Wednesday, August 30th 2017

AMD RX Vega 56 to Vega 64 BIOS Flash - No Unlocked Shaders, Improved Performance

A ChipHell forum user has done what probably others have already done in relative obscurity: trying (and succeeding) to flash a Vega 64 BIOS onto a Vega 56 graphics card. The result? Well, apparently the shaders won't unlock (at least not according to our very own GPU-Z), but interestingly, performance improves all the same. The lesser amount of shaders on the Vega 56 silicon (3585 Shaders / 224 TMUs / 64 ROPs compared to Vega 64's 4096 / 256 / 64 apparently doesn't hinder performance that much. It appears that the improved clockspeeds of Vega 56 after the BIOS flash do more than enough to offset performance loss from the lesser amount of compute resources available, bumping RX Vega's clock speeds of 1471 MHz core boost clock and 800 MHz HBM2 memory up to Vega 64's 1545 MHz core boost clock and 945 MHz HBM2 clock.

This means that Vega 56 can effectively become a Vega 64 in performance (at least where 3D Mark Fire Strike is concerned), which isn't unheard of in the relationship between AMD's top tier and second-best graphics cards. Now naturally, some Vega 56 samples may even be further overclocked than Vega 64's stock clocks, which means that there is the potential for Vega 56 to have even better performance than Vega 64. The BIOS swap should allow Vega 56 to access higher power states than its stock BIOS allows, which is one of the reasons it can unlock higher core and memory clocks than an overclocked, original BIOS Vega 56 would. However, the fact that a Vega 56 at Vega 64 clocks and a Vega 64 deliver around the same score in benchmarks definitely does raise questions on how well the extra computing resources of Vega 64 are being put to use.
Sources: ChipHell, via Videocardz
Add your own comment

55 Comments on AMD RX Vega 56 to Vega 64 BIOS Flash - No Unlocked Shaders, Improved Performance

#1
Lightofhonor
In other news, overclocking makes your GPU go faster!


Possible that it does unlock and the SW isn't able to detect, but cool nonetheless. 56 can match 64 at similar clocks due to the power draw limiting 64's potential. Less shaders, less power/heat, higher average clocks.
Posted on Reply
#2
the54thvoid
Lightofhonor said:
In other news, overclocking makes your GPU go faster!


Possible that it does unlock and the SW isn't able to detect, but cool nonetheless. 56 can match 64 at similar clocks due to the power draw limiting 64's potential. Less shaders, less power/heat, higher average clocks.
Hmm.... less cores, more speed, better performance...

Sounds very familiar.

Though it would be interesting to see if it fares as well in compute favouring games. Perhaps this sort of lateral thinking would help AMD reach better power envelopes, higher clocks and faster chips in general. Ditch the 4096 core model and develop a leaner one......
Posted on Reply
#3
Lightofhonor
the54thvoid said:
Hmm.... less cores, more speed, better performance...

Sounds very familiar.

Though it would be interesting to see if it fares as well in compute favouring games. Perhaps this sort of lateral thinking would help AMD reach better power envelopes, higher clocks and faster chips in general. Ditch the 4096 core model and develop a leaner one......
Or let us disable some cores to allow for higher speeds/lower power for gaming. They have it on Threadripper.

In FSE:

11200 Graphics score
+50% power
Stock Core/1020mhz memory
630w Peak
17.8 points per watt

9740 Graphics score
-25% power
-8% core/1020mhz memory
380w Peak
25.6 points per watt


At 25.6 PPW, at 630w, we'd be at 16,128 graphics score (or 1080ti levels). Vega, like Ryzen, has a frequency wall that requires double power to cross.
Posted on Reply
#4
OSdevr
Lightofhonor said:
Possible that it does unlock and the SW isn't able to detect, but cool nonetheless.
Depending on how GPU-Z gets it's info, this seems like the most likely explanation to me. It certainly wouldn't be the first time a BIOS swap unlocked shaders.
Posted on Reply
#5
Durvelle27
This just makes the Vega 56 even more appealing and the the 64 redundant
Posted on Reply
#6
uuuaaaaaa
If you flash a fury X bios onto a fury it won't unlock the disabled shaders either. The fury bios needs to be edited. There is a table that says which CU's are disabled and this can be either software or hardware locked (the later can't be unlocked). The same may apply to the vega lineup of cards.
Posted on Reply
#7
MrGenius


What is this? How am I supposed to know what that means?



Oh...I'm not supposed to know. I'm supposed to navigate to another site for a definition. Convenient.
Posted on Reply
#8
Totally
Lightofhonor said:
In other news, overclocking makes your GPU go faster!


Possible that it does unlock and the SW isn't able to detect, but cool nonetheless. 56 can match 64 at similar clocks due to the power draw limiting 64's potential. Less shaders, less power/heat, higher average clocks.
Missing the elephant in the room, resources are not being properly managed hence a crapton of wasted power. My question now is this simply how the cards fell or was AMD aware of this and tried to hide this fact with lower clocks on th 56. Would be nice if someone test this by disabling shaders and see when performance starts to take a hit.
Posted on Reply
#9
dyonoctis
...They need better engineers at RTG, twice now, outsiders have find better ways to tweak their gpu. Now i'm wondering why vega 64 even exist ? Those cards were held back for so long, but they feel like they were rushed. the turbo mode of the 64 always felt like some Alpha bios that shouldn't have made it to the public.

I really wish that they would try and make an optimized version of GCN where we wouldn't ask ourselves where is going that additional compute power, and power draw. Simplier chip= cheaper to make = even better price/performance ratio. Vega 56 could have been their big dog, and a further cut down vega could have filled the gap between the gtx 1060 and the gtx 1070. That's where most of the money is.

With the radeon HD 4000 they were pragmatic, and that was one of their biggest hit. They need to bring that mindset back.
Posted on Reply
#10
Hood
Here we go again - Hey kids! Be the first one on you block to get AMD's Secret Decoder Ring, and it will unlock all the secrets of the universe! An ordinary pencil will allow your card to run like the more expensive model - all you have to do is join The AMD Apologists Club to receive your free copy of the graphite circuit mod - pencil in overwhelming GPU power to make all your enemies tremble with fear!
AMD must have read this book by P.T. Barnum. The sad thing is, it's working - I guess there IS a sucker born every minute...

The point is, these little "Easter eggs" that sucker people into buying their crap are on the same level as the "prize" in a Cracker Jack box that causes people to pay a dollar for 2 cents worth of stale popcorn.
Posted on Reply
#12
evernessince
Hood said:
Here we go again - Hey kids! Be the first one on you block to get AMD's Secret Decoder Ring, and it will unlock all the secrets of the universe! An ordinary pencil will allow your card to run like the more expensive model - all you have to do is join The AMD Apologists Club to receive your free copy of the graphite circuit mod - pencil in overwhelming GPU power to make all your enemies tremble with fear!
AMD must have read this book by P.T. Barnum. The sad thing is, it's working - I guess there IS a sucker born every minute...

The point is, these little "Easter eggs" that sucker people into buying their crap are on the same level as the "prize" in a Cracker Jack box that causes people to pay a dollar for 2 cents worth of stale popcorn.
Are you equating BIOS modding and overclocking to a decoder ring? That has to be the dumbest analogy I've ever seen.

Let's be straight here, the only people doing this are the .00001% of enthusiasts. It isn't advertised by AMD, it's just something fun the community does.
Posted on Reply
#13
EarthDog
Prima.Vera said:
What's your point? --^
Posted on Reply
#14
Eric3988
Cue the team Red hatred in 3...2...1..
Posted on Reply
#15
saikamaldoss
When I run 3DMark on my Vega64, I enabled msi afterburner overlay and I see the clocks running at 1300 to 1400 max... and still manages 22500 In FS.. I was under the impression that the clock speed will be 1635 as that’s the turbo speed... just like Ryzen, the turbo clock is useless on my V64.. I used Wattman tool to increase clock to 1720 and still it won’t cross 1535 in 3DMark and keeps falling back to 1300 something tho temps won’t cross 76c with max fan speed set to 2900rpm and will be running at 2866rpm
Posted on Reply
#17
Lightofhonor
Totally said:
Missing the elephant in the room, resources are not being properly managed. My question now is this simply how the cards fell or was AMD aware of this and tried to hide this fact with lower clocks on th 56. Would be nice if someone test this by disabling shaders and see when performance starts to take a hit.
Yep, if AMD could dynamically reduce the cores running to increase clock speeds when needed, that would be awesome. Kinda like with CPU's having an all core boost and a 2-4 core boost.
Posted on Reply
#18
Hood
evernessince said:
Let's be straight here, the only people doing this are the .00001% of enthusiasts
You're kidding, right? Every newbie tries this at least once, usually bricking their card. There are dozens of examples of this on TPU, hundreds over the years, and same on most similar sites. More like 5%.
Posted on Reply
#19
RejZoR
I wonder if Vega 64 BIOS ramps up the HBM2 clocks on Vega 56 and that's what attributes the biggest jump.
Posted on Reply
#20
OSdevr
Totally said:
Missing the elephant in the room, resources are not being properly managed hence a crapton of wasted power.
It may be worse than that. I just did some quick math on the clocks and shader counts. If Vega 64 was being utilized as fully as Vega 56 it should be scoring around 11,800 in Fire Strike extreme based on the shader increase. It only scores ~140 points higher. Vega 64's extra resources are practically unused!

RejZoR said:
I wonder if Vega 64 BIOS ramps up the HBM2 clocks on Vega 56 and that's what attributes the biggest jump.
This seems correct. With Vega 56 running Vega 64's BIOS there is a 10% increase in performance while the core clock is only increased by 5%. The memory clock however increases by 18%.
Posted on Reply
#21
Nabarun
Even if the 56 isn't immediately bricked, it definitely will lower the lifespan of the cards. The 64s are the creme-DE-la-creme of the chips - the 56s are not. They are not supposed to be taking it that hard. Push it and you get what you deserve.
Posted on Reply
#22
HD64G
saikamaldoss said:
When I run 3DMark on my Vega64, I enabled msi afterburner overlay and I see the clocks running at 1300 to 1400 max... and still manages 22500 In FS.. I was under the impression that the clock speed will be 1635 as that’s the turbo speed... just like Ryzen, the turbo clock is useless on my V64.. I used Wattman tool to increase clock to 1720 and still it won’t cross 1535 in 3DMark and keeps falling back to 1300 something tho temps won’t cross 76c with max fan speed set to 2900rpm and will be running at 2866rpm
Undervolting and upping the power limit will lower temps and allow much higher clocks for long time me thinks. It has been tested elsewhere and works as well as with reference RX480, offering clearly better performance.
Posted on Reply
#23
jigar2speed
Hood said:
You're kidding, right? Every newbie tries this at least once, usually bricking their card. There are dozens of examples of this on TPU, hundreds over the years, and same on most similar sites. More like 5%.
Do you ever get bored of this hatred towards AMD ? Every thread of AMD and you are throwing acid. Why can't you be just normal ?
Posted on Reply
#24
ratirt
I have seen some benchmarks and I was wondering. If you flash vega 64 bios to 56 and it works and as we can see it does. What happens with the Power consumption then? Also from what it's worth vega 56 can OC better than 64 due(my assumption would be) less cores? I wonder if the OC potential of vega 56 when flashed with bios from 64 can alter the OC potential of Vega 56 compared to it's own bios. Or it doesn't matter at all.

BTW. Does Vega 56 have 2xBIOS'es just like Vega 64?
When you flash the bios you do just one at a time?
If you flash just one and it's broken can you use other one instead and it's all good then you can do roll back to previous bios?
Posted on Reply
#25
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
ratirt said:
I have seen some benchmarks and I was wondering. If you flash vega 64 bios to 56 and it works and as we can see it does. What happens with the Power consumption then? Also from what it's worth vega 56 can OC better than 64 due(my assumption would be) less cores? I wonder if the OC potential of vega 56 when flashed with bios from 64 can alter the OC potential of Vega 56 compared to it's own bios. Or it doesn't matter at all.

BTW. Does Vega 56 have 2xBIOS'es just like Vega 64?
When you flash the bios you do just one at a time?
If you flash just one and it's broken can you use other one instead and it's all good then you can do roll back to previous bios?
Shader and tmu deficit
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment