heads up on the CCC adjustment, but I take it you didn't use MSI's afterburner to oc?
October 13, 2011 10:52:20 PM

For got to ask, If the Flash succeds, will a purchased 6970- when they become available here, work crossfired with the flashed 6950 with out down scaling?
October 14, 2011 12:20:25 PM

Dogsnake said:
Three weeks ago I unlocked the shadders on a non reference HIS 6950. So yes it is still possible to do the mod. It was done on a single card system also. Please understand that the mod. does not make a 6950 the same as a 6970. There are other differences the bios mod. cannot and will not address. I believe your card is also a non reference design.
Modding the bios is done at your own risk. There is the chance of bricking the card making it useless. It voids the warranty. Almost everyone, myself included, will advise you not to fool with it if there is not a duel bios switch. But if you insist and want to take the chance: Follow this guide using update 2 method only (ttp://www.techpowerup.com/articles/overclocking/159).
You do not want to flash to a 6970 or a reference 6950 bios (this is vital and important). You do want to use the existing bios with the shadders unlocked. This is why the update 2 method is the only one you should try.


I'll probabbly be selecting this reply as the best answer as it gave the most direct answer to my initiall question. I may have done this sooner had I seen the post sooner.

@Dogsnake: I found this guide: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1608/4/ before you had posted the techpowerup guide. its methode seems to be the same as method 2 in techpowers, but with more images to refrence.

Also I need to get a little clearification on what you've said in the post as well as from the guides. To unlock the shaders, I should use techpowerup's RBE software. First make a back up of my exsisting bios and save it. Then use RBE again, go to its last Tab and find the section that allows me to switch to 6970 shader counts. Flash the bios, restart. There are 3 possible out comes from this: A bricked card, A card with Unlocked Shaders or The card will remain as is. While the "safest" method, its still possible to brick the card because it still flashing the bios.
a b U Graphics card
October 14, 2011 2:04:54 PM

If you look as MSI after burner, you will see it does not give any additional adjustment to a 6950 when compared to the latest CCC. The voltage adjustments are locked on the 6950 and that feature is not available through MSI. Since I can achieve stable OC's beyond what I want using CCC, I saw no reason to use the other product. I did try it.
Clarification: It is always possible to brick a device when modding it. However the usual cause in this case is having an incompatible bios flashed in. By using the cards own bios with only the shadders unlocked you __almost__ eliminate this. If the card can't flash nothing changes. If it does you get the unlocked shadders with total bios compatibility. The biggest risk is that you make some error or try to change some other parameter in RBE. The process can be reversed...usualy. If the card needs to be re-flashed back to original (this is what the switched bios option was for) you would need a second working card. This is installed so the system boots to windows and then using WiFlash you flash the saved original bios back in.
You use GPUZ to make your copy, it has this feature (click the icon that looks like a chip). Use RBE on that copy to unlock the shadders. This bios become a second saved bios so now you will have an original and a modded one. Then WinFlash the modded in. I saved the two bios, WinFlash and RBE into a folder so if I get a second card toXfire I am all set to mod. it. If you mod. one you would need to mod. the second for proper xfire operation.
Hope this helps. GL and let me know in the forum how it turns out.
October 14, 2011 3:41:20 PM

I'm going to refain from Selecting a best answer as I don't want this thread to close just yet, but Dogsnake has provided me with the best answer in 2 of his 3 posts.
a b U Graphics card
October 14, 2011 5:36:41 PM

Just tom repeat and clarify, a flashed 6950 is not a 6970. If you xfire use 2 6970 or 2 6950. If one 6950 has been flashed, be sure to use the exact same card for the second and flash it also. Xfire requires a pair of identical cards. I have heard of user being xfire successful using different versions of reference design cards but why take the chance?
a b U Graphics card
October 14, 2011 5:54:10 PM

Dogsnake said:
If you look as MSI after burner, you will see it does not give any additional adjustment to a 6950 when compared to the latest CCC. The voltage adjustments are locked on the 6950 and that feature is not available through MSI. Since I can achieve stable OC's beyond what I want using CCC, I saw no reason to use the other product. I did try it.
Clarification: It is always possible to brick a device when modding it. However the usual cause in this case is having an incompatible bios flashed in. By using the cards own bios with only the shadders unlocked you __almost__ eliminate this. If the card can't flash nothing changes. If it does you get the unlocked shadders with total bios compatibility. The biggest risk is that you make some error or try to change some other parameter in RBE. The process can be reversed...usualy. If the card needs to be re-flashed back to original (this is what the switched bios option was for) you would need a second working card. This is installed so the system boots to windows and then using WiFlash you flash the saved original bios back in.
You use GPUZ to make your copy, it has this feature (click the icon that looks like a chip). Use RBE on that copy to unlock the shadders. This bios become a second saved bios so now you will have an original and a modded one. Then WinFlash the modded in. I saved the two bios, WinFlash and RBE into a folder so if I get a second card toXfire I am all set to mod. it. If you mod. one you would need to mod. the second for proper xfire operation.
Hope this helps. GL and let me know in the forum how it turns out.



In case you never seen this
http://forums.overclockersclub.com/index.php?showtopic=...

that is the guide to unlocking MSI Afterburner
allows higher OCs and unlocks voltage control if your card supports it
October 14, 2011 6:21:27 PM

Dogsnake said:
Just tom repeat and clarify, a flashed 6950 is not a 6970. If you xfire use 2 6970 or 2 6950. If one 6950 has been flashed, be sure to use the exact same card for the second and flash it also. Xfire requires a pair of identical cards. I have heard of user being xfire successful using different versions of reference design cards but why take the chance?


As it stands I can't xfire do to only having 1 pci-e slot for GPU's. Also, i was hoping I could get away with not getting another DCII for crossfire as it takes up 3 more slots for a grand total of 6 unusable slots as well as unusable pci ports :o . Along with that, Could I get a 1gb DCII and crossfire it with my 2gb DCII; I haven't researched this yet but i'm thinking results wouldn't be favorable?
a c 271 U Graphics card
October 14, 2011 6:48:05 PM

Ichy said:
If thats the case then I could use some main board recomendations. As it stands I can't xfire do to only having 1 pci-e slot for GPU's. Also, i was hoping I could get away with not getting another DCII for crossfire as it takes up 3 more slots for a grand total of 6 unusable slots as well as unusable pci ports :o . Along with that, Could I get a 1gb DCII and crossfire it with my 2gb DCII; I haven't researched this yet but i'm thinking results wouldn't be favorable?

As for the M/B recomondations. I live in Chile at the moment and the only "top" brands available are Asus, Gigabyte and MSI. I'm using asus now but have used MSI in the past. I worked for a tech company back in the day which used Gigabyte, I'd prefer not to have Gigabyte. I'd prefer asus if I could, but a 990 chip set from the manufacture isn't available here, just the 890. Although out side of being able to use the new "bulldozer" amd chips; what a sad realease that was, I don't see any real advantage over the 890.

If you want motherboard recommendations then start a thread in the motherboard section please.
October 14, 2011 6:51:04 PM

Sorry Sorry, I'll do that here shortly. Let me edit that part out of my previouse post.
a b U Graphics card
October 14, 2011 7:34:15 PM

AMD says to use to cards that are the same. A 1g card is not the same as a 2g card.
October 14, 2011 8:45:27 PM

Yeah after a quick search I found numerouse forums stating that if you do combine a 1g and 2g card, the 2g gets bottlenecked to the 1g specifications. On the upside, found that; while not recomended, it is possible to Mix brands when creating a crossfire settup. Just got to make sure that both are overclock to the same settings.
October 16, 2011 4:17:11 AM

Ichy said:
... Your attitude is unwarented. using a generic term like "a couple" signifies that it could be 2(TWO) or 3 (THREE) and usually any thing beyond this is specified with an actual number. I understand that your Card is made by sapphire and that it advertises that it has 2 bios and that it comes overclocked already to 6970 speeds. I merely wanted to point out to you that the Asus DCII models have the switch, but do not specifiy if it contains a dual bios settup, but there are claims that it does. Also, if you had read enough of my post you would have infered that I was seeking information form others that had at least the SAME brand of card I did and could at least provide a bit more information than: Yeah I unlocked my card's shaders even though it might not have worked and I didn't have to mess with overclocking as it already came pre-overclocked.


a couple is two. your parents are a couple. a few is three, generally. and several is more.
a b U Graphics card
October 16, 2011 5:42:32 PM

This thread is about over and seems to have gone off topic.
October 17, 2011 8:05:41 PM

I tend to Ignore people like that, but I do have an update.

Had about an hour or so to work on unlocking the card yesterday and gave it a shot. I downloaded all the software. Saved a copy of the stock bios to a safe location. Loaded up rbe and the Bios, checked the Radial button to switch to 6970 shaders, forced flashed the card; still in Windows 7 at this point, rebooted. Tried to load GPU-Z.. wouldn't open. figured with the bios changed RBE would show that the bios had been flashed with 6970 shaders via the radial button. Took a look, and it was still on the 6950 shaders position.

So my question is this, Did I mess up in trying to flash from RBE in windows instead of booting to DOS and using the ATI_winflash..... command?

I also left the Card's switch in position "1" as I had read else where that this was the position that held the flashable bios.

Best solution

a b U Graphics card
October 18, 2011 6:11:23 AM
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Use WinFlash to flash the bios. RBE is just an editor. WinFlash does not require a command prompt. It runs under windows. I thought all the guides and our discussions were very clear. GPUZ makes the copy to be modded and saved. RBE modifies the bios. WinFlash is used to flash the bios. Follow the guides steps and you will be ok. Don't worry about GPUZ. If the card is working you did not hurt it. So try flashing the bios as recommended. GL
October 25, 2011 11:07:56 AM

Best answer selected by ichy.
a c 271 U Graphics card
October 25, 2011 4:32:29 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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