Introduction and the Process
Just recently we were given some exciting news. We found out that it was possible to flash the HD 6950 with a HD 6970 BIOS and in turn make your $299 HD 6950 a $369 HD 6970, and really we don't have to tell you how cool that would be.
So we grabbed our closest HD 6950 to us which was a Sapphire and proceeded to flash it with a Sapphire HD 6970 BIOS. Thanks to our friends at TechPowerUp, we used WINFLASH, a Windows based program that gives you the ability to flash and save the BIOS of supported video cards.
The whole process is relatively easy, but of course, it's done at your own risk. The first thing we need to do with our system off is to switch that handy little tab on top of our HD 6950 to the number "1" position. What this allows us to do is flash the BIOS.
Once that's done, we fire up WINFLASH which you can download at TPU here and make a backup of our current BIOS. With that done, we then proceed to flash our card with the Sapphire HD 6970 BIOS which you can grab here at the same website.
We then received an error that said "Could not erase the ROM"; fortunately we have a backup option where we can use the "CMD" Command Prompt in Windows 7 and do a "DOS" like flash.
First we had to do navigate to where WINFLASH is. I recommend you throw it in your C: just so it's easy to navigate to. Once that's done, we typed atiwinflash -unlockrom 0. From there we typed in atiwinflash -f -p 0 Sapphire.HD6970.2048.101124.bin. We would recommend that you change the BIOS name, though, to something like HD6970 so you don't have to type as much. Once we had flashed the BIOS, we were prompted to reboot and did so.
Once back in Windows, we fired up GPU-Z to see how we went and as you can see comparing the reference HD 6950 BIOS on the left to same card flashed with the HD 6970 BIOS on the right, our Shaders have increased from 1408 to 1536, while at the same time our clock speeds have moved from the reference HD 6950 ones to the reference HD 6970 ones.
So with that done, it's time to get into the performance side of things and see how the card went.