AMD graphics cards are no stranger to BIOS modifications to “unlock” previously unsupported functionality. Back in April, we reported of enthusiasts flashing Radeon RX 480 GPUs with the BIOS from the RX 580 in order to unleash additional performance. Now we’re hearing that the AMD’s new Radeon RX Vega 56 is ripe for BIOS modification.
Some rather enterprising folks first attempted to install a Vega 64 BIOS onto a Vega 56 in an effort to unlock additional compute units. However, these efforts were thwarted, as it appears the inactive CUs cannot be restored using BIOS trickery. However, flashing a Vega 56 with the BIOS from a Vega 64 did have one beneficial side effect: it bumped up the default clock speeds of the card.
Tweakers over at Chiphell discovered that the transplanted BIOS raised the stock clock speeds of the Vega 56 from 1471 MHz / 800 MHz (GPU boost/HBM2 memory) to 1545 MHz / 945MHz. When clocked identically to the Vega 64, the card was shown to only be 2 percent slower. What’s even more intriguing is that clock speeds were overclocked even further to 1650 MHz / 1100 MHz with absolutely no drama.
So, how did this BIOS flashing experiment play out in benchmarks? Well, here are the results that were obtained in 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme:
- Radeon RX Vega 56 (stock): 9428 points
- Radeon RX Vega 56 (with Vega 64 BIOS): 10340 points
- Radeon RX Vega 64 (stock): 10479 points
- Radeon RX Vega 56 (with Vega 64 BIOS, overclocked): 11322 points
That’s a pretty nice performance increase, and puts the modified Vega 56 in contention with its more powerful Vega 64 sibling (at least on this one benchmark). It’s especially promising given that the Vega 56 retails for $399 (if you can actually find it in stock). And there’s very little risk to flashing your BIOS, as AMD’s Radeon RX Vega cards have a dual BIOS failsafe in case you muck things up.