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Unlocking Radeon HD 6950 2GB — tested

Unlocking Radeon HD 6950 2GB with following tests — for and against

Testbed configuration

Testbed configuration
MotherboardDFI LP UT X58-T3eH8
ProcessorCore i7 920
MemoryG.SKILL Trident 6GB F3-16000CL9T-6GBTD
Hard drives2 x VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS RAID0
CaseOpen benchtable Banchetto 101
OSWindows 7 64-bit Service Pack 1
VGA driver versionGeForce/ION Driver 266.58
AMD Catalyst 11.1a (Driver Packaging 8.82.2-110119a-112250E-ATI dated 26.01.2011)
MonitorDell Ultrasharp U2711


Testbed configuration

Before and after unlock

First thing to do is to check the differences in 2D/IDLE modes:

Radeon HD 6950 card in IDLE mode

Unlocked Radeon HD 6950 2GB in IDLE mode

All parameters in 2D/IDLE mode are in places, no considerable changes here.

Decoding of a 1080p movie, ripped with a х264 codec did not reveal any noticeable changes between original Radeon HD 6950 and its unlocked version:

Radeon HD 6950 2GB operation parameters

Uncloked Radeon HD 6950 2GB operation parameters

We can conclude, that unlocking of Radeon HD 6950 2GB using patched BIO does not affect temperature or noise levels in 2D/IDLE mode and during video playback.


In order to maximize the level of convenience for everyday user of the card, we did not change GPU voltage, thus leaving some freedom for experiments featuring alternative ways of cooling.

Original Radeon HD 6950 graphics accelerator has easily reached clocks of Radeon HD 6970 with its default voltage Vgpu=1.1V.

After flashing the card with a patched BIOS, the clocks bumped into the same 880 MHz and 1375 MHz wall for graphics processor and memory respective. GPU voltage has not changed.

Despite some voltage increase for the case when Radeon HD 6950 2GB graphics cards is flashed with a Radeon HD 6970 BIOS, it allowed GPU to overclock by a minor 20MHz. Memory, on the other hand, did a better job — 1450MHz which, in my opinion, is quite an impressive result considering the default clock 1250MHz.

Lets summarize our 3D mode results in the table below:

Vgpu (monitoring)Vgpu (measurement)Vgddr (measurement)Fan, %Fan, RPMTgpu
Radeon HD 6950 2GB 800/1250MHz1.100 V1.11 V1.61 V37%1950 RPM86C
Radeon HD 6950 2GB @880/1375MHz1.100 V1.11 V1.61 V40%2100 RPM90C
Radeon HD 6950@70 2GB 880/1375MHz1.100 V1.11 V1.61 V40%2100 RPM90C
Radeon HD 6950@70 2GB 880/1375MHz1.175 V1.18 V1.61 V54%3000 RPM93C
Radeon HD 6950@70 2GB @900/1450MHz1.175 V1.18 V1.61 V54%3000 RPM93C

As you may see, no differences between overclocked Radeon HD 6950 2GB and its unlocked(with patched BIOS) variant in 3D mode were found. In case the card has been unlocked using HD 6970 BIOS, then GPU voltage change to 1.175 V will result in more heat generated and cause the cooler to spin faster. Among all the possible variants, Radeon HD 6950 with default clocks turn to be the most quite one.

One last thing to do is to compare the performance of original Radeon HD 6950 2GB with an unlocked (patched BIOS) variant. And we did it.


# Avatar Chris,

I picked up a Saphhire HD 6950 today. The one with dual fans and dual bios.
I was happy when I switched to the secondary bios and found the shaders unlocked. No flash necessary.

# Avatar Patrick,

doesnt work on my ASUS DCUII version. now it is unbooatble

# Avatar vralle,

What about default BIOS?

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