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Radeon HD 6950 Into a 6970 With a BIOS Hack

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 77 comments

Free performance!

AMD's freshly released Radeon HD 6950 and 6970 are the new leaders for the chipmaker's graphics offerings.

Interestingly, both graphics parts are based off of the same Cayman core. We're not talking about just the same underlying technology, but apparently the cores are the same in both graphics parts. The only difference is the software that's flashed on the BIOS.

It turns out that those who have a Radeon HD 6950 can simply reflash their graphics card BIOS to enable those dormant parts of the GPU.

The process is outlined by TechPowerUp, so click through to check out how to unleash more power out of the Radeon HD 6950.

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  • 17 Hide
    zackh411 , December 28, 2010 7:52 PM
    Its not a fail, its just chip binning. Unlock at your own risk, there is a reason the chip in your 6950 went into a 6950 and not into a 6970.
  • 13 Hide
    Harby , December 28, 2010 7:50 PM
    borisof007AMD Fail, isn't the first time this happened. Anyone remember the triple core into a quad core a while back?


    You're clearly not old enough to remember ATIs 9800GTs into XTs BIOS mods.
    Plus, what's the fail about it? Did you maybe buy a 6970 and now you feel cheated out of 70 bucks?
  • 12 Hide
    nevertell , December 28, 2010 10:33 PM
    This is not fail. It's a marketing WIN!
Other Comments
  • 6 Hide
    stingstang , December 28, 2010 7:39 PM
    It would explain why their prices are so close to each other. This really is a fantastic breakthrough, until the new drivers stop allowing this.
  • 1 Hide
    scook9 , December 28, 2010 7:45 PM
    this used to work on nvidia cards too, now they laser cuts the SPs to prevent it
  • 3 Hide
    rmmil978 , December 28, 2010 7:49 PM
    scook9this used to work on nvidia cards too, now they laser cuts the SPs to prevent it


    It still works on some GTX 465s, that's a pretty new card.
  • 13 Hide
    Harby , December 28, 2010 7:50 PM
    borisof007AMD Fail, isn't the first time this happened. Anyone remember the triple core into a quad core a while back?


    You're clearly not old enough to remember ATIs 9800GTs into XTs BIOS mods.
    Plus, what's the fail about it? Did you maybe buy a 6970 and now you feel cheated out of 70 bucks?
  • 17 Hide
    zackh411 , December 28, 2010 7:52 PM
    Its not a fail, its just chip binning. Unlock at your own risk, there is a reason the chip in your 6950 went into a 6950 and not into a 6970.
  • 2 Hide
    9450392956 , December 28, 2010 7:57 PM
    Whoa cool....
    Getting a HD 6970 at lower price
  • 7 Hide
    tmk221 , December 28, 2010 8:00 PM
    Quote:
    Unlock at your own risk, there is a reason the chip in your 6950 went into a 6950 and not into a 6970


    you don't risk much since 69xx series has double bios ;D one that you can change and one pernament.

    I wonder why they made it so easy to mode that card...
  • -9 Hide
    borisof007 , December 28, 2010 8:06 PM
    HarbyYou're clearly not old enough to remember ATIs 9800GTs into XTs BIOS mods.Plus, what's the fail about it? Did you maybe buy a 6970 and now you feel cheated out of 70 bucks?


    I'm not aware of the 9800 GT XT issue, and my first PC had a TNT2. I just never heard of that. And the fail about it is that AMD is going to lose money, and face, over the fact that 2 products within the last 2 years have had simple BIOS bypasses to make them equal to their superior products that they sell.

    Who would buy a regular dodge avenger over a charger if you could simply update the ECM in the car and all of a sudden gain a whole bunch of horespower? Same difference.

    Additionally, I'm quite happy with my GTX285. I just think that AMD would have learned its lesson the first time
  • 0 Hide
    apache_lives , December 28, 2010 8:16 PM
    HarbyYou're clearly not old enough to remember ATIs 9800GTs into XTs BIOS mods.Plus, what's the fail about it? Did you maybe buy a 6970 and now you feel cheated out of 70 bucks?


    9500 (not 9550) softmod to 9700?
  • 7 Hide
    randerson , December 28, 2010 8:28 PM
    Chip Binning is not a fail. The chips on the 6950 might not have passed their quality control for a reason. Although at the end of the original article it seems that most will unlock without any problems
  • 6 Hide
    warmon6 , December 28, 2010 8:39 PM
    borisof007AMD Fail, isn't the first time this happened. Anyone remember the triple core into a quad core a while back?


    You need to visit the forums more often my good friend. :p  That thing still going on as we speak.

    AM3 Smeprons and be unlocked to dual cores

    Athlon II x3 can be unlocked to x4's

    Phenom II x2/x3 and be unlocked to x4's

    Phenom II x4 xxxT can be unlocked to x6's (although these X4 T's are OEM cpu's last i checked.)

    It's really not a fail to have hardware unlocked to something better. It in fact has turned into more of a selling point.

    Although as we all mentioned on the forums, unlocking a cpu is not going to happen. If you bought something like a tri-core cpu, you should expect it to run as such and think of it as a bonus if it does unlock.

    borisof007It is a fail when there's no countermeasures put in place by AMD to stop this sort of thing. Regardless of whether the chip itself was binned to be a 6950 over a 6970. This happened before with their CPU's, and it just seems like they don't care enough to do anything about it, or they didn't invest enough time/money to prevent this sort of thing from happening.


    Oh amd has tried to prevent but i think they given up on such as everyone (including motherboard makers) have fought back.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/gigabyte-motherboard-amd-phenom-cpu,8015.html

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=AMD+blocks+core+unlocking

    Another reason why they probably dont appear to being doing anything about it, Have you though about whats going to be coming Sometime mid next year?

    Bulldozer. Maybe there wont be unlockable cores as it is an cpu thats been changed around that cores aren't like what we know of them now.



    But anyways, why keep on getting on AMD back about this stuff. Intel and Nvidia does this as well.

    GTX 465 into GTX 470

    Pentium Gxxx into a core i3 via buying some card for a paticular brand (like gateway) at best buy or something the nature of.

    Those 2 are the most recent "Unlocking in someway to get better performance" from them. Everyone does this.
  • 7 Hide
    liveonc , December 28, 2010 8:47 PM
    tmk221you don't risk much since 69xx series has double bios ;D one that you can change and one pernament. I wonder why they made it so easy to mode that card...

    Good for customers, good for sales, at your own risk, not even risky, but might not work. The reverse strategy of Nvidia annoying people to promote sales... ;-)
  • 5 Hide
    mariushm , December 28, 2010 8:47 PM
    boris: It's not a fail if they did it on purpose and someone maybe "leaked" the rumor to techpowerup

    It was already announced and rumored before the cards were even launched that 6950 will be in limited number, because the chips turned out much better than they expected so they could make lots of 6970 from them.

    AMD makes a good profit from both so rather than have people buy nVidia (close to the price of the 6970) why not sell them 6950 and gain market share/money?
  • 5 Hide
    silky salamandr , December 28, 2010 9:11 PM
    The 6970 has a 6 and an 8 pin connector and the other one has just two 6 pins. The 6970 has faster memory I believe. I really hope people dont think that theyre getting something for nothing.

    I wouldnt be suprised that in 2 weeks after this wave of getting something for free there might be alot of dead cards.

    Not hating at all but theres a reason that chips are binned because they couldnt make it. Im sure that AMD is re-advising thier rma guidelines as we speak.
  • 2 Hide
    edilee , December 28, 2010 9:40 PM
    borisof007AMD Fail, isn't the first time this happened. Anyone remember the triple core into a quad core a while back?

    The 4th core on those were disabled because they were faulty...it wasn't a trick it allowed them to sell the product. Enabling that disabled core could be done easily but results varied I am sure. Selling one product under several different models is practiced in more hardware areas than most are aware of...CPU's is another area it is done. They stamp them out and the ones able to handle higher clock speeds and be stable are sold as the higher end product. Come on folks this has been done for years.

    Flashing the BIOS on video cards voids the warranty but it is a good option if you gain a little performance.
  • 6 Hide
    cronik93 , December 28, 2010 9:40 PM
    borisof007AMD Fail, isn't the first time this happened. Anyone remember the triple core into a quad core a while back?



    This is such a stupid comment^ If you weren't so damn ignorant you would know that the CPU's were designed like that for a purpose and reason. I mean come on...AMD was advertising the core-unlocking features like a rabid dog for crying out loud...
  • 1 Hide
    jerreece , December 28, 2010 9:42 PM
    borisof007AMD Fail, isn't the first time this happened. Anyone remember the triple core into a quad core a while back?


    Yeah but that didn't always work. The question will be whether the 6950 ALWAYS converts to a 6970 or not. If they just disabled cores just to sell it as a lesser product, versus because some cores were funky.
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