Reports have begun circulating that selected retail units of AMD's latest Radeon RX 480 4GB graphics card can be magically transformed into 8GB models, thanks to an apparent dearth of the cheaper models in the supply chain.
Having two different products differentiated only by the firmware they run is nothing new in the computer industry: from 5MB washing machine sized hard drives which could have a hidden second platter unlocked with nothing more than the flipping of an internal switch to the 'binning' of processors which sees identical silicon sold at different price and performance levels, it's been common for companies to increase their SKU count 'artificially' for years. Reports that some 4GB models of AMD's latest Radeon RX 480 graphics card actually come with 8GB onboard, then, should be unsurprising - and for the lucky few, it appears possible to unlock the present-but-disabled memory for a free specification boost.
According to posters on Tweakers.net
, confirmed in a blog post
by the site, selected RX 480 4GB models have been found with 8GB of memory physically onboard. Previously, AMD had suggested that that 4GB/8GB split between the two models was hard rather than soft - despite providing 8GB models to reviewers which could be flashed with 4GB or 8GB firmware, allowing them to test out both types of card while only having to receive a single review unit.
Unfortunately for those who have been lucky enough to pay for a 4GB unit and receive one with 8GB, the BIOS files for switching between the two modes are not publicly available. WCCFtech
has confirmed, though, that a launch-day XFX Radeon RX 480 4GB purchased at retail does indeed have 8GB of onboard memory - meaning that it is unlikely to be long before a leaked BIOS appears to unlock the extra RAM of these boards, a free doubling of memory too tempting a target for hackers to ignore.