There's nothing nicer than getting a new piece of hardware and finding some untapped power under the hood. Judging by what the folks at TechPowerUp are reporting, that's just what owners of AMD's new Radeon HD 6950 graphics cards can look forward to. The cards can apparently be turned into Radeon HD 6970s with a simple BIOS flash—and a reportedly high success rate.
As you'll know if you read our review, the Radeon HD 6950 and 6970 are both based on the same Cayman GPU. The 6950 simply has chunks of that GPU disabled, and it normally has a lower memory clock speed, as well. Now for the twist: TechPowerUp says currently shipping versions of the 6950 disable those Cayman chunks not in hardware, but at the BIOS level. Replace the stock BIOS with one from a 6970, the site says, and you could end up witha substantially discounted 6970.
TechPowerUp provides some instructions along with a ZIP file containing all the necessary tools. The process sounds neither overly complicated nor particularly risky. It's all done in software, and should anything go wrong, you can always use AMD's handy BIOS reset hardware switch (a new feature on 6900-series cards) to put everything back the way it was. The site reports zero issues out of more than two dozen unlocked cards, too, so the risk of even a temporary inconvenience appears small.