Sunday, December 11th 2016

AMD's RX 460 Unlocked - BIOS Update Liberates 8 TMUs, 128 Stream Processors

Overclocking.guide's der8auer has recently posted a story regarding the recently discovered ability to "liberate" AMD's RX 460's shaders - from the Polaris 11 architecture's stock 896 shaders / 56 TMUs to a grand total of 1024 stream processors and 64 TMUs. We did some quick testing and found the mod to be working as promised.

The process is straightforward enough. First, make sure to grab TechPowerUp's own GPU-Z, and save a copy of your original BIOS by clicking the arrow next to the "BIOS Version" field, so you have a fallback in case things go wrong. Then, follow the source link towards overclocking.guide's RX 460 tested BIOSes (currently only for the ASUS STRIX O4G and the Sapphire Nitro 4G), and download the appropriate one. Then run "flash unlocked bios.bat" to flash the BIOS, and in about 15 seconds, the process should be complete, granting you about 10% of extra performance. In our own testing, using the power testing setup we use in graphics cards reviews, we saw a 4 W increase in peak power consumption.
The unlock is currently only tested on 4 GB versions of the RX 460, but considering the only difference stands in the memory amount, no reason should exist for those not to be (eventually) unlocked as well. Due to AMD's newfound interest in verifying modded BIOSes (on Polaris architecture cards) with their latest ReLive driver release, it is hard to say whether or not this might pose a problem for your driver installations in the future. For the time being, and in our own testing, attempting to run AMD's Crimson ReLive netted us a negative response, with the failed hash check leaving us only with the default display driver being loaded. This went away with AMD's previous 16.11.5 driver suite, so take care if you have the Crimson ReLive driver software suite installed on your system.
The fact that this is even possible also begs the question as to why is it so - are the yields not good enough on the RX 460 chips that AMD is being forced to "lock" portions of a higher-end chip? I would wager this isn't likely, since Polaris 11 "Baffin" is such a small chip already that yield issues shouldn't have such effects. Most likely, we'd guess that AMD is re-purposing the mobile versions of the RX 480 (RX 480M, with some now suspicious-looking 1024 stream processors) that haven't passed power requirements for the 35 W those are rated at - but which surely correctly function at the RX 460's "up to 75 W" TDP. That might mean that AMD designed the original "Baffin" with 1024 stream processors for mobile devices, and carved the RX 460 as a way to recycle eventual defective dies that would surface for that particular SKU, not passing certification. But yields being better than expected, and demand for RX 460 cards outweighing the defective chips' output, AMD was forced to soft lock the extra stream processors on the "Baffin" SKU to satisfy demands.

Source: Overclocking.guide, Thanks qubit!
Add your own comment

20 Comments on AMD's RX 460 Unlocked - BIOS Update Liberates 8 TMUs, 128 Stream Processors

#1
Midland Dog
compare to the GTX 960 coz they have similar core config
Posted on Reply
#2
TheinsanegamerN
A 7-8% increase in performance for a 2-3 watt higher TDP seems like a great tradeoff. Wonder why they didnt sell just that as the 460, and the cut down 460 for the mobile chip.
Posted on Reply
#4
ShurikN
Is the unlocked one the same as the one Apple got?
Posted on Reply
#5
owen10578
ShurikN said:
Is the unlocked one the same as the one Apple got?
Yea that's what I thought too. Their Pro 460 is 1024 cores and I thought "it cant be a super locked down Polaris 10 can it?" now it all makes sense.
Posted on Reply
#6
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
ShurikN said:
Is the unlocked one the same as the one Apple got?
Yes, but clocked higher the MBP is only at 900mhz
Posted on Reply
#7
ShurikN
cdawall said:
Yes, but clocked higher the MBP is only at 900mhz
I've read that the MBP has a lot of issues with heat, especially with an i7, so that might be why.
Posted on Reply
#8
owen10578
ShurikN said:
I've read that the MBP has a lot of issues with heat, especially with an i7, so that might be why.
That's what apple gets for prioritizing thinness and quietness when no one gives a shit.
Posted on Reply
#9
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
ShurikN said:
I've read that the MBP has a lot of issues with heat, especially with an i7, so that might be why.
Oh I'm sure. They all throttle heavy so I'm not surprised
Posted on Reply
#10
cryohellinc
Any bios around for gtx 1080 into Titan P? :P
Posted on Reply
#12
TheDeeGee
What's the point if you're still gonna have a console 30 FPS experience? o_O
Posted on Reply
#13
Dj-ElectriC
Member when GPU overclocking mattered? I member, CGN 1.0 members
Posted on Reply
#14
Assimilator
10% free performance is nice, but not particularly useful on a card this slow. Now it's "only" 50% slower than the RX 470 and not 60%.... hardly something to write home about.
Posted on Reply
#15
Steevo
Assimilator said:
10% free performance is nice, but not particularly useful on a card this slow. Now it's "only" 50% slower than the RX 470 and not 60%.... hardly something to write home about.
People playing minecraft and other lightweight games will appreciate it, plus the ability to overclock, plus its free and something to do...... but I guess to you its kinda how I feel about your posts in AMD themed threads...... why, do you have nothing better to do?
Posted on Reply
#16
wiak
now we have to start to wonder, do RX 480 really have 2304 gcn coress
Posted on Reply
#17
prtskg
Assimilator said:
10% free performance is nice, but not particularly useful on a card this slow. Now it's "only" 50% slower than the RX 470 and not 60%.... hardly something to write home about.
You should think from the point of view of those who have this card. Extra performance for free will be welcomed by them.
Posted on Reply
#18
TheinsanegamerN
wiak said:
now we have to start to wonder, do RX 480 really have 2304 gcn coress
Yes. It was known ahead of launch that the 480 was the full polaris 10 die, and that the 460 was a cut down polaris 11 die. The rumor that the full polaris 10 was a 2560 core part was put down months ago.
Posted on Reply
#19
owen10578
TheinsanegamerN said:
Yes. It was known ahead of launch that the 480 was the full polaris 10 die, and that the 460 was a cut down polaris 11 die. The rumor that the full polaris 10 was a 2560 core part was put down months ago.
Never heard that the 460 was a cut down polaris 11...
Posted on Reply
#20
kruk
owen10578 said:
Never heard that the 460 was a cut down polaris 11...
Until the RX460 was officially revealed, everybody thought it was the full Polaris 11 chip with 16 CUs, probably because it was written on the June slides from AMD.



The card also was also really short on the pictures and had a tiny cooler.

Everybody was probably expecting a 2.5 times of HD 7750 power at sub 50 W, but instead we got huge cards with dual fans, some even had additional power connectors, and additionally they weren't meeting the speed expectations.

And now it's revealed that some of these cards might run flawlessly with full power, but instead of releasing them as RX 465 and pushing the price of RX 460 down, they cut them. Really disappointing ...
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment