Sunday, December 26th 2010

AMD Radeon HD 6950 Can be Unlocked to HD 6970

Looks like Santa brought an extra present for us hardware enthusiasts this year. Thanks to a less secure locking method AMD's new Radeon HD 6950 can be unlocked to a full blown HD 6970 with a few mouse clicks.

As detailed in our article, you can safely perform the flashing process from within Windows. In case something goes wrong it is easier than ever to recover the card thanks to AMD's new Dual-BIOS feature.

We tested the unlock on three HD 6950 cards: one AMD engineering sample, one HIS media sample and one ASUS retail card. All of them unlocked perfectly and run at HD 6970 speeds now. More success reports are compiled into a table at the end of the modding article.
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302 Comments on AMD Radeon HD 6950 Can be Unlocked to HD 6970

#1
horik
dnihilist said:
Are you in XP or Windoze 7?
win 7
Posted on Reply
#3
CDdude55
Crazy 4 TPU!!!
razr21 said:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102914

Debating on this card......thoughts?

I want something that will definitely flash to a 6970..
I say grab it!!

We have already seen W1zzards preview of his 6950 unlocking endeavors and how easy it is to get it going as a 6970 no matter the brand., so i say go for it.;)
Posted on Reply
#4
fullinfusion
1.21 Gigawatts
Gee, I see alot changed in the 3 days I was away. I nearly shit me pants when I seen this.
Im glad I waited.

Thanks Wiz :toast:
Posted on Reply
#5
HD4870
Does the procedure void the warranty ?
Posted on Reply
#6
TurdFergasun
yup, but if you have a problem and you've backed up your stock vga bios like you should have, it shouldn't be issue re flashing to the stock bios to maintain the warranty before rma'ing.
Posted on Reply
#7
buggalugs
HD4870 said:
Does the procedure void the warranty ?
I've never been knocked back for warranty service on overclocked and bios flashed cards. As others have said reload the stock bios before you RMA though.
Posted on Reply
#8
LAN_deRf_HA
Everyone always says just change the bios back. It seems to me if you're going to rma your card it probably isn't functional.
Posted on Reply
#9
Mr.Bigglesworth
I have an unlocked 6950 and ran a series of Far Cry 2 Benches. I repeated these benches after switching to my second bios. I had some interesting results.

ASUS EAH6950 Power +20%

Far Cry 2
* Level Ranch Small
* high-quality DX10 mode
* 8x AA (Anti-aliasing)
* 16x AF (Anisotropic Filtering)
* 1600x1200
* 6 Loop Average

Bios 1 Unlocked

810/1250: 87.53
810/1375: 89.54
880/1250: 91.83
880/1375: 94.35

Bios 2 Locked(Stock)

810/1250: 87.82
810/1375: 91.29
880/1250: 90.96
880/1375: 95.16 (I ran an additional 6 loops @ 95.15)

Curios results. Does the card stay unlocked? Did the second bios some how copy the unlocked bios? As an auto backup perhaps? Aliens?

That memory sure was acting goofy...
Posted on Reply
#10
buggalugs
LAN_deRf_HA said:
Everyone always says just change the bios back. It seems to me if you're going to rma your card it probably isn't functional.
Its rare the card doesnt work at all in 2D, usually its artifacting or crashing in 3D, anyway this card has a locked default bios so its a non issue.
Posted on Reply
#11
LAN_deRf_HA
Huh? I've never encountered that outside of overclocking, my client cards always work or fail, no in between. I also don't get what you mean about the locked bios, they'll still be able to tell if the other bios was messed with.
Posted on Reply
#12
3volvedcombat
Mr.Bigglesworth said:
I have an unlocked 6950 and ran a series of Far Cry 2 Benches. I repeated these benches after switching to my second bios. I had some interesting results.

ASUS EAH6950 Power +20%

Far Cry 2
* Level Ranch Small
* high-quality DX10 mode
* 8x AA (Anti-aliasing)
* 16x AF (Anisotropic Filtering)
* 1600x1200
* 6 Loop Average

Bios 1 Unlocked

810/1250: 87.53
810/1375: 89.54
880/1250: 91.83
880/1375: 94.35

Bios 2 Locked(Stock)

810/1250: 87.82
810/1375: 91.29
880/1250: 90.96
880/1375: 95.16 (I ran an additional 6 loops @ 95.15)

Curios results. Does the card stay unlocked? Did the second bios some how copy the unlocked bios? As an auto backup perhaps? Aliens?

That memory sure was acting goofy...
Simple theory.

Farcry 2 uses physx from nvidia, so the Green cards get really nice performance from this game because all the physics is run of the gpu's massive growing amount of cores.

I think you have a potential bottle neck with your CPU because, the Far cry 2 bench is demanding a shit load from your cpu, making a bottle neck essentially for your HD 6950. Because all the physics is being run on your processor.

So your HD 6950 locked or unlocked, is ganna have same performance numbers, because of a bottle neck, which it most seems like.

It could be something else, But thats what i think is going on.
Posted on Reply
#13
Benetanegia
3volvedcombat said:
Simple theory.

Farcry 2 uses physx from nvidia, so the Green cards get really nice performance from this game because all the physics is run of the gpu's massive growing amount of cores.

I think you have a potential bottle neck with your CPU because, the Far cry 2 bench is demanding a shit load from your cpu, making a bottle neck essentially for your HD 6950. Because all the physics is being run on your processor.

So your HD 6950 locked or unlocked, is ganna have same performance numbers, because of a bottle neck, which it most seems like.

It could be something else, But thats what i think is going on.
Farcry 2 does not use PhysX...
it uses Havok running off the CPU.
Posted on Reply
#14
TurdFergasun
perhaps at 1600x1200 you're cpu limited anyway, try 2560x1440 or at least 1920x1200 with some heavier aa at the driver level. or run metro 2033.
Posted on Reply
#15
Mr.Bigglesworth
I don't really think the cpu is the bottleneck in this case. While it's noting great, it's an i5 750 @4.1 with 8gb of ddr3 1600. 16x AF is being forced via CCC.

Ran a quick series of 3D Mark 11 Performance runs before work. I only had time to run 1 loop on each setting, but, the results were a bit more encouraging.

Bios 1 Unlocked

810/1250: P4854
880/1375: P5254

Bios 2 Locked(Stock)

810/1250: P4531
880/1375: P4902

While this is a limited test set, we can see about a 7% increase from locked to unlocked @ 810/1250 & again 7% @ 880/1375 going from unlocked to locked. This small set shows about a 16% increase from a stock 6950 to a Pseudo 6970. Overclocking gained about 8%. shall we call it a 6960?

Clock for clock we are only seeing a 7% difference between the 6950 & 6970 in my morning test.... Makes me curious to see what happens with further driver improvements.

Side Note: I looked 6950 vs 6970 3D Mark 11 "P"results from half a dozen review sites and the difference was always 10.5-11% between the two cards.
Posted on Reply
#16
Tatty_One
Super Moderator
Mr.Bigglesworth said:
I don't really think the cpu is the bottleneck in this case. While it's noting great, it's an i5 750 @4.1 with 8gb of ddr3 1600. 16x AF is being forced via CCC.

Ran a quick series of 3D Mark 11 Performance runs before work. I only had time to run 1 loop on each setting, but, the results were a bit more encouraging.

Bios 1 Unlocked

810/1250: P4854
880/1375: P5254

Bios 2 Locked(Stock)

810/1250: P4531
880/1375: P4902

While this is a limited test set, we can see about a 7% increase from locked to unlocked @ 810/1250 & again 7% @ 880/1375 going from unlocked to locked. This small set shows about a 16% increase from a stock 6950 to a Pseudo 6970. Overclocking gained about 8%. shall we call it a 6960?

Clock for clock we are only seeing a 7% difference between the 6950 & 6970 in my morning test.... Makes me curious to see what happens with further driver improvements.

Side Note: I looked 6950 vs 6970 3D Mark 11 "P"results from half a dozen review sites and the difference was always 10.5-11% between the two cards.
Try 880/1250, maybe you are getting memory errors at those higher (6970) speeds...... she may be faster then.

Also, anyone know if default voltage for 3D clocks is the same on both cards/Bios???
Posted on Reply
#17
MarcusTaz
anyone have any luck with and XFX?
Posted on Reply
#18
pantherx12
Mr.Bigglesworth said:
I don't really think the cpu is the bottleneck in this case. While it's noting great, it's an i5 750 @4.1 with 8gb of ddr3 1600. 16x AF is being forced via CCC.

Ran a quick series of 3D Mark 11 Performance runs before work. I only had time to run 1 loop on each setting, but, the results were a bit more encouraging.

Bios 1 Unlocked

810/1250: P4854
880/1375: P5254

Bios 2 Locked(Stock)

810/1250: P4531
880/1375: P4902

While this is a limited test set, we can see about a 7% increase from locked to unlocked @ 810/1250 & again 7% @ 880/1375 going from unlocked to locked. This small set shows about a 16% increase from a stock 6950 to a Pseudo 6970. Overclocking gained about 8%. shall we call it a 6960?

Clock for clock we are only seeing a 7% difference between the 6950 & 6970 in my morning test.... Makes me curious to see what happens with further driver improvements.

Side Note: I looked 6950 vs 6970 3D Mark 11 "P"results from half a dozen review sites and the difference was always 10.5-11% between the two cards.
Could you try powertune at +10%?

I've seen a few people get downclocked when they enable powertune to 20+ on these unlocked 6950s.

( I think even though you get a 6970 bios the cards max power draw doesn't change, I think the card "knows" it's plugged into 2 6 pins rather than 6+6+2 and due to powertune will not draw more than 225w and as you can see here http://tpucdn.com/reviews/HIS/Radeon_HD_6970/images/power_maximum.gif 6970s can draw more than that.)
Posted on Reply
#19
Patjuh
It still has 6 6 plugs so there should be a limit I guess...
Posted on Reply
#20
W1zzard
people need to stop thinking of the pcie power specification as a limit like a brick wall

it's like the pci-sig puts a sign on the highway that says "maximum speed 120 km/h"

nothing bad happens when you go 125 km/h or 130 .. or more
Posted on Reply
#21
LAN_deRf_HA
PowerColor 23 21 1 0
Seems one is unaccounted for. Can we get the specifics on the failures? Was it solved by downclocking back to 6950 speeds or is it a problem with the unlocked shaders?
Posted on Reply
#23
TheGuruStud
razr21 said:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102914

Can I find this Sapphire cheaper anywhere else, or does anyone have any coupons I can use? Seems like this is the cheapest that I am finding.


Oh well, I should just be happy it's going to unlock and not worry about the price, right? :)
It was 292 on amazon (big difference, I know lol), but amazon's prices fluctuate rapidly b/c they're always trying to rip ppl off based on stock levels (even if they don't run out).

They were charging 450 for the 6970 at launch.
Posted on Reply
#24
horik
After changing the bios,i cant find a way to OC the card more than 50 mhz,the screen just freezes when i run tests,so im stuck at the stock speeds of an 6970...any ideas¿
Posted on Reply
#25
TheGuruStud
horik said:
After changing the bios,i cant find a way to OC the card more than 50 mhz,the screen just freezes when i run tests,so im stuck at the stock speeds of an 6970...any ideas¿
More voltage required, I guess. Might just be a bad chip. And did you do the +20%?
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