Radeon HD 6950 to 6970 BIOS Flash Guide

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If you are looking to get a little "something-for-nothing" and you aren't afraid of flashing the BIOS on your video card, Legit Reviews has put together a Radeon HD 6950 to 6970 BIOS flash guide to help you out.

Upgrading the AMD Radeon HD 6950 graphics to a Radeon HD 6950 proved to be an enlightening experience. Testing the same card with multiple levels of shaders, core speeds and memory frequencies showed exactly how each of these things can have an effect in different ways. The largest gains came from completely unlocking the potential of the Radeon HD 6950 by fully flashing the BIOS, effectively turning it into a Radeon HD 6970.
 

cyclone3d

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"Upgrading the AMD Radeon HD 6950 graphics to a Radeon HD 6950 proved to be an enlightening experience."

Ohhhh... I want to upgrade my 6950 to a 6950 as well!
 

magoo

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There are about a thousand "guides" to this shader unlock out there.

I have three HD 6950 MSI models and I have used the method listed below successfully each time and it takes about one minute.

I modified then the CCC with SmartDoctor and use only the CCC to OC the cards to 6970 values.

My cards now run happily at 880/1350 with all the 6970 shaders BUT no memory voltage adjustments or manipulation to memory as some "guides" do.

http://www.overclock.net/amd-ati/923129-hd-6950-810-1250-mhz-shader.html
 

srangara

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There are about a thousand "guides" to this shader unlock out there.

I have three HD 6950 MSI models and I have used the method listed below successfully each time and it takes about one minute.

I modified then the CCC with SmartDoctor and use only the CCC to OC the cards to 6970 values.

My cards now run happily at 880/1350 with all the 6970 shaders BUT no memory voltage adjustments or manipulation to memory as some "guides" do.

http://www.overclock.net/amd-ati/923129-hd-6950-810-1250-mhz-shader.html
Nice, simple steps. Thanks.
 

AthlonXP

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My buddy was happy to see this when after he got his 6950 and it was built on the default AMD layout that he could do this.
 

Iratus

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Damn my inner geek is failing. I used to know all this stuff and have time to keep up but now I just rely on what Steve and Kyle put in front of me (should get a subscription because of that actually)

Now I'm in a quandary though, I was about to pull the trigger on a 6990 but now I'm wondering if a 2*6950's would be better. Slightly quicker, £80 cheaper but more heat (problem as I'm about to go to mATX)

Damn it.
 

[H]ocusPocus

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Also, many of us here recommend against flashing a full 6970 bios due to the different memory chips used in the two cards. Clocks, voltage and fan speed can be changed via software like Afterburner.
 

magoo

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[H]ocusPocus;1037243655 said:
Meh, stopping at 6970 clocks is not [H] :cool:


I have gone much farther on mine, but I see no reason at this time to run them [H]ard 24/7.

One other point to consider.........the unlock is being done almost EXCLUSIVELY on initial release "reference" models.
These are the variety with the BIOS switch and the small fan at the back end of the card.
These also have a heavy backplate (which looks nice also) and a black PCB with the AMD logo on the connector base where the card plugs into the PCI-e slot.

These cards are getting more and more difficult to find.....I got one of the last MSIs last week at TigerDirect, newegg is out except for HIS and they may be gone too.

TigerDirect has a few VisionTek and Diamond models though.:D
 

magoo

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[H]ocusPocus;1037243709 said:
Also, many of us here recommend against flashing a full 6970 bios due to the different memory chips used in the two cards. Clocks, voltage and fan speed can be changed via software like Afterburner.

Yup.

The article I referenced does NOT fiddle with the memory timings or memory voltage.
It does bump the GPU VCore slightly.

I really like the SmartDoctor part. I can run everything on the card I need without having to use any other software.

Afterburner, although very good, can be flaky sometimes, especially with ULPS and multiGPU systems.:D
 

Mr. K6

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Way to be over four months late and still get it wrong, Legit Reviews.
 

gord27

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i did this way back when with both my 6950s and neither one of them is stable at default 6970. i must have got two bad ones. bought them right around christmas time.

btw, i test my stability with the counterstrike source stress test. it crashes more frequently than 3d mark 2011. each card looped 3d mark no problem but would consistently crash on the second or third stress test run. not so once i put them back to shaders only.
 

Kc0r8y

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Most say the 6950 memory can't handle the full 6970 flash and will fail "eventually".

I chose the shader only flash and manually OCed the card to 850/1325 for daily use with eyefinity and 3 24 inch monitors.
 

jojo69

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Yup.

The article I referenced does NOT fiddle with the memory timings or memory voltage.
It does bump the GPU VCore slightly.

I really like the SmartDoctor part. I can run everything on the card I need without having to use any other software.

Afterburner, although very good, can be flaky sometimes, especially with ULPS and multiGPU systems.:D

Hmmm, I found "smart" doctor to be clunky, I never could figure out how to switch between cards with it. It is true it is a PITA to manually disable ULPS in the registry every time you update drivers, extra pain for me as I am running eyefinity portrait so if I forget to hobble afterburner before updating then I am in safe mode holding my head sideways editing registry.

I took the advise of those here, and elsewhere, and did the mod with GPUz so I just unlocked the shaders, then OC with afterburner. running 920/1300 with Vcore at 1.2.
 

magoo

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Hmmm, I found "smart" doctor to be clunky, I never could figure out how to switch between cards with it. It is true it is a PITA to manually disable ULPS in the registry every time you update drivers, extra pain for me as I am running eyefinity portrait so if I forget to hobble afterburner before updating then I am in safe mode holding my head sideways editing registry.

I took the advise of those here, and elsewhere, and did the mod with GPUz so I just unlocked the shaders, then OC with afterburner. running 920/1300 with Vcore at 1.2.


I have changed drivers twice since I modded my cards.
The first time SmartDoctor was a PITA.......and I finally had to run it twice, once for each card..........worked though.

Just recently my main MB broke and I bought a new Rampage III Formula, when I finished my HDD format and loaded all the software, SmartDoctor worked like a dream and enabled all three cards overclocking beyond the set AMD limits with just a single use of SmartDoctor.
I use SmartDoctor just as outlined in the tutorial i linked up at the top of the page.
 

jojo69

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OK, that helps, at least CCC reports the actual settings now. Funny how they have you uninstall smartdoctor after applying one click. I still rather like the monitoring and fan control options in afterburner. How are you cooling 3 of these monsters on a formula3???
 

Evil Scooter

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Yup.

The article I referenced does NOT fiddle with the memory timings or memory voltage.
It does bump the GPU VCore slightly.

I really like the SmartDoctor part. I can run everything on the card I need without having to use any other software.

Afterburner, although very good, can be flaky sometimes, especially with ULPS and multiGPU systems.:D

^^^ I used the same article/method. Setting the GPU to the stock 6970 voltages is safe IMHO. But advancing the memory timings and voltages is "iffy" at best. Why take the risk? Most of the ram on the 6950's OC's to at least 6970 speeds with nary more effort than moving the slider to the right a few notches.
 

magoo

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OK, that helps, at least CCC reports the actual settings now. Funny how they have you uninstall smartdoctor after applying one click. I still rather like the monitoring and fan control options in afterburner. How are you cooling 3 of these monsters on a formula3???

Carefully.

Actually, fan cycle at 50% does the trick. Nothing over 60C, but I have a modded Coolermaster EVO which has two 120 mm fans on the side and I mounted a 120 mm fan jsut at the rear of the stack 'o GPUs.

My case has a total of 5 120mm intakes and two 120mm outakes, plus the CPU is watercooled.:D
 

jojo69

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Carefully.

Actually, fan cycle at 50% does the trick. Nothing over 60C, but I have a modded Coolermaster EVO which has two 120 mm fans on the side and I mounted a 120 mm fan jsut at the rear of the stack 'o GPUs.

My case has a total of 5 120mm intakes and two 120mm outakes, plus the CPU is watercooled.:D

wow, looks to me like they would be smack up against each other. I am running the same board with 4@120mm intake and 2@120 plus the PSU 140 output and H2O on the CPU...I really did not think trifire was a realistic option...though I have been looking for a short Nvidia card for hybrid physX in the middle slot...good to hear that that is working for you.
 

Lord_Exodia

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We need to get a guide stickied here on the forum with a disclaimer to do it at your own risk to avoid the daily threads that pop up about this subject despite the fact that there are tons of threads already and google would find anyone the info quickly.
 

Mr. K6

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We need to get a guide stickied here on the forum with a disclaimer to do it at your own risk to avoid the daily threads that pop up about this subject despite the fact that there are tons of threads already and google would find anyone the info quickly.
Then find a guide that tells you how to do it correctly. Flashing a 6970 BIOS to a 6950 card eventually kills the 6950 card because the memory can't handle the higher voltage. It's been well documented and the fact that Legit Reviews still got it wrong this late in the game just shows what a joke the site is. I already signed up in their forums and called them out on the article in the hope that more people won't end up killing their cards.
 

magoo

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Then find a guide that tells you how to do it correctly. Flashing a 6970 BIOS to a 6950 card eventually kills the 6950 card because the memory can't handle the higher voltage. It's been well documented and the fact that Legit Reviews still got it wrong this late in the game just shows what a joke the site is. I already signed up in their forums and called them out on the article in the hope that more people won't end up killing their cards.

The guide I linked in post #3 does it right.

First all you get is a shader unlock. The memory is left alone completely.

The GPU voltage is raised just enough to allow you to OC to hearty levels......0.9V to 1.175V.

The clocks are set at 810/1250 by the flash.

If you want to you can enable SmartDoctor, if you prefer you can use Afterburner, either one works with this method.

As I said before, very easy to do, the guy gives you the files in a neat package and the instructions are simple.

Just don't forget to save the old BIOS before you flash it.:D
 

Lord_Exodia

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Then find a guide that tells you how to do it correctly. Flashing a 6970 BIOS to a 6950 card eventually kills the 6950 card because the memory can't handle the higher voltage. It's been well documented and the fact that Legit Reviews still got it wrong this late in the game just shows what a joke the site is. I already signed up in their forums and called them out on the article in the hope that more people won't end up killing their cards.

I didn't read this guide to be honest. We need to get a working guide stickied is all I'm saying. Isn't everyone tired about the almost daily threads asking about this?
 

magoo

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I didn't read this guide to be honest. We need to get a working guide stickied is all I'm saying. Isn't everyone tired about the almost daily threads asking about this?

We just need to stickie this guys work then: http://www.overclock.net/amd-ati/923...hz-shader.html

Ive not seen a better guide anywhere.
Honestly, after you load the software it takes one minute to do it and I'm three for three using it.
Uses ATIWinflash so you can store a copy of the original BIOS if you screw up.:D
 

Lord_Exodia

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We just need to stickie this guys work then: http://www.overclock.net/amd-ati/923...hz-shader.html

Ive not seen a better guide anywhere.
Honestly, after you load the software it takes one minute to do it and I'm three for three using it.
Uses ATIWinflash so you can store a copy of the original BIOS if you screw up.:D

Between us 2 we're 7 for seven, both of my 2 cards have the same bios and so do the cards I unlocked for my friends.
 

haroldmeyer

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Got one from BestBuy online in april(HD6950,2mb), CCC already I.D.ed it at 820mhz and 1250, didnt have to touch a thing, better to be lucky than good right?
 

BababooeyHTJ

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There are about a thousand "guides" to this shader unlock out there.

I have three HD 6950 MSI models and I have used the method listed below successfully each time and it takes about one minute.

I modified then the CCC with SmartDoctor and use only the CCC to OC the cards to 6970 values.

My cards now run happily at 880/1350 with all the 6970 shaders BUT no memory voltage adjustments or manipulation to memory as some "guides" do.

http://www.overclock.net/amd-ati/923129-hd-6950-810-1250-mhz-shader.html

There are much better ways of doing this now. That really is based on out dated info.

This is the way to go and should work with any 6950 including nonreference cards.
 
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magoo

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There are much better ways of doing this now. That really is based on out dated info.

This is the way to go and should work with any 6950 including nonreference cards.

While that sure could work for non-reference cards, I honestly think your method depends on obtaining alot of independant values. For instance, what kind of a "modded" BIOS are you using in your post to modify the original BIOS?

The guide I list took no work on my part to get the ASUS based BIOS revisions and comes bundled with ATIWinflash and ASUS SmartDoctor. It also does not change the memory operations of the 6950, while slightly adjusting the GPU Core voltage and clock speed.

Third, how do you obtain Sapphire Trixx? I looked it up but you need to have some ability to gain access to it, like owning a Sapphire product, unlike Afterburner which is open to anyone.

This method takes out all problems I might introduce on my own.

I'm sure yours works very well, but I like the idea of the total package right there.

Like I said, this has worked three out of three times for me, and SmartDoctor has reset my CCC...........I have a nice TriFire system running 6970 shaders/timings.:D
 
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BababooeyHTJ

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While that sure could work for non-reference cards, I honestly think your method depends on obtaining alot of independant values. For instance, what kind of a "modded" BIOS are you using in your post to modify the original BIOS?

The guide I list took no work on my part to get the ASUS based BIOS revisions and comes bundled with ATIWinflash and ASUS SmartDoctor. It also does not change the memory operations of the 6950, while slightly adjusting the GPU Core voltage and clock speed.

Third, how do you obtain Sapphire Trixx? I looked it up but you need to have some ability to gain access to it, like owning a Sapphire product, unlike Afterburner which is open to anyone.

This method takes out all problems I might introduce on my own.

I'm sure yours works very well, but I like the idea of the total package right there.

Like I said, this has worked three out of three times for me, and SmartDoctor has reset my CCC...........I have a nice TriFire system running 6970 shaders/timings.:D

Read the guide. It is how to mod the bios that shipped on your card.

Anyone can download Trixx directly from Sapphire. You don't need to be a member or own a sapphire card. I'm tired of jumping through hoops with afterburner and I'm not about to touch an Asus utility, I've been burned by those in the past.

There are better ways. You could even use Radon Bios Editor to edit your bios.

I just don't see the need to use an Asus bios and smart doctor for something that Trixx does out of the box or that you can do with Afterburner after a quick config edit.
 

magoo

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Read the guide. It is how to mod the bios that shipped on your card.

Anyone can download Trixx directly from Sapphire. You don't need to be a member or own a sapphire card. I'm tired of jumping through hoops with afterburner and I'm not about to touch an Asus utility, I've been burned by those in the past.

There are better ways. You could even use Radon Bios Editor to edit your bios.

I just don't see the need to use an Asus bios and smart doctor for something that Trixx does out of the box or that you can do with Afterburner after a quick config edit.

I read your guide, and it's very confusing; and some of the links don't work. I've read RBE tutorials and I think for the novice it isn't a really good idea. Before I bought the cards I have currently, I've never seen the need to fool with the BIOS. Motherboards, yes. GPUs, not really.
I cannot find a place where I can even look at Trixx.
You say yourself that you have to jump through "hoops" to use Afterburner, I have found that AB just doesn't work right all the time.....

I would like to look at Trixx, but every site i looked at last night was either some old beta version or wasn't loading. EDIT: found the Trixx download page and D/L the current 4.0.1 version.....may take it for a spin the next time I refresh my AMD drivers......

I haven't had any problems with the ASUS SmartDoctor........the only downside of using CCC for everything is you can't make a fan profile that ramps up as the card heats up.
 
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Gamerdad

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Hmmm, I've been running a 6970 bios on mine since this trick was discovered 4-5 months ago and I tax my card on a daily basis and haven't noticed any issues. I guess I'll eventually use one of these modded bios instead since it sounds like my card is destined for failure.
 

Lord_Exodia

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Hmmm, I've been running a 6970 bios on mine since this trick was discovered 4-5 months ago and I tax my card on a daily basis and haven't noticed any issues. I guess I'll eventually use one of these modded bios instead since it sounds like my card is destined for failure.

You are a brave man!! I have flashed my cards with 6970 bioses and they are 100% stable even at extrreme core frequencies over 980mhz however I never had the testicular fortutide to push the vram with that bios. The aggressive timings are what shy me away of pushing the vram any further than 1375mhz. I can push over 1400 no problem with a modded 6950 bios. I rather not chance killing my vram by pushing it that far on top of aggressive timings the ram isn't rated for. You sir are brave. + Rep
 

BababooeyHTJ

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If you can't use Radon Bios Editor you have no business flashing a vga bios. There are a lot of people using that really shouldn't be.
 
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magoo

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If you can't use Radon Bios Editor you have no business flashing a vga bios. There are a lot of people using that really shouldn't be.

Like I said, I wouldn't trust that I might not make a mistake, so no, I don't use it.
I am not afraid to admit I can make mistakes.

Flashing the BIOS is easy, doing it correctly is what this thread is all about.:D
 

fausto412

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So I just got one of these cards, an engineering sample actually...the mod is the way to go it seems and them overclock the card.

how are your mods and bio flash working to date? anybody wanna post an update?
 

Mr. K6

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So I just got one of these cards, an engineering sample actually...the mod is the way to go it seems and them overclock the card.

how are your mods and bio flash working to date? anybody wanna post an update?
Unlock the shaders using your own 6950 BIOS, don't flash to the 6970 BIOS. There have been reports throughout all of this that 6950's flashed to a 6970 die, presumably because the 6970 BIOS gives too much voltage to the vRAM.
 

fausto412

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Unlock the shaders using your own 6950 BIOS, don't flash to the 6970 BIOS. There have been reports throughout all of this that 6950's flashed to a 6970 die, presumably because the 6970 BIOS gives too much voltage to the vRAM.

Thanks, I got that message pretty quick reading different threads.

I never messed with a bios before on a video card. This will be my first.
Can't I just increase the 6950 clocks also while on making the changes to the bios?

How is yours still running?
 

Mr. K6

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Thanks, I got that message pretty quick reading different threads.

I never messed with a bios before on a video card. This will be my first.
Can't I just increase the 6950 clocks also while on making the changes to the bios?

How is yours still running?
I just took my 6950 out of my system to put in a 7970, but for 11 months straight it ran 1GHz/1375MHz @1.3V with the shaders unlocked without a hiccup. I only unlocked my shaders using my own BIOS and RBE. You can extract your own BIOS using GPU-Z. Note that because yours is an engineering sample, there might be some variations within the design that will prevent you from doing this. Luckily, the dual BIOS switch on the AMD cards eliminate almost all risk when BIOS flashing.

You can also apply any clock speeds to the BIOS as long as you have it open to modify the shaders, but I wouldn't apply speeds you haven't stress tested thoroughly.
 
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