Originally Posted by Rastalovich
I still haven't understood the reasoning behind this bios switching feature, especially with release time being in conjunction with the 6970.
My first thoughts were not of flashing the 6950 to 6970, but of "new" revisions of it's own bios coming out that may be fine tuned, that were perhaps not ready at the time of launch. Custom ones or what-have-you.
If the 6950 worked exactly as a 6970 - there would be no reason to try to sell the 6970.
The concept is good tho if it means that if a bios fails or has undesirable effects, you 'switch' to the standard one. I have a feeling this is not how it's perceived tho.
Maybe the idea is that you switch to 6970, but for the love of god - don't keep it on there 24/7 ? They can't be thinking that. They'd surely have an extending switch that'd be easy for the user to use. Or more ingenius, just a keyboard selection during post.
From the oem pov tho, I can't see them thinking performance.
It makes perfect sense when you think about it. Having the dual bios has many advantages. First the average customer can flash update to the cards bios without worrying about turning they're card into a paperweight. Second enthusiast can experiment with different bios settings without worrying about turning they're card into a paperweight. Third the OEMS can hold out the carrot of a flash upgrade to the overclockers and enthusiasts. Most consumers are not going to flash the bios of they're graphics card, if they want more performance they will pay the extra money for the more powerful card. Overclockers and enthusiasts on the other hand will. So for the overclocker getting 6970 performance out of a 6950 is as easy as doing a bios flash.
Now you would think that is bad for AMD/ATI and they're OEM partners. Well think again, the cayman chips in the 6950 are the same as in the 6970. The difference is in the binning. The 6950's binn slightly lower than the 6970's some of the time. The reality is that the fab process is very good so 95+ of all caymans bin at 6970 rates. That said, AMD sells the 6950 cayman to the OEM at a lower price then the 6970. Basically the OEM's margin on a 6950 is the same as on 6970. As a result they are not at all put off by enthusiasts turning 6950's into 6970's. In fact both AMD and the OEM kind of encourage it.
Don't you think its funny that the only difference between the cards is the power connector. That is to say that the reference cards even use the same voltage regulators. Don't you think it's odd that the 6970 does not need two eight pin connectors because one eight pin and one six pin provide plenty of power, even with a little overclocking. Well that is not an accident it is by design. ATI's goal is to take market share from Nvidia and to that end it is working.
When you think about it, you realize how smart the marketing is. Give the overclockers and enthusiasts what they want at an untouchable price. It won't hurt sales because overclockers and enthusiasts make up a very small part of the market. That is the point though, they may only make up a small part of the market but it is a very influential part of the market. Basically what I am trying to say is that enthusiasts can drive market share and brand loyalty in the GPU space. This technique has been used in other industries to great effect. Now it is being used in the GPU market.
Anyway, the good news for us all is that we are going to see falling prices in mid product lines of both companies. That means excellent deals for all of