The guys over at TechPowerUp have posted an explanation of how you can turn your AMD Radeon HD 6950 into a 6970 with a BIOS mod. They explain how both cards are essentially the same except the 6950 has a part of the card disabled so you don’t get the full performance out of the card. This makes sense as producing one chip is much easier than producing multiple ones when you can just lock down parts of the chip and sell them for a cheaper price. Although the article goes into much more depth with an explanation of what is happening, tests of multiple cards and how to recover if things go bad, here are the basic instructions. A word of warning, I don’t know how this will affect your warranty.
- Grab ATI Winflash from here (32 & 64-bit).
- Download HD 6970 BIOS. The Sapphire one I linked to will work on all reference design cards from any vendor.
- Make sure the BIOS switch on the card is set to the 1 position (pictured further down if you don’t know where it is).
- Run ATI Winflash, click Save to save your BIOS, so you have a backup in case something goes wrong.
- Load the HD 6970 BIOS into Winflash by clicking Load Image, followed by Program.
- Let the flashing process complete and reboot your system.
- Check the shader count using GPU-Z, it should show 1536. Make sure you use version 0.5.0 or newer, the official 0.4.9 version does not support HD 6900 Series properly. If you see a shader count of 1600, your GPU-Z version is outdated.
- To ensure maximized performance open Catalyst Control Center, go to the Overdrive tab and set the PowerTune slider to the +20% setting. The “Testing” section of this article has more data on that.
- Check stability in Windows desktop applications and games.