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Windows 7: Can any 6950 still be unlocked?

26 Jun 2011   #1

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 
Can any 6950 still be unlocked?

I have been debating on getting either a 6950 or a GTX 560 ti, since they have similar price points and performance; however, I would feel more inclined to grab a 6950 if they are still unlockable to a 6970 specs. I remember when they were released they were all able to do so, but I wasn't 100% sure if they have been fixed since then to stop this modification.

Also, I'd like someone's unbiased opinion on the 6950 versus Nvidia's counterpart. I'm trying not to spend any more than 250.

Lastly, should I just go for the 2gb card? I someday want to go to eyefinity since I'm only 1 monitor away. And eventually I'll get another matching card, most likely when they're less than 200.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Jun 2011   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

For a single monitor at 1920x1200 or 1920x1080 or less, it really will not make much of a difference. So either card will be fine so long as it has at leat 1GB of VRAM.


As far as which card is better ... well, I think it really comes down to personal prefernce more than anything.


ATI will offer more VRAM, and a bit better multiple monitor support on a single card.
Nvidia will offer a bit better drivers, and PhysX support for a Single monitor.

So, if you do plan on running multiple monitors, the ATI card would likely be the best choice in your situation, due to more VRAM.

I recently switched over to Nvidia and do not regret the decision in the least. I am very happy with it, and do believe the drivers are overall better. But, Im only running a single monitor too.


For flashing, I think this can still be done but with a lesser chance of it working now. (I could be wrong here here so please correct me if Im wrong)
It is a bit of a gamble though.

My advice would be to choose which card you prefer as they are stock, with no consideration towwards the flashing working.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2011   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 x64
 
 

I'm personally not more inclined to nvidia or ati either one I actually own cards from both companies right now.
That being said I would recommend xfx (who have both nvidia and ati based cards) because of their extended return policy. (double lifetime in some cases)
Even though their support can be a bit slow at times I've had one doa and 1 card that died and both were accepted for return easily enough once they were certain I had cleared the OS of involvement.
As far as unlocking the card, I have a 5850 which is that cards little brother and I have had no problems with it as of yet, though I'm only running a single 1080p monitor I do game a lot and it's been a good card, and the 6950 has a noticeably increased performance in dx11 apps.

p.s. physx is a gimmick to sell cards it doesn't do anything a decent cpu couldn't handle, and I'm honestly considering boycotting nvidia until they knock it off.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Jun 2011   #4
Microsoft MVP

Win 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote:
That being said I would recommend xfx (who have both nvidia and ati based cards)
Not anymore they don't unless you only want something like a GT240 or lower. Nvidia dropped XFX shortly after they started making ATI cards and before Fermi cards came out.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2011   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 x64
 
 

Really?
Geez nvidia is turning into MAC, they want sole control over everything. It's just making me dislike them more and more as time goes on.
They keep introducing supposedly properietary tech that can work on any processor and using it as a major selling point.
Then they blacklist xfx just because they won't make only their cards anymore....
Seriously?
I don't know where you get the impression nvidia has better drivers either.
Like I said I have both ati and nvidia products and their hit/miss rate with drivers is about the same.
The only real difference is one company seems to have it's wiki entry written by foaming at the mouth fanboys and the other company by those same fanboys.
It's really hard to see a level headed view of both companies without actually owning cards from both of them.

Raw performance is pretty much identical.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2011   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Well, unless things things have changed since my last ATI card ..

For 1 reason:
Lets take Oblivion for example and the Witcher for example.

Lets say for Oblivion I make a profile to force x16AF, x8 AA, and tripple buffering.
Lets say in The Witcher, I want everythibg Application managed, but force Vsync.

With My ATI card, I created these profiles and enabled them at the start of each gaming session, for whichever game I was playing.
Then when done, set it back to default.


With my Nvidia card, I just create the profile. It automatically enables the setttings I make for each game when launched, and reverts when the game closes.


Not to mention, there were a couple games I have that had some screen tearing.
Vsync would fix the issue, but could not be forced through CCC and not avaialable in game.
It required Riva Tuners DXOverRide to get it to stick.

Those same problematic games, all work with Nvidia right through the CP, no extra software needed.



Of course, some of this may change. And for me, little things like this just make it it much easier.
Not saying ATI is bad at all, have ATI in 2 other PCs here. But when it comes to gaming, profiles, and getting settings to stick .. Ive had less issues with my Nvidia card.

Now something like this may not even matter to everyone. But if like me, and you have lots of installed games and many with certain profiles .. it does.


I think performance sometimes really depends on the game & what you play the most.
And by that I mean, a ATI card will always have the advantage if the game was designed with ATI/AMD cards in mind.
And same for Nvidia.
Even though these advantages may be small.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2011   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 x64
 
 

Ati has a similar profile system now, you can even download pre-made profiles for popular games, though I've never used it, because I've found many settings to just be performance suckers at the 1080p resolution you run things at these days. I've also found forcing settings through either catalyst or the nvidia control center to make things less predictable and in fact even to reduce performance. Just about everything but console ports give you solid control over settings these days in application anyway.

I have played a lot of games over the years with the nvidia logo stamped on them.
I honestly have never noticed a difference.

The only thing I've noticed that is consistent between the two is in some games ati AA will be much more effective and in other nvidia AA will seem to be more effective.
It really seems to be a coin toss though with no clear reason as to why this is.

In the past I would usually recommend ATI first based solely on the price difference, nvidia has managed to close that gap considerably in the last few years though.

To a degree it's personal preference I suppose but having owned both I have never found a single feature that just inspired fanboyism in me for one or the other.
I'm generally of the same mind about amd / intel too
Though currently I am recommending the i7 2600k chip to people that want to overclock because it over clocks so easily.
Of course amd has a similar chip as well but price being about equal I suggest the one I have personal experience with.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2011   #8

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

I noticed another thing about most ATI cards as well. It seems that they don't suck as much power as the Nvidia cards. This actually makes a difference to me, because according to this post, 2 6950s require less than 2 GTX 560 tis. With that being said, my PSU is a 750 watt, so I would be better off going with ATI since there is some chance I want to crossfire.

I know it all comes down to preference, but I was also wondering if ATI's eyefinity is any better than what NVidia is doing? I think I'm going to go with the 6950. Can anyone point out where to find a guide on this site to flashing them? Correct me if I'm wrong but don't most of the new 6xxx cards have a dual bios? I would feel a lot better about doing this if so.

Also, I'll check out XFX. I have never purchased anything from them and I wasn't sure how reliable they were, but I supposed if the warranty is that good, I might give them a shot.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2011   #9
Microsoft MVP

Win 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote:
I was also wondering if ATI's eyefinity is any better than what NVidia is doing?
One big difference, Eyefinity only requires one card for up to 3 monitors. Nvidia's equivalent,

System Requirements

requires 2 cards in SLI.

Quote:
With that being said, my PSU is a 750 watt, so I would be better off going with ATI since there is some chance I want to crossfire.
You wouldn't be running SLI without a change in motherboard to one that supports it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2011   #10

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

I didn't even realize that motherboards had to be SLI certified. I just figured all motherboards that had 2 PCI express slots could do it. So I guess that limits me to ATI in that aspect as well? I honestly prefer ATI(or AMD now) because that's what I've had for my last 4 cards. I have never owned an Nvidia card, and I was wondering if I should give them a shot. I'll put that off until another build, when I have extra cash to blow.

I guess I'll go with the 6950 and see what I can do about flashing it if I feel the need. Is it a noticable difference flashing it in the first place? If it's only like a 2% boost or something impossible to notice, I probably won't even bother.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Can any 6950 still be unlocked?




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