I purchased an XFX Radeon HD 6950 (2GB) video card a few months ago in preparation for all the triple-a titles that have come out in the last year; while I miss the PhysX support for the occasional game that supports it, I’ve been mostly happy.
Shortly after the dual-launch of both the 6950 and 6970 Radeon HD cards, I heard that the 6950 was actually the 6970 silicon with a BIOS lock in-place shutting off a handful of shaders manually.
A few smart people quickly found an unlock for the 6950s, allowing it to perform just like the more expensive 6970s.
I am not generally a fan of unlocking; I like to avoid pain and inconvenience and try and keep all my devices/software/etc. running exactly as intended. In this case I ignored trying the 6950 unlock until today due to some lack-luster performance I was seeing in some newer games (Batman Arkham City DX11, The Witcher 2 to name a few).
Since I found a dead-easy way to do this, I figured I would link it all here for you to make your life easier.
How to Unlock the Radeon HD 6950 to a 6970
- Download the latest GPU-Z - This program will be used to save your current BIOS to disk and verify that the unlock worked.
- Download ATI Winflash - This program will be used to flash the modified (unlocked) BIOS back to your video card when ready.
- Download this simple BIOS-modification script - This script will run against your saved BIOS and unlock it.
Now that you have all the software downloaded, do the following steps:
- Unzip the BIOS modification script from Step #3 above into its own directory. For example, C:\radeon-bios-mod or something like that. We unzip this now because we want to save the BIOS from the next few steps to this directory to make modding the BIOS easier.
- Run GPU-Z, take note of the following field values (write them down if you want). These values will be increased after our unlock is done:
- Pixel Fillrate
- Texture Fillrate
Now you can enjoy your unlocked card!
The original TechPowerup article on doing this unlock talked about making sure the “BIOS switch” found on the physical card is in a certain position; using my XFX Radeon HD 6950 I didn’t have to change anything, so there is a good chance this guide works for you out of the box without issue.