Guide: How to Flash AMD GPU VBIOS for RX 5600 XT and Navi Video Cards

By Published January 22, 2020 at 1:06 am

The AMD RX 5600 XT Jebaited Edition video cards launched yesterday, and the company created a mess by completely changing what the video card was meant to do before launch. Basically, it initially shipped as more of a 1660 Super competitor, but ended up being overhauled to become a 2060 competitor. This is overall a good thing from a price competition standpoint, but a horrible mess for buyers and manufacturers of the cards. The update came in the form of a VBIOS flash that can increase performance upwards of 11%, but not all the shipped cards have the VBIOS applied, meaning customers will be buying cards that perform worse than what reviews show. Worse still, some cards will never have that VBIOS available, with some partners splitting their 5600 XT into two SKUs. It’d sort of be like if the 1660 and 1660 Super were sold under a single name, but with two completely different performance classes. In today’s content, we’re going to help you flash 5600 XT cards to unlock the full performance, assuming your card has made such a VBIOS available. This will also apply to other AMD video cards.

 

We don’t often do tutorials these days. For the full story on the 5600 XT, check our review. For this, we’re going to focus on getting straight to the walkthrough. There are some disclaimers we need to cover first:

Disclaimers, Warnings, Prep

  • It’s possible to brick your video card if you force flash a VBIOS that isn’t compatible with the device. It’s also possible to recover, more on that in a bit. Use all of this at your own risk.
  • It’s important that you ensure the VBIOS is for the specific card you have. If there’s a “Base” and “OC” SKU, that could matter and should be carefully checked
  • This process will increase the power consumption of the card by anywhere from 10W to 30W, depending on the model and test
  • Some of the 5600 XT cards are not designed in a way to as readily cope with the increased power consumption, which could mean running hotter or louder than desirable. You can always manually increase fan speeds or flash back later
  • Sometimes when flashing VBIOS, you’ll get an error message that it didn’t work. Using a bootable USB key will bypass this, but you really need to make sure the VBIOS is correct
  • Finally, this is really important: For video cards with dual BIOS, it IS possible to flash both at once without restarting by just toggling the switch. DO NOT DO THIS. It’s tempting and it’s the lazy way out, but if you screw up or if something goes wrong, you will no longer have a backup VBIOS. Technically, if you make a .BAT file and put it on your desktop, you could blindly navigate to the file and run it without having display out. That’d fix and recover it.

Steps:

  1. Download the VBIOS update from the video card vendor official website. If not listed publicly, contact their support and provide the part number or product number. Make absolutely certain that it matches. Example: Powercolor’s website for its cards.
  2. Download AMDVBFlash. We’ve uploaded it here. If that's not available for some reason, doing a search for "ATIFlash" on TechPowerUp will get you the same utility with a different name.
  3. Make sure your card has its VBIOS switch set to the position that you want to flash, if it has a switch. Not all cards do. Make sure you know which is OC and which is Silent VBIOS.
  4. Launch AMDVBFlash as administrator
  5. Save the current VBIOS by clicking “Save.” Give it a name and save it on the local system in the AMDVBFlash folder to make future recovery possible in case you need to navigate blindly. The recovery batch file is detailed below. The sample batch file will have to be updated if you change these names or locations. Don’t put any spaces in the name. We’d also encourage saving it to a bootable USB key. It’s good practice to hold onto the old VBIOS and make backups before flashing for multiple reasons: The new one might make your card worse if something is done wrong, but it’s also good in case you ever need to RMA the card and want to make sure they don’t know you tampered with the VBIOS.
  6. RECOVERY BREAK-OUT: At this point, it might be worth creating a batch file on the desktop that you can run blind. To run it blind, you’d obviously boot to Windows normally, type your password if applicable and hit enter if applicable, click anywhere that you think is the desktop – you could hit windows+D to minimize everything in the event Windows popped previous sessions up – and then type the first few letters of the batch file name. Make sure they aren’t the same as something else. You could then hit enter to run it blind and recover your card in the event the VBIOS flash fails. Note that if you have dual VBIOS, you can always boot to the other VBIOS, switch the switch into the bricked VBIOS once in Windows, and then flash the card’s bricked VBIOS. Reboot and make sure it worked before trying to flash your backup VBIOS. We’d recommend only ever flashing one and leaving the other alone as a permanent backup.
    1. Note: To make a batch file, right-click the desktop and do new text file, then rename it to recovery.bat. Make sure you have the Windows folder options configured that allow you to rename file extensions. Make sure you unhide file extensions in Windows so that you know it isn’t recovery.bat.txt, because that won’t help you. If you need to rename it blind, you can use F2, then ctrl+A to select the name, then type a new name.
    2. Find the steps to create the batch file below.
    3. If your card comes back black and there’s no display output, you can now click the desktop and type recovery.bat to launch the application and try to auto restore the old VBIOS file. Wait about 10 minutes to be safe, then restart the system
  7. You’re now ready to click Program and select the new VBIOS file. Restart when complete.

Creating a Batch File for Blind Recovery

To do this properly, you need to do a few steps yourself, as we can't see your specific system.

Start by launching command prompt as administrator. Use "cd" commands to navigate (change directory) to the folder with amdvbflash in it. Once you are in the same directory as "amdvbflash.exe," follow these steps:

amd vbflash i

  1. Type "amdvbflash -i" to get the ADAPTER ID from the list. Typically, this is "0"
  2. Make sure your RECOVERY ROM is located in the same directory as "amdvbflash.exe." This will make things easier.
  3. Create a batch file (.bat) on desktop. You will need to (a) choose a name that you can remember and type to navigate to blind, (b) turn on Windows file extension viewership, and (C) make sure it is not a .bat.txt.
  4. To test that the basics are working, add the following temporary text:

cd "[LOCATION OF AMDVBFLASH]"
amdvbflash -i
pause

This will pop-up a CMD window and hold after changing to the directory with amdvbflash, then it will try to run amdvbflash -i (which you just ran). That should show you a successful output of display devices. If you see the same output you did a moment ago, the file is working.

  1. Clear everything in the batch file and change it to the following:

cd "[LOCATION OF AMDVBFLASH]"
amdvbflash -f -p "[DEVICE ID HERE]" "[NAME-OF-BACKUP-ROM.ROM]"
pause

batch file test

WARNING: THIS WILL FORCE THE VBIOS FLASH. MAKE SURE IT IS CORRECT FOR YOUR CARD. YOU CAN BRICK THE CARD.

Do not delete the quotation marks. Do delete the brackets.

  1. That's it. If you want to test it, it will attempt to re-flash your existing VBIOS that you already saved back onto it in the earlier steps. It should be the VBIOS from your "SAVE" step in the software. Make sure the switch (if relevant) is in the same position it came from. Once it re-flashes the VBIOS on there, reboot to confirm that it worked. That's the same VBIOS as currently on the card, unless you've done something in between, and so it will work and nothing will change. This validates that you have a recovery process available. Put the .bat on the desktop so you can locate it blind.

If you get an error message, first quadruple-check everything and make sure you’re trying to flash the correct file and that everything matches. The board partner should have instructions on the product ID or serial number versus the VBIOS file. If everything matches, you can force a flash by making a bootable USB key with AMD’s flashing utility on it. We will provide these files in our links below as well. You can then use command prompt to apply a flag to force the flash. That will also be detailed below. If it doesn’t match, you won’t have any protections to stop it from attempting to apply, so it’s possible you could get a black screen if mismatched.

That’s it. This is all kind of messy by AMD, but hopefully this helps you all with unlocking the full performance of cards that have more to offer. Keep in mind again that not all cards are built for these higher power limits, so you may end up running hotter than desired depending on the model.

Editorial, Testing: Steve Burke
Video: Andrew Coleman

Last modified on January 22, 2020 at 1:06 am
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

We moderate comments on a ~24~48 hour cycle. There will be some delay after submitting a comment.

Advertisement:

  VigLink badge