Tuesday, July 5th 2016

AMD 4GB Radeon RX 480 Can Be Flashed into 8GB

You've heard of unlocking shaders with BIOS mods in the past, but how about doubling the memory on your card? That's right, owners of some 4 GB Radeon RX 480 graphics cards discovered that they can unlock 4 extra gigabytes of memory on their card by simply flashing it with the BIOS of the 8 GB variant. Some early batches of 4 GB Radeon RX 480 apparently have 8 GB of memory physically, but the BIOS prevents the GPU from addressing beyond 4 GB of it. Not all cards have such a weird contraption, and so AMD is drawing you into a lottery.

Source: MyCE

UPDATE: We successfully flashed a 4 GB retail RX 480 to 8 GB and benchmarked it in our newer article.
Add your own comment

43 Comments on AMD 4GB Radeon RX 480 Can Be Flashed into 8GB

#1
Cheeseball
Hopefully people won't be blindly flashing the 8 GB BIOS just to check. All they need to do is see if the chips are physically there.
Posted on Reply
#2
Chaitanya
Cheeseball said:
Hopefully people won't be blindly flashing the 8 GB BIOS just to check. All they need to do is see if the chips are physically there.
I am pretty sure many people will do exactly that and when BIOS flash fails end up with a dud.
Posted on Reply
#3
UnversedXI
Cheeseball said:
Hopefully people won't be blindly flashing the 8 GB BIOS just to check. All they need to do is see if the chips are physically there.
Would it be warranty voiding to remove the cooler to check the memory chips though?
Posted on Reply
#4
DeathtoGnomes
Chaitanya said:
I am pretty sure many people will do exactly that and when BIOS flash fails end up with a dud.
No there will that one idiot that will post about a failure after trying.
Posted on Reply
#5
thekingxzero
No, according to Koduri on the AMA, they sent an 8GB model to reviewers with the BIOS for both, so they could test both models on the same review sample.
take from reddit
Posted on Reply
#6
Mussels
Moderprator
do these cards have the dual BIOS switch? because that would simplify things for testers
Posted on Reply
#7
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
thekingxzero said:
No, according to Koduri on the AMA, they sent an 8GB model to reviewers with the BIOS for both, so they could test both models on the same review sample.
take from reddit
MyCE cited an AIB-branded retail card owner, so this isn't limited to retail sample.

Mussels said:
do these cards have the dual BIOS switch? because that would simplify things for testers
They don't.
Posted on Reply
#8
TRWOV
Cheeseball said:
Hopefully people won't be blindly flashing the 8 GB BIOS just to check. All they need to do is see if the chips are physically there.
Both versions likely have the same amount of chips, only that the 4GB version uses 1Gb chips and the 8GB uses 2Gb chips.

I don't get why would AMD ship 8GB in 4GB cards. Are they sure they can actually access >4GB of VRAM and not just listed in GPU-Z or something?
Posted on Reply
#9
RejZoR
Well, counting VRAM chips and summing them together shouldn't be so difficult... I mean you can find out what they physically are based on text on them.
Posted on Reply
#10
the54thvoid
You could also look at it this way. Why does AMD charge more for an 8GB card when they ship the same hardware on the "4 GB" version and just hide it in the BIOS?
This would be overcharging on the 8GB part because they won't sell them (4GB) at a loss.

They ought to address this before people start fiddling with things they might not really understand.
Posted on Reply
#11
Mussels
Moderprator
it was likely a supply issue early on, that they planned to rectify later.

make 8GB only models at first, flash some to 4.
once stock on 4GB models rises/supply issues go away, make them physically different.

personally i dont see why they even shipped a 4, jump to 8 - good marketing material really.
Posted on Reply
#12
hojnikb
TRWOV said:
Both versions likely have the same amount of chips, only that the 4GB version uses 1Gb chips and the 8GB uses 2Gb chips.

I don't get why would AMD ship 8GB in 4GB cards. Are they sure they can actually access >4GB of VRAM and not just listed in GPU-Z or something?
Actually, 8GB uses 8Gbit chips, while 4GB should use 4Gbit.
Posted on Reply
#13
nienorgt
Could be a publicity stunt.
If they are desperate it might be cheaper to sell a limited number of 8GB as a 4GB than few ad spots.
They do that, leak the good news, and then profit from all the buzz it do and the flock of people who buy those cards wishing to play the lottery-ish game.
Posted on Reply
#14
buggalugs
the54thvoid said:
You could also look at it this way. Why does AMD charge more for an 8GB card when they ship the same hardware on the "4 GB" version and just hide it in the BIOS?
This would be overcharging on the 8GB part because they won't sell them (4GB) at a loss.

They ought to address this before people start fiddling with things they might not really understand.
You can ask the same question about lots of different hardware. You can ask why they charge more for Top end GPU, when the chip is exactly the same in the second best GPU, maybe with some components disabled but cost wise it should be the same. Thats how the industry works, Bigger numbers sell.

Same with memory sticks, theres less chips on high density memory but they still charge more, and sometimes a lot more. Companies rarely pass on savings, at least for the first few years.

Anyway, AMD (or whoever) will just say something like " Well some of the chips were not running up to spec so we had to disable them"

I dont think this will be possible for much longer, They probably just didnt have enough 4 GB versions so this was a quick fix but once production ramps up it wont be an issue.

Or there is a possibility AMD did it on purpose for some positive marketing. We've seen this kind of thing before, with bios updates unlocking cores or shaders or whatever.
Posted on Reply
#15
Mussels
Moderprator
buggalugs said:
You can ask the same question about lots of different hardware.
removing a piece of foam inside my headphones doubled their value, this isnt even a PC exclusive oddity. (sennheiser HD 555 to 595 mod, its seriously a piece of foam making the 555's sound worse)
Posted on Reply
#16
W1zzard
I bought a 4 GB retail version for review, it has the same memory chips as the 8 GB version and the same number of chips.
Posted on Reply
#17
Mussels
Moderprator
W1zzard said:
I bought a 4 GB retail version for review, it has the same memory chips as the 8 GB version and the same number of chips.
time to make a detailed modding guide? :D

you do take quite impressive detailed pics, which might help people ID what cards are moddable.
Posted on Reply
#18
chaosmassive
just a thought here
IF only nvidia made such things
their GTX TITAN long time ago is cannibalized by GTX 780 Ti/GTX 980 Ti
lol
Posted on Reply
#19
Ferrum Master
W1zzard said:
I bought a 4 GB retail version for review, it has the same memory chips as the 8 GB version and the same number of chips.
What are the IC names, for the clarity of things :)
Posted on Reply
#20
Absolution
Are there any confirmed reports of successful 4GB>8GB bios flashes?
Posted on Reply
#21
ensabrenoir
....this seems awesome....but.....


even to the best of us .bios flashing...even updating sometimes can be a randon an unruly beast......and there is no going back
Posted on Reply
#22
Legacy-ZA
Ooooooo, I love tweaking things like this, they are like little easter eggs. I still have my Sapphire HD6950 that I flashed to a HD6970. ^_^

I wish I could do that with an GTX1070 to enable a few extra of those disabled cores. :)
Posted on Reply
#23
Mussels
Moderprator
Legacy-ZA said:
Ooooooo, I love tweaking things like this, they are like little easter eggs. I still have my Sapphire HD6950 that I flashed to a HD6970. ^_^

I wish I could do that with an GTX1070 to enable a few extra of those disabled cores. :)
how hard was that to do, i just acquired an asus 6950 and was pondering doing that over the weekend :D
Posted on Reply
#24
Legacy-ZA
Mussels said:
how hard was that to do, i just acquired an asus 6950 and was pondering doing that over the weekend :D
Well, the reason I could do it with the Sapphire was; that it had 2x BIOS, so you can keep the original BIOS (in case something went wrong) then you flick it to the secondary switch and flash the card with the Sapphire 6970 BIOS, it was a long time ago though, I have no idea what software I used, except for Wizards GPU-Z where I made a backup of the original BIOS, just in case something went wrong. Here is a guide that W1zzard made back in the day. :)

https://www.techpowerup.com/articles/overclocking/vidcard/159
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment