When the AMD Radeon RX 460 video card came out back in August 2016 with the Polaris 11 GPU it had 14 Compute Units and 896 Stream Processors since each CU contained 64 shaders. Late last week der8auer from Overclocking.Guide published a detailed guide on how to flash the BIOS on one of these cards to unlock two hidden compute units. This means the Radeon RX 460’s Polaris 11 GPU really has 16 Compute Units and 1024 Stream Processors just waiting for you to unlock them! It also unlocks 8 Texture Units, so you’ll go from having 56 to 64 of them. This means you could get up to a 12.5% performance increase by just changing the firmware on your graphics card.
The site updated the BIOS on got this to work on the Sapphire Nitro Radeon RX 460 4G and the ASUS STRIX Radeon RX 460 O4G as they tested six cards and had success with all of them.
The theoretical performance gains were 12.5% and the actual tested performance gains in a couple quick benchmarks looked to be in the 7-9% range. The ASUS RX 460 STRIX card got a 7% performance gain in The Witcher 3.
What is the downside to changing the BIOS on one of these Radeon RX 460 models? Well, the site tested with Crimson 16.11.5 video card drivers and not the latest Crimson ReLive video card drivers. This is because the Crimson ReLive drivers only work with video card that have verified BIOS signatures. Basically the cards checksum for the BIOS is different and the Crimson ReLive driver won’t load due to the failed hash check. Luckily, there is a way to force your modded BIOS to load on Crimson Relive if you wanted to jump through a ton of hoops as seen here.
Hopefully AMD will disable BIOS signature enforcement here in the near future as this is a pretty cool mod for Radeon RX 460 owners.