It's been quite an eventful week since AMD took the veil off of its latest graphics card, the Radeon RX 480. Right out of the gate, murmurs of issues began to surface around the internet, largely focusing on the amount of power that gets pulled through a motherboard's PCIe slot. While AMD acknowledges that this is happening, it has continued to reassure us all that there's no actual problem.
As we reported just the other day, a fix is en route, in the form of an updated driver. That should have been here by now, but AMD is taking its time on this one, and now promises that we'll see it within the next couple of days.
But excess PCIe power draw isn't the only thing that makes this latest AMD launch an interesting one. As it happens, some (or perhaps all) launch cards that ship with 4GB of GDDR5 can be unlocked to 8GB. You read that right: vendors apparently shipped these initial cards with 8GB, but simply used a different BIOS to limit them to 4GB. It's a quaint solution, and one that's just begging to be messed around with.
The folks at techPowerUp decided to test this theory, and did so by running out and purchasing a Sapphire 4GB model. Sure enough, once the card was flashed with an 8GB card's BIOS, the framebuffer doubled in size.
In case you are worried that this is a matter of the readings being screwed up due to the different BIOS, that's not the case. With the new BIOS, this "modded" card was hit with tests used to fill up the framebuffer, and as seen in the above screenshot, all 8GB filled right up.
If you have a launch card with 4GB of VRAM and are interested in trying the mod out for yourself, you can source the flash tool and BIOS at the URL below. Ideally, you should crack open your card first and make sure that it has a full 8GB worth of chips, but you should note that doing so may void your warranty. As always with these kinds of things, tread carefully!