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6950 - Unlocking and what to buy

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I currently have an XFX 6950 2GB reference model (HD-695A-CNFC to be exact). I recently flashed the BIOS to a 6970, though it was quite a complicated process:
Read the guide, which said to use a Sapphire BIOS, but I thought it's an XFX card why not use an XFX 6970 BIOS? So I flashed it, and then whenever I tried to do something (i.e Furmark) my system crashed. So I flashed back to the original firmware.
Then I read that it might be better to just unlock the shaders then manually overclock to 6970 speeds. I unlocked the shaders, but my card wouldn't let me overclock it to 6970 speeds. So I just thought may as well try the Sapphire BIOS, flashed that, and it's been working fine since.
I'm still not sure if this is the best option - most of the information I can find it from 2 years ago.

Now I'm planning to buy another 6950, unlock it to 6970, and crossfire them. I could buy a graded version of my exact card for £122 from videocardshop, however I'm not sure if it's worth paying that much when I could get a used 6950 2GB for cheaper. But then the question of whether I could unlock it comes about. Again, a lot of the information I can find is very old, I find some places saying ONLY reference models can be overclocked, but then other people succeeding with even 1GB models. The most informative post I found was this one: http://www.overclock.net/t/1183936/which-6950s-can-i-unlock/20#post_15941454 however it is very old so the info could be outdated.

So what I'm basically asking is... Have I unlocked my card the best way, and what card should I get to crossfire it with?

Thanks a lot.
post #2 of 6
Best way to unlock one of these cards is to dump the BIOS, unlock it in RBE, flash the unlock BIOS to the card, then adjust voltage/clocks manually. You shouldn't need to download any BIOSes because you can use the one on the card.

That card looks like a reference card, pairing with any other unlocked reference card, flashed to the same BIOS, should do fine.
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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blameless View Post

Best way to unlock one of these cards is to dump the BIOS, unlock it in RBE, flash the unlock BIOS to the card, then adjust voltage/clocks manually. You shouldn't need to download any BIOSes because you can use the one on the card.

That card looks like a reference card, pairing with any other unlocked reference card, flashed to the same BIOS, should do fine.

So do you think I should flash my original BIOS with the unlocked shaders back on instead of leaving the Sapphire 6970 BIOS on it? And how do I push past the clock limits? I tried that but in both CCC OverDrive and MSI Afterburner I couldn't put the core clock above about 840, but I ideally want it on 880, the 6970 speed.
post #4 of 6
Don't use CCC's overclocking function.

Use the unofficial OCing method in MSI AB. You need to edit the MSIAfterburner.cfg file to do this, and have atipdlxx.dll and atipdl64.dll from 12.2 beta or prior drivers available (drop them in the main MSI AB directory, or use modded drivers).

http://forums.guru3d.com/showthread.php?t=338906
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Xando View Post

So do you think I should flash my original BIOS with the unlocked shaders back on instead of leaving the Sapphire 6970 BIOS on it?

Probably.
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post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blameless View Post

Don't use CCC's overclocking function.

Why not exactly?


Right well I have flashed the card back to the firmware that was originally on it only with the shaders unlocked. However as I said OverDrive only lets me put GPU clock at 840MHz and memory clock at 1325MHz. I've read various methods online about how to go further... Be it flashing a BIOS with higher limits, though it sounds like you have to do something weird to ensure the signature of the BIOS doesn't get messed up, doing a registry edit that removes the limits, or other things. What's the best way?
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Xando View Post

Why not exactly?

Because of the clock limit restricting you to 840MHz without further modifications and the potential for Power Tune to cause throttling.
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Xando View Post

What's the best way?

I've already mentioned what way I think is best: Plain unlocked BIOS, plus MSI AB unofficial overclocking.
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