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How To: Flash 6950 to 6970 Guide

post #1 of 184
Thread Starter 
Radeon HD 6950 to 6970 Guide
DSCN0725-1-1.jpg



So this is my first guide and unboxing post for OCN. Any criticism is much appreciated.
I was fortunate enough to purchase two Sapphire Radeon HD 6950's and have unlocked them both to 6970's.
I wanted to post a step by step of unboxing and installing them and then flashing them to 6970's.

I suppose without any further ado:




DSCN0727.jpg
Here is the boxes I received in the mail. One from Newegg, and one from Superbiiz (for rebates).
The packaging is nice, feels about the same as my previous GTX 465.
The box is large for a video card due to the length of the card itself.
The box dimensions come in at 14.75 X 9.75 X 4 inches


DSCN0730.jpg
This is the immediate packaging after removing the outer layer. Not much to see here.


Opening up this box however reveals the latest hole in my wallet.
This card is huge. But we'll come back to that wink.gif
DSCN0731.jpg

DSCN0732.jpg

DSCN0733.jpg
I thought to disappoint everyone, by making you scroll a bit further to see the actual card itself.
Here is the actual accessory box. It comes nestled under the card, and opening it up let's us see what
extras Sapphire was nice enough to include with this roughly $300 card.

DSCN0734.jpg
The box contains the following:

1 Sapphire Installation Cd
1 Sapphire Case badge
1 1.8 meter HDMI cable
2 Molex to 6-Pin power cable adapters
1 Installation Guide
1 Crossfire Connector
1 DVI to VGA adapter
1 Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort Adapter
And a card with registration information for Sapphire

Seems pretty standard and the crossfire cable is too short for my motherboard (Asus Rampage III Extreme), as I need to use PCI-E slots 1 and 3.
So if anyone else has this motherboard, or a similiar design on their's: heads up.
DSCN0737.jpg




Edited by Senator - 2/15/11 at 7:13pm
    
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post #2 of 184
Thread Starter 
Radeon HD 6950 to 6970 Guide Continued

Moving right along, here are finally some pictures of the card itself. It comes packaged in a molded cardboard tray (similar to an egg carton),
and is wrapped in some fairly thick one-sided black bubble wrap. There is a foam strip that serves to hold it in place and protect the PCI-E connection.
DSCN0732.jpg

Here is the card removed from the packaging.
DSCN0738.jpg

DSCN0739.jpg
I provided a picture of it next to an iPhone to provide a reference point on the card's size.


Since I purchased two, here is an image of both the front and the back. As you can see below, the card does come standard
with a backplate which is certainly a nice added touch.
DSCN0750.jpg
DSCN0740.jpg



And to close out this bit about unpackaging, here are some pictures of the card's connections for displays and one of the BIOS switch (more on this below).
DSCN0743.jpg
DSCN0741.jpg
DSCN0746.jpg

Edited by Senator - 2/15/11 at 7:06pm
    
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post #3 of 184
Thread Starter 
Radeon HD 6950 to 6970 Guide Continued

sapphirebiosdownloadedandrenamed.png




To flash the card's BIOS to a 6970 and to unlock the shaders, we will be using a program called ATIWinFlash. It's fairly simple to use,
using either the GUI inside the program or going through command prompt. I followed the guide from TechPowerUp which is what first inspired
me to buy the card, as I previously was using a GTX 465 that was not able to be unlocked, and was just not shooting par for some games.

techpowerupguide.png

As you can see the page itself has an excellent guide, but I'm fairly partial to this forum, and thought having a guide housed here in-site so to speak would be nice.


To start things off, you will need a copy of ATIWinFlash, which you can download here
atiwinflashdownload.png

The file downloads as an .exe and is fairly small coming in at 413.5kb. ATIWinFlash works for both 32bit and 64bit OS's of course.
It installs fairly quickly, and you'll want to install the folder on your desktop for ease of access later in case you need to flash the
card through command prompt.


Next you will want to download a 6970 BIOS. As this is a guide for reference cards, you should be able to download the BIOS of your
choice in case you want a certain feature from a particular manufacturer. Again, save the BIOS download you chose to the desktop temporarily as this will make
locating it in command prompt much easier if you are unable to flash from within the program. Also, please rename the Bios download to Bios. Renaming the file
will help you follow the command prompt instructions I have written below if needed. Make sure the BIOS switch on the card is set to the 1 position
(pictured above 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.

atiwinflashprogram.png


Load the 6970 BIOS into Winflash by clicking Load Image, followed by Program. Let the flashing process complete.

loadedsapphirebiosinati.png

pressprogram.png


Once it's done, simply reboot your system and your done!



If this didn't work: Don't worry. You will just need to flash the BIOS from command prompt. Continue reading below to see how.

cannoteraserom.png

IF you saw the above message, then I'm sure you guessed it didn't work. Don't worry, it didn't work for me either. That just means it is time to go back to that old standy: the Command Prompt! :rollseyes:
To get to the command prompt location we require: open up your My Computer button and navigate to C:/Users/Your Name/Desktop, which is where you should now have ATIWinFlash.
Hold shift down and right-click in a blank area you should see a menu item "Open command window here." This will open a Command Prompt window at that location. Now we can type the commands we need.

Commandinactiontoflash.png

You'll need to type the following:

- 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 and will generate a message letting you know it's complete!


That's it. Now just reboot and we will run GPU-Z to show see proof that it worked.



Edited by Senator - 2/15/11 at 7:48pm
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
[INTEL] i7 930, 4.4ghz @ 1.27V [Asus] Rampage III Extreme [Sapphire] 2X 6950's Flashed to 6970's @950/1425 [G.SKILL] Ripjaws X Series 12GB DDR3 @ 2133 
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post #4 of 184
Thread Starter 
Radeon HD 6950 to 6970 Guide Continued

Now the fun bit! Check the shader count using GPU-Z, it should show 1536. As the default GPU-Z apparently still has not
been updated for 6900 series we will use a version that TechPowerUp released. If you see a shader count of 1600, the GPU-Z version is outdated.



GPUzfinal.png

You should see the above when you run GPU-Z. Whereas before you had the following:

radeom6950before.png


That's all there is to it! Enjoy your unlocked and flashed 6950. Or is it a 6970?
wink.gif



Edited by Senator - 2/15/11 at 7:57pm
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
[INTEL] i7 930, 4.4ghz @ 1.27V [Asus] Rampage III Extreme [Sapphire] 2X 6950's Flashed to 6970's @950/1425 [G.SKILL] Ripjaws X Series 12GB DDR3 @ 2133 
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post #5 of 184
Thanks for the guide. I was looking at getting one of these.
post #6 of 184
Thread Starter 
No problem man. Glad it was helpful.
    
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post #7 of 184
+Rep. I will be using this when my 6950 arrives! biggrin.gif
    
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post #8 of 184
+1 awesome guide. Wish it was here when I unlocked mine...However, that Sapphire Bios, which is said to be the most stable 6970 Bios has been known to cause some instability down the road. I suggest this Bios I have added. Its an Asus modded Bios. Doesn't mess with the voltages or anything, just unlocks the shaders. And has proven to be more stable with most cards. The Sapphire Bios is still good though. Just helping out with guide. Just rename it when you download to same name you'll use in unlock command.

EDIT: Also added pics of my GPU-Z to substantiate the unlocking success I have made claim too.
Edited by jfizz84 - 2/15/11 at 9:49pm
    
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post #9 of 184
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfizz84;12403313 
+1 awesome guide. Wish it was here when I unlocked mine...However, that Sapphire Bios, which is said to be the most stable 6970 Bios has been known to cause some instability down the road. I suggest this Bios I have added. Its an Asus modded Bios. Doesn't mess with the voltages or anything, just unlocks the shaders. And has proven to be more stable with most cards. The Sapphire Bios is still good though. Just helping out with guide. Just rename it when you download to same name you'll use in unlock command.

EDIT: Also added pics of my GPU-Z to substantiate the unlocking success I have made claim too.

Cheers guys. I really appreciate it. I was a bit apprehensive about putting up anything, as I've never posted an unboxing or guide before doh.gif.

@jfizz84: Thanks for the BIOS link. I hadn't actually heard that about the Sapphire BIOS, so much appreciated!
    
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post #10 of 184
Yea man no problem. Its a great guide. I had a lil help when I was unlocking mine too. So I got some help from fellow member as well. Piece of cake now.
    
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