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The Radeon RX 480 can be flashed to RX 580

After many weeks of sifting through early/leaked information, the RX 500 series has officially landed and as we have known for a while, the new range is a Polaris refresh. Given that the chips under the hood are so similar, it looks like some are experimenting with flashing their older RX 400-series cards. In fact, someone has already managed to flash their XFX RX 480 with a Sapphire RX 580 BIOS.

The clever tinkerer in this case popped up on the TechPowerUp forums and goes by the name ‘Tonybonjoby’. In his post, he went over the process of flashing his XFX RX 480 with a Sapphire RX 580 BIOS.

Using TPU’s handy BIOS archive, he decided to flash the BIOS on his XFX RX 480 to a Nitro+ Limited Edition RX 580 from Sapphire. This new BIOS comes with slightly higher clocks for both the GPU and RAM. The flashed card now performs at 1411 MHz GPU and 8400 MHz GDDR5, or a 123 MHz / 400 MHz boost, respectively.  As his original XFX graphics card comes equipped with dual BIOS, he’s been able to come and go from the new settings at will, reducing his risk. His experience is continuing as we speak.

GPU-Z Screenshot after the BIOS flash

The report goes on to say that after a gruelling session of Witcher 3, his card got a little hotter than pre-mod, but still at a fairly reasonable 75~80ºC, while the voltage reached 1.188v. In exchange for the trade-off, he eked out approximately 9% of free extra perfomance. Some forum members have warned of increased wear on the VRMs, but if proven of the same quality as a “legitimate” RX 580, this point should be relatively moot.

Now that one person has successfully achieved it, we’ll likely see more attempting to reflash their RX 480s with the 580 BIOS to take advantage of the free performance bump.

KitGuru Says: While we don’t endorse voiding your GPU warranty, the 480 to 580 BIOS switch does seem fairly simple. 

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  • Rocky40

    Yep only a matter of time this would happen if he already overclocked he never really gained anything other than it saying it is a 580. They are also right as I have seen some of the new cards that were inspected do have different vrm onboard and supposed to have a different revision of GPU as well so to anyone that is gonna do this if you have not already overclocked your 480 or 470 be for warned that it may cause card loss of life in a shorter time frame than expected.

    I rememeber back when the Radeon HD 6950 to 6970 was the thing to do we had a customer buy a 6750 from us only to try to return it 3 days later saying the card did not work right. I installed it into a system and come to find it had been bios flashed to the better card and that the VRM’s were also close to being burnt out because it was black and burnt and smelled very bad. Yea we did not take the card back at this point his problem after that he was very upset we sold him a piece of junk that did not work right out of the box and he insisted on getting his money back nope did not happen. We explained to him what we knew he had done he denied it but as I was the one that installed the new card into his system I knew how the card left the building and had checked it’s spec’s with GPU-Z as well before finishing the system for him.

    When I used GPU-Z after it said 6970 and of coarse the damage on the card itself. We told him well flash it back or we could and we could and he could try to send it back for warranty. He swore at us calling me a liar he did not do it to the card I did it and he was suing us. I told him well you do whatever you feel you have to I have it all logged as to what I did when installing it and we do not mod hardware for people no matter what because it cancels out the warranty and then we become liable to replace the hardware if things go bad. He left and never heard from him again until 2 years later when he bought a new custom gaming system from us. So the point of this story is if you do the mod be ready to replace your hardware if things go wrong don’t try to blame someone else and get free stuff.

  • Zealot

    Well Rocky I had two 6950 BIOS-modded to 6970 and they worked like a charm for 4 years, until I sold them for two 280X. So I don’t know if the 480 is perfectly capable of sustaining the BIOS of the 580, but I can guarantee you that the 6950 could.

  • good reasoning,

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