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Problem Flashing BIOS on HD 6950 to Unlock Shaders

Ecotox

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#1
Ok first post :eek:....so I've just got a new VTX3D ATI Radeon HD 6950 2GB (With BIOS switch) and I've got it installed and running perfectly at stock levels.

As the card has a BIOS switch I thought I'd have a go at flashing the BIOS to unlock the shaders to the amount in a HD 6970. First let me say that I've literally spent all day (it's my day off) trawling the web and researching how to do this and I've tried everything I can find/think of to get it to work but it'd just not happening so please don't think I'm being lazy!!!

If anyone has any ideas why it's not working with my card I'd appreciate the help. Here's what I've tried so far....

  • Using the ATIWinflash GUI I always get an error about IDs not matching no matter what ROM I use.
  • Using ATIWinflash through the Command Prompt the flash always appears successful.
  • When I use any HD 6970 ROM (VTX3D, Sapphire, ASUS etc.) when I restart the computer it will not POST (just fans and lights but no beep etc.). I have to flick the BIOS switch to the 2 position and reboot.
  • When I use a modded HD 6950 ROM downloaded from the internet (just shaders unlocked) it seems to flash fine, boots ok, but when I check GPU-Z the shaders have not increased (still showing 1408 instead of 1536). Exactly the same thing happens when I use RME to create my own modded ROM from my stock ROM with the 'unlock shaders to 6970' box ticked.

Maybe I've just got a card that won't unlock and if that's the case it's not the end of the world, I'll live with it. Just want to make sure I'm not doing something wrong before I give up settle for a standard overclock.

Phenom II x4 955 3.2GHz (OC to 3.9GHz)
8GB DDR2 RAM Dual Channel 800MHz
ATI Radeon HD 6950 2GB
Corsair TX650W PSU
Antec 900 Case (5 fans)
7200 RPM 1TB Hard Drive
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Any PC Gods/Godesses out there? :respect:
 
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#2
Have you tried the BIOS Mod method?

from:http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/overclocking/vidcard/159

Update 2: Above method is only for 2 GB HD 6950 reference design cards. If you have a custom design or 1 GB card, then use RBE to modify your existing BIOS. Save the BIOS from your card, load it into RBE, enable the shader unlock option on the last tab, then flash that modified BIOS to the card instead of the one downloaded from this page.
Oops just noticed you did mention the RBE method didn't work, not sure how I missed that line, Sorry :(
 

Ecotox

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#3
No worries, thanks for taking the time to reply. Its looking like a lot of the newer 6950 cards are coming our with permanently locked shaders to stop people saving money on 6970's.
 
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#4
I can confirm what ecotox has said about the VTX3D 6950 2GB looks like maybe they are cutting the shaders at the source or maybe just need a new method.

tested every method

bios unlock shaders only - everything flashes perfect and no additional shaders unlocked in GPUZ(even re-read the bios back out of the card to check if unlocked RBE reports unlocked which it does)

flashing to any 6970 bios will result in no post (even tried the VTX3D 6970 bios) boot after switching bios is fine and after flicking back at desktop and re-reading bios 6970 bios was infact installed correctly.

ive uploaded the original bios to TPU database.


BOX Serial Number : PG1104011852 VX6950 2GBD5-2DH
 
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#5
sorry just read full thread... so that brand is one to be avoided then... i would look in wizzards direction... hopefully he can see the differance in the bios/hex code you sent...
 
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#6
tried all that before posting. if you read my post the bios flashed no problems at all, you can even re-read the bios from the card after flashing which shows the shaders should be unlocked, but they are not.

also completely powered down after flash
tried wizards script
tried patching bios with RBE
all same results.
 
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#7
ahh you beat me to it dude... if your any good with a hex editor you could try and see whats changed from the stock bios... it makes me think that maybe the switch is in the wrong position... although i wouldnt bet the family dog on it...

good luck...
 
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#8
ive brought a couple of these cards in last few weeks , i will try and flash the one from afew weeks back same model. also if the switch was in the wrong place it wouldnt flash at all, this is something new. i think they have put a stop to the 6950 unlocks, this card was delivered to suppliers afew days ago direct from VTX3D.
 
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#9
i have now fully tested the same model card i purchased on 9th. (shader unlock only ) worked perfect straight away, if you install the 6970 bios on it tho it just wont post so put that down to slower mem chips.

VTX3D 6950 2GB - VX6950 2GBD5-2DH - S/N PG1102025161 (9/4/11 arrived in stock that day) shader unlocking no problem

VTX3D 6950 2GB - VX6950 2GBD5-2DH - S/N PG1104011852 (19/4/11 arrived in stock that day) shader unlock removed.
 

datfreak

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#10
Does this mean that the newer card is impossible to unlock.??

Flashing it with a 6970 bios fails to boot and unlocking with RBE actually does not unlock it(but when i read the bios after, it say its modded by rbe and the unlock box is ticked)

just bought one, the twin fan:
View attachment 41819




i have now fully tested the same model card i purchased on 9th. (shader unlock only ) worked perfect straight away, if you install the 6970 bios on it tho it just wont post so put that down to slower mem chips.

VTX3D 6950 2GB - VX6950 2GBD5-2DH - S/N PG1102025161 (9/4/11 arrived in stock that day) shader unlocking no problem

VTX3D 6950 2GB - VX6950 2GBD5-2DH - S/N PG1104011852 (19/4/11 arrived in stock that day) shader unlock removed.
 
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#11
yea that is a VTX3D 6950, looks like as of afew days ago they have removed the shader unlock, i thought more people would have been interested.
 

W1zzard

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#12
the serial number seems to encode a date ..

PG1102025161 -> 2011 02 02

PG1104011852 -> 2011 04 01

maybe this can be useful to identify at which point the cards stopped to be moddable
 
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#13
didnt see that w1z, whats the serial datfreak,
also the 6950 that did unlock from week before wouldnt take a 6970 bios of any type i tried them all, i also flashed the un-moddable one with the bios from the moddable 6950 for testing still same thing tried every other method, flash went perfect , shaders appear unlocked in bios but none to found after.
 
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#15
looks like it mate

PG1103011905 -> 2011 03 01 that would make march?
 

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#16
Mine is PG1103006985 (dual fan) and it unlocked fine with Wizard's script, with 1536 shaders displaying in GPU-Z. I also got the problem mentioned above where I was unable to POST whenever I tried flashing using a 6970 BIOS. I tried maybe 4 before I found Wizard's script which worked fine. I was able to overclock to 880Mhz Core 1350Mhz memory and play games for many hours on end no problems whatsoever.

I could overclock the core to around perhaps 910 Mhz before the display driver would stop responding when running the 3DMark11 benchmark. So I downloaded MSI afterburner and when I unlocked voltage control and moved it from stock 1100 to 1175, I could now run the core at anywhere up to 950Mhz and successfully complete 3DMark benchmarks noting improved results at 901Mhz, 915, 930 and 950. But this is where it gets interesting. At 950Mhz I played some Civ5, Shogun TW2 and a couple of other games that are probably not particularly taxing on the GPU and no problems. So I tried Battlefield Bad Company 2, and after anywhere from about a minute or two to maybe 10 minutes, the puta would lock up and I'd have to hit the reset switch. So I tried gradually reducing the overclock every time this happened, and got back down to 6970 stock, still had the problem (I knew something was wrong here as I had previously played BC2 for long sesh's even at 6970 stocks), so reduced all the way down to 6950 stock, and still had the problem! so I uninstalled MSI afterburner, and no more problem. I've now settled back on 6970 stock (but mem still on max of 1350Mhz) and have had a few BC2 seshs of several hours and no issues at all.

I have also tried using RBE to unlock the maximum core and memory speeds using a powercolor 6970 signature as I was planning on trying a slightly higher mem clock, but that just caused PC to crash upon loading windows. I also tried changing the 4th voltage in RBE from 1.1 to 1.175 thinking I could use this instead of MSI Afterburner to get higher stable clocks using 1.175 volts, and that caused PC to fail at POST.

Anyway not the end of the world I'm more than happy with having bought a 6950 that runs at 6970 speeds and I can play everything I have at maximum detail with plenty high enough FPS, I was just hoping I could get a higher stable clock for future releases like Battlefield 3 :)
 

zefalin

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#17
about voltage it`s happening something strange.At 880/1375 1.175 voltage at some benchmarks i have issues and pc restart.But the strange is when i`m run at 880/1375 1.100 voltage stock HD 6950 i don`t have crashes restarted pc or some issues i run too much benchmarks furmark 3d mark.Why is that at stock voltage have stability at stock hd 6970 have some issues and crashes. i Have 1GB v PowerColor?
 

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#18
Zefalin, I'm not that much of a guru but I'd recommend you go through the thread Wizard started here: http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=137136

My best guess would be that powercolor has cheaped out on the voltage regulator chip or something, and it doesn't like being changed from stock voltage. Powercolor makes VTX3D, and they're both very cheap cards. I did hear somewhere that they save a few bucks by leaving some circuitry out, and that may be why you've had problems increasing voltage, and why I've had issues doing the same thing in RBE and maintaining stability whilst over-volting in MSI Afterburner? I really cant say that'd just be my best guess.
 

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#19
OK so just thought I'd clarify a coupe of things in my original post I've been PM'd a bit so obviously the interest is there, and I have done heaps of googling and not had much luck finding info on this specific VTX3D 6950 card with the dual fans. Hopefully those searching in the future will find this and it helps somewhat.

I bought the card from here: http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=193_1179&products_id=16296

I chose this card for 3 primary reasons:

  • I had read that only the 2GB version could be flashed, so it had to be 2GB model
  • I had read that all reference cards were the same so it didn't matter which version/brand you bought
  • It has the dual fans and I've had a very good experience with my previous card being a Palit GTX260 216SP with dual fans and it overclocked extraordinarily well

So I thought I was buying myself the cheapest card with superior cooling and they're all the same being reference. So what could go wrong? I did ask the guys at pccasegear whether this was a reference model before buying and they said it was. Now I'm not so sure they knew what they were talking about, as I have heard that vtx3d have been known to save a few bucks by leaving out some voltage regulator circuitry or using inferior ones or something like that. I guess this may explain why I've had issues trying to get stable clocks higher than ~890Mhz as I've had to increase voltage to do that.

I've flipped the BIOS switch so many times I'm probably wearing it out. No BIOS I've found on the net has worked at all, any sort of edit of voltages in RBE or use of another card's sig file to increase max clock speeds beyond 950/1350 has ended up requiring a re-flash. Maybe that last one was a blessing in disguise as I would have primarily been seeking to increase mem clocks a bit and I have since read that this could be a tad dangerous for no noticeable gain.

W1zzards script that I mentioned, is the one found here: http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2137760&postcount=381

Thanks again to W1zzard the guy has bought himself some serious good karma with this revelation!
 

zefalin

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#20
Zefalin, I'm not that much of a guru but I'd recommend you go through the thread Wizard started here: http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=137136

My best guess would be that powercolor has cheaped out on the voltage regulator chip or something, and it doesn't like being changed from stock voltage. Powercolor makes VTX3D, and they're both very cheap cards. I did hear somewhere that they save a few bucks by leaving some circuitry out, and that may be why you've had problems increasing voltage, and why I've had issues doing the same thing in RBE and maintaining stability whilst over-volting in MSI Afterburner? I really cant say that'd just be my best guess.
I write at one hardware forum,one guy use OCCT to look for voltage required with 6970 stock and my configuration.It`s take 450 460W power consumption my PSU is 500W.He told`s my that,when i take voltage at stock hd 6970 at 1.175 i have overdrive 12V and PSU restart.For that reason he told`s my to take more powerful PSU minimum 600W with 80+ effectivity.
 

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#22
I emailed VTX3D Technical Support for some clarification since mine won't unlock and it has a Serial No PG1105061209. Below is my question and their reply.

"It seems that some of the earlier builds of this card were able to have the number of shaders unlocked from 1408 to 1536, the same as the 6970. Has there been a change to the hardware to prevent this with the later cards? I of course understand that it is not in VTX3D''s interests to allow the sale of a more inexpensive 6950 with the potential of a 6970, however confirmation of this change from you guys would be greatly appreciated as we are only speculating. Thanks and regards."
TIME: 2011/6/7 下午 08:40:29
----------------------------------

Dear Carlos,

There is no hardware change on it; however, it is not guarantee that every card can be unlocked. And it will void the warranty if flash to other BIOS, so please do it carefully.


Best Regards,

VTX Support
 
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#24
VTX 6950 unlocking

hey troops,

well after reading this im hopefull for mines my serial numbers start with 110102 so is an early revision card. i ordered it the other day thinking i was getting a reference desig card but they sent this...im gonna try tonight..ioll keep you posted.

Gordy!