How to flash a graphics card ?
Flashing a graphics card is quite common among gamers and computer enthusiasts. Through this action, the user often seeks to gain performance on the GPU. Flashing can also be useful for fixing errors and other bugs in the version of the embedded software. However, this manipulation requires caution to avoid completely blocking the graphics card.
Updating the BIOS of your graphics card: what for?
In general, software malfunctions prompt to flash a graphics card. The operation consists in updating the BIOS of the computer's graphics device. Thus, it is not a simple driver update, but an intervention at the firmware level.
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Depending on the manufacturer, the embedded program may also be called vBIOS or VGA BIOS. However, these names have no impact on the operation and flashing of the firmware. Such an approach can be considered in case :
- Display problems or flashing ;
- BSoD (Blue Screen of Death);
- Blue screens linked to atikmpag.sys and other GPU error messages;
- Error 43 in the device manager (shutdown due to an unspecified problem)..
It may also be necessary to flash a graphics card to change its frequencies or How to customize the configuration of your fan. On the AMD HD6950, flashing the BIOS even allows you to unlock new features like shaders. On the other hand, firmware is sometimes unstable on new series of graphics cards.
The manufacturers thus propose patches in their updates. In this case, it is particularly important to flash the new equipment.
How to flash the BIOS of your graphics card ?
Before flashing a graphics card, you should take several precautions to avoid blocking the device or the computer. In particular, it is recommended:
- To make at least one backup of the current ROM of the graphics card;
- To connect the laptop to the power supply or to make sure that the battery holds the charge, in order to prevent any interruption during the flashing process;
- To provide another graphics card or a processor with integrated GPU (iGPU) to reinstall the original BIOS in case of trouble.
To be able to update the firmware, you will also need to know the current version of the BIOS of the graphics card. This information is accessible via the AMD or Nvidia panel, on the Windows taskbar. To do this, simply click on the graphics device panel, then on Settings and System Information.
The new version will then have to be more recent than the current firmware. In case of problem, it is better to contact computer professionals.
On the other hand, Internet users now have access to a myriad of web platforms offering graphics card BIOS. For more security, popular sites are to be preferred. Some are even recommended by the best computer brands.
It is thus a guarantee of reliability. On the other hand, atypical domain names should be avoided to protect yourself from any cyber-malware (hacking, fishing, malware…).
Once the file .ROM downloaded, the update itself requires a dedicated GPU flashing utility. Nvidia provides users with NVFlash Firmware Update Utility. On its side, AMD offers ATIFlash/VBFlash (formerly ATIWinFlash).
The latter is particularly easy to do. To flash the BIOS, you will only need
- Download the utility installation package;
- Extract, then launch amdvbflashWin, preferably in administrator mode;
- Select Save to launch the backup of the current Bios (the screen may flicker during the backup);
- After the backup, click on Load image, then choose the file .ROM of new firmware;
- Press Program ;
- Wait until the end of the flashing, then restart the computer.
The graphics card panel should display another BIOS version number at the end of this update. If not, the flashing has failed. The procedure will then have to be rechecked step by step. The problem can, for example, come from a file .ROM referring to a firmware identical to the current version.
In the worst case, the flashing failure can lead to a blocking of the graphics card. It is therefore crucial to remain vigilant at each phase of the operation.