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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Overclock Sapphire 6950 dirt 3 edition to 6970 speeds safe?

    I just bought a sapphire 6950 dirt 3 edition from newegg, did some research and am pondering making it into a 6970.

    This requires two things: flipping the switch to unlock the shaders and overclocking the card to 6970 speeds.

    I understand that the 6970 is built with one 8 pin power connector for additional ground because the card uses more power, and the memory modules are binned at higher speeds.

    Over the years I have found that graphics cards are delicate pieces of hardware and have a high failure rate.

    Right now I am leaning towards simply unlocking the additional shaders but leaving the card at stock 6950 speeds. It simply wasn't built to be a 6970.

    I'm worried about the memory, power and the fact that it was built to be a 6950 not 6970.

    Any comments?

  2. #2
    Member SuperTuner12010's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Chaparral, New Mexico
    The main thing you should be thinking about is are you willing to brick your card? They do have very succesful rates for unlocking but why?

    Do you really need it? My XFX 6950 which has lower clocks if I believe plays any game at max settings with no hick ups what so ever. I contimplated doing it but just didnt seem worth it really.

    Just my .02
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  3. #3
    Member grumperfish's Avatar
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    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    South Florida
    Heatware Profile
    Since your card is pre-unlocked by Sapphire, I'd imagine it has the 6950 BIOS-only with shaders unlocked.

    The danger in unlocking is only that you could theoretically flash the card with the full 6970 BIOS, which changes the clocks and timing of the VRAM. The 6950 shaders-only unlock BIOS, which I'm sure that Sappire used, would only unlock the additional shaders without altering RAM speed or timings.

    Run GPU-Z and verify that it's using the 6950 BIOS (the card will register as 6950 not 6970) and that the shaders are unlocked - see the pic linked in my sig for more info. If it registers as a 6970 in GPU-Z you would want to use the 6950-only BIOS pulled via GPU-Z from your card, and unlock the shaders-only via RBE before flashing it back. If it registers as a 6950 in GPU-Z with the extra shaders, you do not need to do this.

    When I received my unlocked XFX it was flashed to the 6970 BIOS, but I rolled back to a 6950 BIOS with the shaders unlocked only due to the higher RAM speed & tighter timings of the 6970's. It wasn't having any problems with the full 6970 BIOS, but it's safer to use an unlocked 6950 BIOS instead.
    That said, it's worked great with the unlocked 6950 BIOS, and many other users with unlocked 6950's haven't had any issues, so as long as your card isn't using a full 6970 BIOS there's really nothing to worry about. Especially when it's sanctioned by Sapphire with warranty support.

    Edit: This is all assuming your card will unlock. I wasn't aware that the Dirt3 version was unlockable. The Toxic edition is pre-unlocked by Sapphire.
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  4. #4
    Member Ohioviper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    My Toxic unlocked with the switch.I have ran furmark at 1000mhz and memory at 1350 without issue. I have also been playing BF3 with these clocks. Using Trixx to bump volts to 1.25 and custom fan speeds its only running 60c in game with fan at 4700 rpms.
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