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Problem with 6950 PCS++ "Flashing"

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#1
Hello everyone,

First of all, this will be my first post / call for help here, so please don't go harsh on me :)

I recently bought a Powercolor 6950 PCS++ GPU. I've read from several different sources that it's 2nd BIOS has a natural 6970 unlock by itself (both as in shader count and clock speed). So I was eager to try it out, flicked my bios switch to the other position and booted the PC.

I downloaded the latest version of GPU-Z from techpowerup, and opened it to find out that it also had 1400~ shaders and 800mhz clock speed. I shut down the computer, flicked the switch to the other bios, checked GPU-Z again: still the same.

So basically, both of the bioses in my GPU are essentially the same. I tried to flash it myself with the regular method, followed the guide here, however Winflash gave me the error "subsystem IDs mismatch".

I tried to unlock the rom using command prompt, then the flashing worked. However, when I booted up my PC, nothing happened, the monitor didn't get signal, and weirdly my mouse and keyboard didn't "light up" aswell (I assume this is called as "bricking" the BIOS). I booted up my system from backup bios, and resetted the bricked one using the techniques found in the same guide above.

Finally, I'm still using the 6950 shader count and clock speed.

If you've read everything I've described above, firstly I want to thank you. Yet, I have a few questions about all these:

1- What was the reason of "subsystem IDs mismatch" in the first place? Does my GPU have a different "subsystem ID" (whatever that is) because it's a modded GPU (PCS++ thing)?

2- After unlocking the rom manually and flashing the card, was the reason of my system not booting really the GPU bios? It just felt like a power supply problem (even though there is no reason why it should be so)

3- If another 6950 PCS++ owner gave me their second bios, ie. the 6970 one, can I successfully flash one of my bioses to that? If so, please someone PM me with their stock 6950 PCS++ 2nd bios (the 6970 one).

Thank you!
 
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#2
BIOS unlocking of the Extra Shader cores were only able to be done with the Reference 6950 2gb models.....as far as I know...and even then it wasn't guaranteed to work....I think your stuck with a 6950 which is a very good GFX card..
 
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#3
BIOS unlocking of the Extra Shader cores were only able to be done with the Reference 6950 2gb models.....as far as I know...and even then it wasn't guaranteed to work....I think your stuck with a 6950 which is a very good GFX card..
Thanks for the answer and fast response :)

However, my PCS++ should have had a 6970 shader+clock speed in its second bios, yet mine did not.

I assume if someone with that working bios gave me theirs, I could make it work.

Cheers
 
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#4
Nope... only test sample that was sent to review had HD6970 bios. The cards in shops does not have unlocking ability.
 
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#5
Nope... only test sample that was sent to review had HD6970 bios. The cards in shops does not have unlocking ability.
In that case I'll have to give up :/

Why didn't I see this anywhere though? And I was pretty sure I've read user comments which stated they were using it as 6970...
 

Kai Hohiro

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#6
I just ran into the same problem and have to admit I feel pretty scammed. The PCS++ got rave reviews everywhere because of that switch and the ability to unlock to a 6970.
Instead you paid for a switch that slightly increases the clock speeds, which you could've done with other cards at a lower price.

Guess nothing to be done but pack up and return it and never buy a Powercolor product again. Which is a shame because until now I was never disappointed by any of their cards.
 
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#7
Its not their fault you should haved informed yourself better.
 

Kai Hohiro

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#8
Its not their fault you should haved informed yourself better.
I'm sorry, but I read dozens of reviews about this card from several very good hardware sites and none of them said "please note this is only for our test cards and this wont apply in the real world". There were several statements by the company that the card would have this capability. And they said the lifespan of the card was limited due to ATI locking down the 6950s.

So please tell me how the hell I should have known?
I mean there's a huge difference between giving testers the pick of the crop, or giving them hardware with entirely different features than what it has in retail.
 

omergurlek

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#9
I'm sorry, but I read dozens of reviews about this card from several very good hardware sites and none of them said "please note this is only for our test cards and this wont apply in the real world". There were several statements by the company that the card would have this capability. And they said the lifespan of the card was limited due to ATI locking down the 6950s.

So please tell me how the hell I should have known?
I mean there's a huge difference between giving testers the pick of the crop, or giving them hardware with entirely different features than what it has in retail.
Actually, the first batch of the cards had 6970 bios aswell as I figured out. A few people sent me their factory 2nd bios which is the 6970 one, with all the shaders unlocked etc. however it still didn't work on mine. I guess the newer versions can't be unlocked.
 

Kai Hohiro

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#10
Actually, the first batch of the cards had 6970 bios aswell as I figured out. A few people sent me their factory 2nd bios which is the 6970 one, with all the shaders unlocked etc. however it still didn't work on mine. I guess the newer versions can't be unlocked.
On ALL PCS++ the 2nd BIOS is a 6970 BIOS, even the one I have and if you still had your original one I bet it would say 6970 too.
But like the guys said the shader unlocking was only possible on test samples.
 
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#11
*Just Saying*

When I found out that that the 6950's could be unlocked it was here on TPU but it also said it was only First Batch REFERENCE CARDS that could be unlocked...Well I got a second batch Reference Card and it still unlocked but as far as I know the ONLY cards other than the samples that were sent out to be tested that could be UNLOCKED were Reference Cards....
 

omergurlek

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#12
Yet we are talking about the PCS++ model, and every review says the 2nd bios has unlocked shaders by default. Also, people with the card sent me their bios aswell as stating it shows 1536 Shaders in GPUZ.
 

Undead46

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#13
They're not going to sell a product they can't guarantee stability across the boards, considering not all 6950s had the ability to be overclocked.

The 6950 is still a great card, you should try unlocking it the old fashion way though.
 

omergurlek

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#14
They're not going to sell a product they can't guarantee stability across the boards, considering not all 6950s had the ability to be overclocked.

The 6950 is still a great card, you should try unlocking it the old fashion way though.
I tried ofcourse and it didn't work, as explained in detail above. The default 6950 PCS++ 6970 bios didn't work aswell.
 

eKeR

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#15
hi,

someone can send me the 6970 bios for this card?
maybe someone has unlocked shaders.
thanks

sorry I use a translator
 
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#16
Guys, all review samples are unlockable. On one review in polish website, there is Asus HD6950 DirectCu II that unlocks:
http://pclab.pl/art44837-8.html

As far as I know it is far from reference and as far as I know it is not unlockable in real life! If you see review that says "its unlockable" --> you buy the card. It's pure marketing trick.
 

omergurlek

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#17
Guys, all review samples are unlockable. On one review in polish website, there is Asus HD6950 DirectCu II that unlocks:
http://pclab.pl/art44837-8.html

As far as I know it is far from reference and as far as I know it is not unlockable in real life! If you see review that says "its unlockable" --> you buy the card. It's pure marketing trick.
You guys dont understand. Theyre not unlockable, theyre unlocked by DEFAULT. Yet mine was not.
 
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#18

Undead46

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#19
Go unlock it yourself, is what I'm saying.

Flip the switch to "1" position, open cmd prompt as administrator, run the bios install command lines for 6970 bios, then restart.

Walla!
 

Kai Hohiro

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#20
From techpowerup review
This little switch is present on the HD 6950 reference design too. Originally it was designed to provide a way to restore the card in case of a bad BIOS flash. PowerColor has changed this somewhat. When you set the switch to the "backup BIOS" position, the card will use a special BIOS that ENABLES ALL SHADERS and sets clock speeds of 880 MHz core and 1250 MHz memory for a nice performance boost.
EVERY single review of the card you can find states this. This is why it's a different story than with other cards, since this is the big feature that got this card so many awards in the first place.
This card has a billion Gold, recommended, performance etc awards, because of this.

Yet none of this applies to retail. How is this not a bait and switch?

Basically you pay an additional $40 over the regular PowerColor HD 6950 2gb for NOTHING(it even has the same cooler afaik) aside of the dual BIOS feature.
 
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Kai Hohiro

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#21
Go unlock it yourself, is what I'm saying.

Flip the switch to "1" position, open cmd prompt as administrator, run the bios install command lines for 6970 bios, then restart.

Walla!
That's the point it's NOT possible on this card, you cannot unlock the shaders at all, not via the switch, not via manually flashing the BIOS with a custom or self written one, there is NO way(the second BIOS is actually a 6970 BIOS fyi, but the shaders are not present).

So actually I rectify my last post, this card costs $40 more and is actually worse than the vanilla Powercolor 6950 2gb, since usually the ones that are currently sold can still be unlocked.
 
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#22
@Kai Hohiro
Welcome to the real life. This practice is always a good bait for customers. In the shop, that I am working, sometimes we get Engineering Sample of some products. They are always a bit better than final product. Reviewers got bait, wrote a good review and a final product appear to be failure. That's how the business goes!
 

Kai Hohiro

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#23
@Kai Hohiro
Welcome to the real life. This practice is always a good bait for customers. In the shop, that I am working, sometimes we get Engineering Sample of some products. They are always a bit better than final product. Reviewers got bait, wrote a good review and a final product appear to be failure. That's how the business goes!
As I said, that's not how it works. There's a difference between between sending for example a cherry picked monitor with 0 pixel errors for a review, or HW that can be OCed better, vs slashing an entire feature from the real product that garnered this card so much interest and accolades in the first place. This would be like the x4 955 having 3.6GHz default clock speed in test reviews, but suddenly in retail only having 3.2 GHz default.

We people in the real world call this bad business practice. And charging people an additional $40 just for what amounts to a second bios is plain cheeky. In terms of PC hardware I can't say I've ever experienced anything like this in the past decade.
 
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#24
I agree that, if, your cards are not doing what was advertised then they are faulty or ???.
Either way, you should be given what you paid for or get a refund... IMO.

If your cards are not un-locking the shaders, then call/e-mail:

Tech Support over at Powercolor for RMA or replacement. And, if that does not work...
E-mail Ted Chen, CEO of TUL Corporation and tell him of your dis-pleasure and send a copy of the news release, asking, where are my un-locked shaders?!?

If, that doesn't get the problem fixed the, contact your State Attorney General's office(if in the US) and file a false advertising suite against them.
Or, file in small claims court.

They did advertise on their site that (quote from their site)... "The PCS++ HD6950 allows unlocking of shaders allowing extra performance"

PDF of news release.

Goodluck to you.

Disclaimer: This is in no way legal advice, just opinion of what I might do.:)
 

Kai Hohiro

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#25
Thanks for the helpful response. Glad someone finally understands that this isn't about people being upset that their cards dont OC as high as test boards, but that an actual advertised feature was silently slashed.

I did contact them and sent them GPU-Z readouts, but still waiting for any response.