If this card doesn't have a dual bios switch next to the crossfire connector then you're taking a big risk. You can easily make this card into a worthless paper weight.
Just keep that in mind. People like to talk big about these things when they aren't the ones spending hard earned money. I have 3x sapphire 6950s all unlocked to 6970...but those cards come with the dual switch and the bios is preloaded.
Yeah thats the thing, but theres a method to check if my card can flash, which is go to cmd, get into atiwinflash exe, and type ATIWinflash -unlockrom 0
If the card cannot flash it would give you an error, but instead it started "flashing a bios", obviously i did not put a bios in flashing, so nothing was flashed, but the process worked and no error was given
Also there is a method of putting the 6950 in the second pci slot, and a working card in the first? and flash normal bios afterwards?
I was unable to flash the BIOS using Winflash. I actually did not get any errors using Winflash, but it did nothing. Using GPU-z, though, I could tell that nothing was happening. So even if Winflash doesn't give an error code, it might not be doing anything. You might have to try ATIflash instead from a bootable USB.
I was able to flash the BIOS (to the 6970 shaders and a slight overclock) using ATIflash from a bootable USB key. However, once I did that, although I didn't brick the card, Windows did not boot properly. I had to reflash to the original BIOS and also use system restore in Windows 7 to get it to boot again.
So, I am still in the process; I'm going to try it with just a mild overclock and no unlocked shaders (which are less important anyway). Anyway, I think the risk of totally destroying your card is not high as long as you're not stupid about it. Increasing your voltages is the biggest risk.
I have a MSI6950 2frozrII 2GB. It runs @1015/1484 max @1.3volts (btw MIS AB is designed in a way you will not corrupt the card when its not overheating...so the 1.3v is not out of range for this card. 24/7 i can run 975/1450 @75-80c (volt regltr tops @84c) ...so no unlock needed...I;m already using all the juice the card can provide and in this state the HD6950 is maxed without being abused by the slighlty different 6970 bios...just by me f.e 24000 GPU score in 3d vantage and p6000+ in 3d11
I say its still a risk without the dual BIOS switch. I'd hate to brick my shiny new $250 card, then try to return it and say, "Oh no. I didn't do anything to the BIOS like those other 5000 people before me. Honest."
I flashed my reference card which I bought back when they came out. Mine is an asus card so it was also locked but it still worked w/o need of the bios switch.
Despite the slight risk in a non-reference model, i'd still say go for it.
It's more just for being able to say you have a 6970 though cause there's definitely a difference but it's not huge. The biggest difference is just sliding the power bar in ccc up all the way. it makes ur card hotter but way faster.