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Good news for owners of AMD Radeon HD 6950 graphics cards. The BIOS of this graphics adapter is flashed to the BIOS of its older colleague AMD Radeon HD 6970. Thus, we have an excellent opportunity to save – the HD 6950 on average by 3-4 thousand rubles cheaper than the HD 6970. The only condition is that your Radeon HD 6950 was built on the reference design of the card from AMD. You can make sure of this by downloading the utility GPU-Z from TechPowerUp (the current version 0.5.2 is available on this link). After downloading, run the program. In the Name field, you must specify AMD Radeon HD 6900 Series, in the Shaders field – 1408 Unified; The core frequency (GPU Clock) should be 800 MHz, and the memory (Memory) – 1250 MHz. The brand, under which the video card is released, is not so important, if the above conditions are met, then we can proceed to action.
GPU-Z readings before flashing
First, you need the ATI Winflash utility to flush it. Version 184.108.40.206 can be downloaded here. Secondly, we need a BIOS from AMD Radeon HD 6970. For example, here's the one. The archive with ATI Winflash is best decompressed to the root of the C: drive, for example, to the C: ATIwinflash folder. Firmware from HD 6970 must be unpacked to the root folder. Now run ATIWinflash.exe and immediately save a copy of our current firmware. To do this, press the Save button and select the name for the copy. Let it be bios_6950.rom. After successful saving, the program will report that everything is in order.
Now click the Load button and select the file with the new BIOS version (Sapphire.HD6970.2048.101124.bin). Finally, we press Program and wait until the flashing process is over (I hope you do not need to remind that any flashing operations should be performed in the presence of the UPS in order to avoid a sudden power outage).
If everything is ok, the program will inform you that the firmware has been successfully completed. After that, you just need to restart the computer and wait until the OS recognizes the "updated" graphics card. Probably, it is necessary to reboot again.
On some video cards, an ID Mismatch or Could not erase ROM error may appear when attempting a flash. In this case, you will have to perform several additional actions. To start, you need to run the command prompt as administrator. To do this, go to the Start menu, select "All Programs", then "Standard" and find the item "Command Line". Click on it with the right button and select "Run as administrator". (Start → All Programs → Accessories → Command Prompt, Run as administrator).
Now, successively enter the following commands, remember to press after each Enter:
cd C: ATIwinflash
ATIwinflash -unlockrom 0
ATIwinflash -f -p 0 C: Sapphire.HD6970.2048.101124.bin
After reflashing, the GPU-Z should show the following:
Now I have to dig a little in the driver settings of the video card. To do this, start the Catalyst Control Center, switch to Advanced View mode and select the AMD Overdrive item on the Performance tab. Click on the icon with the lock and put a tick in front of Enable AMD Overdrive. The core frequency should be 880 MHz, and the memory – 1375 MHz. The Power Control settings slider should be moved to the far right (+ 20%).
To make sure that AMD Radeon HD 6950 really became HD 6970, a small test stand was built on the basis of the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme motherboard with an Intel Core i7-2600K @ 3.40 GHz processor and two gigabytes of RAM running a 64- bit Windows 7. The video card was tested in several benchmarks before and after the flashing. Please note: this is not a detailed study of all the features of the graphics adapter, but only one way to make sure that the new firmware really works. For benchmarking we used 3DMark Vantage benchmarks with High and 3DMark 11 settings in Extreme mode, as well as Far Cry 2 Benchmark Tool and Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.0, the settings of which are shown in the screenshots below.
According to the test results, everything is fine.
Before the flashing
If after switching to a new BIOS the video card becomes unstable to work (for example, artifacts appeared in games), then you will have to restore the old firmware. To do this, run ATI Winflash again, click Load, select a previously saved copy of the original firmware (bios_6950.rom) and click Program. However, modern AMD Radeon graphics cards have two BIOS chips on board. We only asked one of them, so you can easily switch between them (just do not forget to turn off the computer before that!). The slider of the switch is circled in the picture in red.
If you notice an error – select it with the mouse and press CTRL + ENTER.