Unlocking Radeon HD 6950 to 6970

Games, Gaming and Hardware
Having the same silicone GPU in the two cards and the fact that they are software locked lets the 6950's bios to be flashed to a 6970 to in essence have the same number of shaders, and with a clock speed increase and +20% power consumption in the CCC checked thpretically pull the same numbers.

I bought a 6950 the other week (I was already using a 6970) to unlock it and run them in crossfire but I'm still testing the flashed bios and overclock on the 6950...

Is anyone else running an unlocked 6950 that can add imput. From my observations the card isn't sustaining the rendering speeds or fps (fps only in other games, not wow) I would expect my 6970 to when I play long hours during the day and into the night. Again, anyone else have any imput?
Generally speaking, processors that are locked to a lower spec are locked because they do not meet QA standards.
I'm not running a 6950, or a 6970 HD card, But i am running a 4650 1gb XFX Overclocked to a 4670 Speeds, It might be cause it came slightly overclocked and with Pre-installed Bios+Catalyst center so it recognizes if i pushed it further( Which i did to a 675Core overclockClock/ and a 1,125 Shader before becoming unstable), From reading online i had the same problem it registering overclocks, as well as from soem of the forum, Try enabling Powerplay and putting all settings on High performance( IN-game and in CCC alike) And that should fix it so it registers overclocks.
05/03/2011 10:34 AMPosted by Ikutaba
Generally speaking, processors that are locked to a lower spec are locked because they do not meet QA standards.

It's more usually because demand for a cheaper processor is higher, and it comes out as cheaper for them to mass-produce the slightly more powerful chip rather than to split it into two production ones. They slap some with a lock and label them the lower-end chip to keep people looking for upgrades, and sell the lot.

That doesn't mean, of course, that you shouldn't do a complete burn-in after unlocking a GPU. Stress-test that baby for a good 48 hours, then you know if it's solid or not.
Nothing is wrong with the card, I have power consumption turned up and the 6950 is using the same amount of shaders as my 6970 as well as it is running the same clock speeds. If I ran bench marks right now, they would come back very VERY near the exact same (decimal points on rendering speeds and single frame differences in fps). The thing I notice is that the card doesn't seem to like being in use at these higher specs for more than about 12-15 hours straight which it should be fine with because it is, essentially, the exact same as the 6970, only locked to slower speeds, less shaders, and drawing less power.

I'm wondering if there is anyone that constantly uses an unlocked 6950 and can add some input about its performance. I can't find anyone anywhere, besides myself, who has real benchmarks or performance maps or graphs after the card has been under stress for 12-15 hours straight.
Cards and processor cores are locked because they are defective, not just to screw with the buyer.

If you unlock the unstable cores/power, you may be destroying your entire card.
A lot of the comments here are very helpful and are GENERALLY true. However, the 6950 and 6970 are different.

In the situations described above, the chips aren't capable of achieving what more expensive chips are (ex better batches of the i7 will be branded 950, while perfect batches will be branded 980 etc), however, the 6970 and the 6950 are the SAME ARCHITECTURE and have differing bios. Because of the different BIOS and specs, AIB Partners of AMD can design the board for the two differently but because of the strict regulations AMD put into the 6000 series board design, most of the designs at that level are generally the same. Changing basic settings in the 6950 can allow it to function as a 6970 because again, the ARCHITECTURE of the gpu is the same.

Here's a link discussing how to go about this:

Hope that helped :)


IMPORTANT-- KEEP IN MIND-- When flashing your BIOS for ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING, save your working version of your BIOS before going about this, when you flash to the 6970 BIOS something can ALWAYS go wrong, such as file corruption on your download etc. Make sure you save your 6950 BIOS because you can always FLASH BACK and continue on as nothing happened or try again if you wish.
While the architecture of the gpu is the same between the two cards, the ones used in the 6970 passed a Binning process that the chips used in the 6950 failed.

No manufacturer is going to bin a chip for a 6950 when it could generate more profit being sold as a 6970.

You're playing with fire.
Just like on all other similar products, AMD's two Cayman variants, called Cayman Pro and Cayman XT, are based on the exact same GPU silicon. The model variant a GPU chip becomes is decided after the die is produced, at some point before it is put on the card. Creating new SKUs from the same silicon by locking features has been common practice in the industry since at least the Radeon 9500 in 2002.

Locking features is common industry practice. The process you're referring to Nacirema is NOT what is going on with these two GPUs. What you're referring to most commonly occurs in CPUs.
Here is a great guide for flashing the 6950 to a 6970.


Way to copy the link I posted above :p
the only difference between the two is the power connectors. the 6970 has a 6-pin and an 8-pin power connectors while the 6950 has 2x 6-pin power connectors. When you increase the power draw on the 6950 to match that of a 6970, though unlikely, you risk running into problems under extreme load.

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