Guide: How to Easily Turn Your AMD Radeon 6950 into a 6970
2/23/2011 by: Ryan Glovinsky
Unless you really like spending extra money on graphics cards for the fun of it, you're likely to want to maximize the performance of your graphics card. Oftentimes, that’s limited to overclocking functions, given that most cards in a graphics card series usually have different hardware specs. However, that is not the case with AMD Radeon HD 6950 and 6970. The 6950 and 6970 use pretty much the same hardware, with the primary difference being the software (BIOS) on the card.
Unless you want to buy a pre-modded card, we found the best and easiest way to do turn a cheaper model into a higher performing one.
There are two ways to go about this, manually or automatically. I attempted the manual option without success and was forced to use the automatic option.
To do this, I used an XFX Radeon HD 6950 2GB GDDR5:
We detail the manual method on the next page...
Make sure that the position on your HD 6950’s BIOS switch is set to the 1 position (the default position on most cards).
Download ATI Winflash
And then the Radeon HD 6970 BIOS.
(The Sapphire 6970 BIOS are recommended because they function with cards from any manufacturer).
Just in case something goes wrong, backup your HD 6950 BIOS by running ATI Winflash and clicking Save.
Open up ATI Winflash and hit Load Image and select the HD 6970 BIOS that we’re going to use (but keep Winflash open).
Hit the Program button inside Winflash to begin the flashing process which will reboot your computer.
Check to see if the flashing process worked using GPU-Z (at least version 0.5.0 or it won’t display correct specs). If the process worked, it should show a shader count of 1536 instead of 1408 one.
In case of error (which is what happened to me), such as an ID mismatch or "Could not erase ROM", you can try this fix:
- Unpack the Winflash download onto your desktop in a folder called "winflash"
-Save the 6970 BIOS in your Winflash folder and name it unlock.bin
- Click Start Button
- Type "cmd"
- Right click the entry and select "Run as Administrator"
- Black command prompt windows opens
- Type "cd %USERPROFILE%\desktop\winflash"
- Type "atiwinflash -unlockrom 0" <-- the 0 means first adapter, if you have multiple cards, physically uninstall all but the one you want to flash
- Type "atiwinflash -f -p 0 unlock.bin"
- It should complete the flashing process with a message saying something with "verified".
However, this particular fix did not work for me, and I was forced to use the automatic method to complete the process. We detail this method on the next page...
Download this file, as it contains a pack with all the files required and batch scripts to complete the process automatically.
Unpack the zip and run: flash_to_6970.bat
Check to see if the flashing process worked using GPU-Z (at least version 0.5.0 or it won’t display correct specs). If the process worked, it should show a shader count of 1536.
Congratulations! You’ve saved yourself a bit of cash and you have a fully functioning Radeon HD 6970. This method has had a success rate of over 95%. To get further performance out of the card, you can go into the Catalyst Control Center, and go to the Overdrive tab to overclock the card. Increasing the PowerTune slider to about 20% will yield a quite a bit of performance gain in exchange for an almost negligible increase in card temperature.
Also, in case you ever need to replace the BIOS to their original 6950 BIOS, just repeat the manual process above ignoring Step 3. Then, in Step 4, instead of loading the 6970 BIOS, load your previously saved 6950 BIOS instead.
Or use the automatic method and run: flash_back_to_6950.bat
That should wrap up the guide. Feel free to leave any questions or comments below and hopefully you get to enjoy your free upgrade quickly and easily.
Radeon, AMD, AMD Radeon HD, HD 6950, Radeon HD 6950, GPU, GP modding, HD 6970, 6970, XFX, ATi, BIOS, Upgrade, Update, Flash, WinFlash, PowerTune, Catalyst
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