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6950 unlock & oc & 6970 bios

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm about to buy a new pc , gettine ASUS P8P67 PRO mobo, 2500k CPU
and 620W antec high currentgamer PSU.

That said, I still havent determined which GPU I should get, I was thinking of getting gtx570 but started reading the past 2 days about the 6950 features and I have some questions

I saw that the 6950 can be unlocked to 6970, but not ALL cards will unlock.
the 6950 I need to choose from are :
SAPPHIRE 6950 and HIS 6950, which one will definetly unlock?

After the shaders unlock, I saw that it is possible to give the 6950 a 20% over power or something to make a performance boost, is there some hardware required to do that? how dangerous is that to the GPU? and will my CPU/PSU support it?

Last but not least, after the unlock and the 20% OP, I saw theres a possibility to OC the card aswell , the questions remain the same, will my pc support it? is it dangerous?

P.S:the reason I'm trying to get to the bottom of this is that I was thinking of getting the gtx570 but in my country (Israel) the 6950 is cheaper by about 100$ so if I could get the 6950 and get a performance like 6970/570 without endangering my GPU I'd like to know about it

Thanks
post #2 of 10
I would consider the MSI 560 Ti in your quest as well. You can get 570-like performance out of it quite easily with an overclock, and it has top of the line cooling.

I would personally go with an MSI (bossly cooling) 560 Ti 1gb OR the 6950 2gb model.

If you have to pay 10% more for the 6950, I would go with it because the 2gb is considered more future-proof by many. However, it does not yield more performance than 1gb, in current games. It does shine at multi monitor setups.

Reference 6950's are the best to flash. By reference, I mean original amd cooling, design, and an amd logo at the pci express bus. It should have a dual bios, which allows you to switch to factory bios in case of flash problems.

The sapphire has more success stories than HIS, however if they are both reference design, with dual bios, it should be good.

The 20% extra power is safe, and does not depend on the cpu.

I would personally go with a shader unlock followed by an overclock. Reason being that 6950-->6970 flashes change vram timings, which can lead to problems in some cases.

Search the forum for more threads on this topic to wrap your head around it. If you choose the MSI 560 Ti, overclocking will be a breeze, but with the 6950 the hardest part is the shader unlock. It's also a breeze if you read up on it.
Edited by ShaqX7 - 4/24/11 at 5:25pm
    
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post #3 of 10
First off here a little something about the unlock
There are two types of 6950 unlocks:

Type 1 unlock: Shader increase to 1536 units (same as the 6970)
Type 2 unlock: Complete BIOS flash to a 6970

The type 1 unlock is almost risk free and can be achieved with almost all the 6950´s.
The type 2 unlock on the other hand is a bit more risky because due to the full 6970 BIOS flash also the timings of the 6970 and other settings which are different will be applied.
To some cards that ultimately can lead to card failure or mailfunction.
Further marginal differences can be seen here:

But be advised that the Type 2 unlock only yields about 1-3% performance increase.
Wheter the Type 1 unlock + stock 6970 clocks have shown to yield the exact same amount of performance a normal 6970 would achieve
So according to those results one could imply that a Type 1 unlock + stock 6970 settings would upgrade a 6950 to a full 6970 performancewise even though other settings or structural differences are unequal.



Both types of unlocks will void your warranty if something goes wrong so be sure to bare that in mind when doing it.
There have not been any long term studies about the affect of the unlocking process and further causations yet.....but I am confident to say that nobody has encountered any problems yet
So I personally would advise you to leave the unlock be as it is not included in the warranty and just overclock your card 5-10% higher ...thus a higher overclock should be able to not only compensate but even exceed the performance boost the unlock provides
And if you must have an unlocked card at least wait until we know more about its long term affects

I would also like to refer you to my thread in which similar questions and all advantages/features benchmark results,performance comparisons to other cards including all designs etc etc should be displayed and answered

http://www.overclock.net/nvidia/9848...md-6950-a.html

Here the full guide + tips on unlock from TechPowerUp:http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/...ng/vidcard/159
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Now you should be pretty much informed about the unlock.
Here a little bit about the unlockability of the 6950´s out there:


If a card unlocks or not is depending on wheter or not it has been laser cut to make it impossilbe for software to unlock the unfunctional units.

Another crutial part of the unlock is for the card to have a BIOS switch so in case somthing goes wrong you can always flash to the second BIOS.

Basically 90% of the tested Twin Frozr III cards unlocked fine there are already some newer laser cut products around so be careful to check the arrival date of the card at your local retailer before buying it to ensure it couldn´t have been laser cut yet.


Hope I could help
Anything earlier than March 15th should be fine I believe
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post #4 of 10
Speaking of the warranties --> 6950 unlocks void the warranty, as Kung said, but overclocking the MSI 560 Ti using afterburner yields 570-like results and does not void warranty.

Basically think of the two alternatives as being the MSI 560 Ti (less of a hassle imo) or 6950 2gb of ram + a lot more heat (if you don't put in the money for upgraded cooling designs of the 6950). Of course you can go with any card you wish, just that the value of these two particular cards is super.

Don't take the 2gb lightly, because when I max out crysis is gets very close to maxing my 1gb vram.
Edited by ShaqX7 - 4/24/11 at 8:18pm
    
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post #5 of 10
Yeah, but the 6950 has a dual bios switch so if something goes wrong you just flip the switch and the original bios goes back.

Go the 6950 and unlock the sucker to a full 6970. With the 11.4 drivers these babies scream!

Plus 2gb is needed now, people say it is not although I just ran a bench test of Crysis 1 and it used around 1200MB of vRAM. I know not much matches up to Crysis 1, but things are starting to get better especially with the new Unreal Development Kit out with DX 11 and a host of enhancements.

EDIT: Just saw above post is arguing the same as me. 1gb is not future proof tbh.
Edited by Exostenza - 4/24/11 at 10:05pm
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post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kung Pow View Post
First off here a little something about the unlock
There are two types of 6950 unlocks:

Type 1 unlock: Shader increase to 1536 units (same as the 6970)
Type 2 unlock: Complete BIOS flash to a 6970

The type 1 unlock is almost risk free and can be achieved with almost all the 6950´s.
The type 2 unlock on the other hand is a bit more risky because due to the full 6970 BIOS flash also the timings of the 6970 and other settings which are different will be applied.
To some cards that ultimately can lead to card failure or mailfunction.
Further marginal differences can be seen here:

But be advised that the Type 2 unlock only yields about 1-3% performance increase.
Wheter the Type 1 unlock + stock 6970 clocks have shown to yield the exact same amount of performance a normal 6970 would achieve
So according to those results one could imply that a Type 1 unlock + stock 6970 settings would upgrade a 6950 to a full 6970 performancewise even though other settings or structural differences are unequal.



Both types of unlocks will void your warranty if something goes wrong so be sure to bare that in mind when doing it.
There have not been any long term studies about the affect of the unlocking process and further causations yet.....but I am confident to say that nobody has encountered any problems yet
So I personally would advise you to leave the unlock be as it is not included in the warranty and just overclock your card 5-10% higher ...thus a higher overclock should be able to not only compensate but even exceed the performance boost the unlock provides
And if you must have an unlocked card at least wait until we know more about its long term affects

I would also like to refer you to my thread in which similar questions and all advantages/features benchmark results,performance comparisons to other cards including all designs etc etc should be displayed and answered

http://www.overclock.net/nvidia/9848...md-6950-a.html

Here the full guide + tips on unlock from TechPowerUp:http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/...ng/vidcard/159
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Now you should be pretty much informed about the unlock.
Here a little bit about the unlockability of the 6950´s out there:


If a card unlocks or not is depending on wheter or not it has been laser cut to make it impossilbe for software to unlock the unfunctional units.

Another crutial part of the unlock is for the card to have a BIOS switch so in case somthing goes wrong you can always flash to the second BIOS.

Basically 90% of the tested Twin Frozr III cards unlocked fine there are already some newer laser cut products around so be careful to check the arrival date of the card at your local retailer before buying it to ensure it couldn´t have been laser cut yet.


Hope I could help
Anything earlier than March 15th should be fine I believe
Would somebody else agree we sticky that post?^^

I have used it at least 10 times a member has asked about the 6950 unlock and it mostly solved the thread
I hope it could help here as well
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post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exostenza View Post
With the 11.4 drivers these babies scream!
Coil whine or...?

Sounds good kung! You should also add something about the 20% powertune thingy, and provide a link to Radeon Bios Editor (easy shader unlock).
    
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post #8 of 10
Almost all 6950s will unlock their shaders, and also, doesn't overclocking void warranty anyway?

Regardless, my 6950 is unlocked and overclocked to 950/1400 making it a fair bit faster than a stock 6970.
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post #9 of 10
I'd go for the unlocking, I'm personally going to buy two 6950's and unlock them pretty soon.
If you can get the Gigabyte 2gb version.
To be safe, get any reference 2GB 6950.
I'd upgrade to a 750 watt PSU, cooler master makes some nice 750 watt power supplies.
    
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post #10 of 10
MSI is an exception (along with evga, others?), as long as you use the afterburner software, and stay within its limits... warranty will stay intact. For evga, I think they even allow modded coolers?
    
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