Flash your 7970 to Ghz Edition..or Not?
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Yesterday Icrontic.com posted an article stating a standard HD 7970 can be turned into a GHz Edition by simply updating the BIOS. The idea sounds logical, as we all remember how easy it was to flash a HD 6950 to a HD 6970 and the only real hardware difference between the standard and GHz Edition are improved sensors and PowerTune algorithms. With this in mind we set out to find out if Icrontic was on to something by throwing in our AMD HD 7970 in hopes we would walk away with a free upgrade.
First let’s look at the specs between the two models. A standard HD 7970 comes with a core clock speed of 925MHz and the memory is rated at 1375MHz. The GHz Edition on the other hand has a core clock speed of 1000MHz and the memory was cranked up to 1500MHz. These specs in themselves are not going to make a huge difference, but for us it really isn’t just the increased clock speed that made us want to risk our hardware, it is the prospect of being able to utilize AMD’s new Boost feature on older Tahiti XT graphics cards.
Before we get into the details of exactly how to flash a HD 7970 to a GHz Edition we have to state that this is a do at your own expense mod. RWLabs, I, nor anyone at the site takes any responsibility for damage caused by attempting to flash any graphics card, by this method or any other, so again do this at your own risk.
To start the process we downloaded the BIOS file that is needed to flash a standard HD 7970 to a GHz Edition model. The file can be downloaded here.
Once we had the file we opened it as an Administrator and started run the ATI WinFlash from within Windows.
We let the tool run for a few minutes and tried multiple times on two separate graphics cards. Each time we were attempted to flash the card we were presented with a ROM Programing Fail message and a message that showed only 1290 bytes were programed before the fail.
After the fail message we rebooted the system and both graphics card could no longer display an image when set to the default BIOS setting. Luckily the HD 7970 has the dual BIOS switch, so we were able to restore the default BIOS and save the card. Otherwise it would have been back to the factory for an RMA.
This obviously isn’t the result we were hoping for and we also didn’t have a third HD 7970 to attempt another flash. For these reasons we suggest you stick with the current BIOS version and avoid flashing your HD 7970. The difference in performance (even if successful) doesn’t out weigh the risk of attempting this flash. In the opinion of our site this flash shouldn’t be attempted unless you don’t mind the extremely high odds of bricking your $450 graphics card.