TechSpot

Radeon HD 6950 can be hacked into a 6970 with BIOS flash

By Jos
Dec 27, 2010
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  1. Just a couple of weeks ago AMD officially launched the new Cayman-based Radeon 6970 and 6950 graphics cards as part of their high-end, enthusiast level lineup. Both products are built on the exact same 40nm GPU silicon and are equipped with 2GB of GDDR5 memory as well as 256-bit bus. But differences in shader count and clock frequencies set these two into their own price and performance bracket -- $300 vs. $370 and a around a 10-16% performance margin.

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  2. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 955   +49

    Considering the lukewarm results compared to the hype that surrounded the the 6970, what is essentially a $70 cheaper 6970 makes the series far more palatable. You essentially go from being $20 more expensive yet similar performance card compared to the GTX570 to $50 cheaper similar performance card, which, aside from the reported and tested temperatures (and hitting the PowerTune limit sooner) makes it better in terms of price to performance.

    Considering how there are now BIOS tweaks built into some motherboards to unlock closed cores for AMD processors, there probably won't be an immediate or drastic response by AMD.
  3. bushwhacker

    bushwhacker TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,086

    I was checking out the new specs of 6950 and 6970, and this, again, turned me off about the thermal management... Lots of features are tightly packed in there and they're looking good on the benchmarking results, but man, I wish that Nvidia and ATI could put their mouths in where they are supposed to be focusing on the low-power, low-heat video cards, like they instated in the medias.

    Is it the right time to focus on the thermal and energy management on the card instead of making the gaming cards so awesome and hot?
  4. princeton

    princeton TS Addict Posts: 1,716

    Problem is that voids your warranty. XFX holds a good amount of ati users because of the lifetime warranty. But for the adventurous this is nothing short of awesome.

    Also you can guarantee this is only temporary. ATi needs the money from people buying high end chips, and I don't think they want to pull another Phenom II 555 again.
  5. cyriene

    cyriene TS Rookie Posts: 31

    I have 2 xfx 6950s on the way, can't wait to try this out!
  6. princeton

    princeton TS Addict Posts: 1,716

    Then you just saved $140 :p. You honestly don't care about the XFX warranty?
  7. Nima304

    Nima304 TS Enthusiast Posts: 293   +31

    Nice way to save $70.00. I can't wait for the person who bought four 6950s to jump for joy in here, or the person who bought four 6970s to FUUUU.
  8. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +98

    The saving for me is around £150 over the price of 3x HD6970's, with a few pennies more (£75 roughly) I could have a 4th HD6950 - Or use the change to put towards other hardware needing purchasing too.

    As for the warranty, I couldn't care less in all honesty. In my experiences of GPUs, they either don't work when they arrive, or they work fine (and touch wood), to this day I'm yet to have a single GPU fail for any reason. I'd be prepared to take the risk personally, as long as every one of the retail GPUs could be definitely flashed to that of a HD6970, and no issues are noted in the next couple of months about those having does this BIOS tweak.
  9. edison5do

    edison5do TS Rookie Posts: 239

    I've been unlucky with the AMC CPU core unlock... I hope this GPU's unlock more wideably.
  10. Mizzou

    Mizzou TS Enthusiast Posts: 930

    Good news for 6950 owners but bad news for 6970 sales. You would have to believe that AMD will try to close this loophole pretty quickly.
  11. DokkRokken

    DokkRokken TS Rookie Posts: 275

    Like many 555 buyers, I'm sure there will be plenty of 6950 use rs who will be unsuccessful with this, or run into issues. I just hope that unlike many 555 buyers, those with the 6950's will be happy with that card's level of standard performance, as opposed to the people expecting to get two free cores, and then complaining it's all AMD's fault they got 'ripped off.'
     
  12. cyriene

    cyriene TS Rookie Posts: 31

    Well, if something happens I could always flash back the original BIOS. And with the dual BIOS flashing with basically be ***** proof. But really, I haven't had to rma many computer parts at all. I always see people on tech sites rmaing all the time so I don't know what they are doing wrong. (I currently have 9 computers so I have a lot of parts too, lol)

    And aside from that, I'll be water cooling anyway so removing the stock fan and installing my blocks voids the warranty as well.
  13. Have any of you guys read the reviews on this cards???

    If anything happends I will flash back????

    WHY??

    you just need to hit the switch on the card to load up the stock unwritable bios!
  14. What is the 7 and 8 plug used for on the 6970. The 6950 uses two 6-pin rails and the 6970 uses a 6 and 8 rail config. Is this a problem in flashing the 6950 to a 6970. And if not, why not?
  15. If you do some more research you will see that a 6970 is still better then a flashed 6950 because 6970 has at least two superior essential onboard components. First, the 6970 carries 6-pin + 8-pin connectors instead of the dual 6-pin connectors attached on the 6950 (300w vs 225w according to ATX specifications) Also, the 6970 has Hynix H5GQ2H24MFR R0C memory chips rated at 6000 Mhz running at 5500 Mhz stock while the 6950 has Hynix H5GQ2H24MFR T2C chips rated at only 5000 Mhz running at 5000 Mhz stock. Check out xbitlabs review to see the different chips.

    So even after successfully flashing the 6950, you may still have to lower the memory clocks to have artifact free rendering. Dual 6-pin connectors instead of 6-pin + 8-pin connectors will possibly cause problems under extreme power draw scenarios (exceeding 225w) and nullify any overclocking potential let alone getting any benefit from voltage increase (which 6970 owners will easily enjoy, overclocking to an even higher level).


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