But I had my reasons for buying these cards.
- They were the cheapest HD6950 cards from a known manufacturer.
- They had a non-reference cooler which performance much better than the reference cooler.
- They came with a ~10% factory overclock
- I thought 1GB was enough because I didn't see myself buying a 1600p display or multiple 1080p monitors. (But still there are games that use more than 1GB VRAM even at 1080p)
People increase it when overclocking. But my cards don't have it. I reinstalled drivers and did everything possible to get it to show up, but it never showed up. Something was wrong with the overdrive settings. It could be that Gigabyte fiddled with the firmware to get the factory overclock stable. We'll never know.
Anyways, I was adventurous. I ignored the error and proceeded with modifying the BIOS file. With the heart pounding, went with the flash and I was successful. Both cards unlocked fine. The following are the exact steps I followed.
- Saved the bios file from gpu-z (5.6)
- Opened up RBE 1.28. got the error about overdrive thingy, ignored. (wth!)
- Changed shader count to 6970 (didn't touch anything else)
- Saved bios and opened through winflash 2.01.13 (the one before latest as per today)
- Flashed, rebooted, checked GPU-Z
(Some steps might not be required, but I did so to be extra safe.)
Also note that for some people unlocking doesn’t work at all. For some, they need to short out the BIOS write protection pins. But for few other lucky guys like myself, unlocking is a walk in the park.