Overclocking to the highest: another way to improve performance of GeForce 6600 and 6200 AGP
In our previous material, we reviewed two topical to date mainstream AGP video cards – Leadtek A6600 (GeForce 6600) and Sparkle GeForce 6200 based on NV43. Since video cards like these are bought mainly with the purpose of overclocking and making the most of performance in mind, we drew increased attention to that in our previous material. In particular, we made an attempt to enable all the eight pixel pipelines in GeForce 6200 using Riva Tuner of the most recent version (currently, that is v2.0 RC 15.4). The experiment proved successful – a video card worth <100$ was «transformed» into a GeForce 6600, which immediately affected the performance to the best as you can judge by the results of benchmarking.
The results of overclocking the other tested specimen - Leadtek A6600 - turned out to be a fly in the ointment because we were able to squeeze no more than 420 MHz on the core out of it. However, the solution was quite simple - many owners of Leadtek's 6600 have come up against the problem of poor overclocking. That is sad really because at all the other parameters the Leadtek's solution was a perfect match for upgrade – reasonable price, abundant package bundle, high quality typical of all the company's produce.
In this case, we've got an excellent way of improving the overclocking potentials - reflashing it with the BIOS from a card of another manufacturer. Today, we'll try a few options like that.
Let me put it straight right now - any interference is all at your own risk. Our experiments can be a pattern, but we disavow any consequences of your actions and shall no be liable if not all went well with your card.
Having stressed out this important aspect, let's move on to another experiment we've had today. As we have already stated, we were able to activate all the four pixel pipelines in Sparkle GeForce 6200 (NV43-V) programmatically, which made the video card turn to a full-featured analog of GeForce 6600 (remember that the card is equipped with 128Mb of Hynix memory having 3.6ns access time and a 128-bit data transmission bus. The nominal frequencies are 300/550MHz).
However, we were interested in what happens if we remake the card to a GeForce 6600 through reflashing it with the BIOS taken from a genuine GeForce 6600 video card made by Sparkle? Will that remake affect the overclocking results? Remember that after the programmatical activation of pixel pipelines we were able to overclock Sparkle GeForce 6200 to 450/700MHz.
Again we are not liable for the consequences of your actions. But we do wish you good luck in the experiments - it's so nice to get a video card bought for small money that pleases the owner by excellent overclocking and respective performance boost.
Well, let's start with GeForce 6600. The first issue we came across after analyzing the conferences of people who have already experienced reflashing the BIOS and share their ideas is that there was no way getting an FDD and a floppy. But - if that is the only issue, not all is that bad, so after some rummaging in the tables we finally found the tools.
On the whole, we'll need the following components:
First, use a clean unformatted floppy where you write the image of the BIOS to flash with nvFlash (better write it to the root directory. Name the BIOS file in the 8.3 format (e.g., A:>asus6600.rom). Reboot your computer (enter the BIOS and set the floppy drive as the first boot-up device). Once booted with the floppy, in the command-line prompt (A:>) type nvflash –b old_bios_name.rom. This instruction is needed to store the current flashing on the floppy. The name must be in the 8.3 format without spaces. That done, we get the line «saving of image completed», and in the root of the floppy there will be the file old_bios_name.rom which is the original BIOS of your video card that will be of much use further especially if you decide to revert back, so it's advisable that you store the file. Now let's move on to reflashing the BIOS. To that end, type nvflash -4 -5 -6 new_bios_name.rom . DON'T suspend the process, DON'T reboot, press Y to confirm and stay quiet. It is a good idea if during the procedure your PC be powered from an UPS. Once we get the message «update successful»,
remove the floppy and reboot (if the bootup sequence was changed, enter the BIOS and restore the original setting). That's it, pour yourself some beer. If while booting up the OS is unable to find the new video adapter, remove the currently selected one from the list in the device manager and perform a search for new hardware. The sad thing is that BIOS replacement is not always successful. Below, we'll tell about one of the options to resort to whenever you come across issues with reflashing the BIOS. First, you will need a PCI video card. With this useful tool, proceed as follows:
- Remove the AGP video card out of the system, install a PCI adapter, plug in a monitor to it;
- Reboot, and in the BIOS enable the Init Display First at PCI parameter, save the settings;
- Shut down the system, insert the AGP card damaged by reflashing;
- Boot up the system using a floppy, flash the original BIOS (the procedure is similar to that described above);
- Reboot, and in the BIOS enable the Init Display First at AGP parameter, save the settings;
- Make sure all is operative, power off the PC, remove the PCI adapter;
- If you are still enthusiastic, proceed with reflashing another BIOS
We hope you have successfully experimented with reflashing the BIOS and the above procedure for restoring the original BIOS was not needed. What's next?! Next is overclock, and overclock. But prior to getting down to the most important part of today's material - comparative benchmarking - there is another interesting thing to tell: enabling the thermal monitoring through editing the BIOS. For that, NiBiTor of most recent version (in our case, it was 2.0à) will be perfect.
On the File tab, select Open BIOS, open the file with the BIOS flashed into your video card, switch to the «Temperatures» tab and enable the «Enable 6600GT temp monitor trick» option
On the File tab, select Save BIOS, save it on the floppy and then reflash it. That done, a tab of temperature monitoring should be available in the driver options. Note that this modification is not mandatory.
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