The key thing to point out is:
Originally Posted by NigelTufnel
The reason why the XT Bios does not unlock the additional pipelines can be found in the Flashrom flashing tool. It "preserves" certain ROM Bios settings when flashing another BIOS.
In the case of those desktop cards they are flashing another bios which is known to enable the 16 pipelines. All of the mr9800 cards (16p, 12p, and 8p) use the same bios so there is no bios to flash to that will give you 16 pipes. Even if you use the modified flashrom, which I have done, you will be flashing the same bios that the card had on it in the first place. If the flashrom does not preserve anything you are flashing the same bios anyways so it will not matter.
Here is another theory for you:
Whether or not you get 8p, 12p, or 16p is purely hardware related in the case of the mr9800. There are two levels of hardware protection:
1) The laser cut we all know about. Maybe the laser cut can go to different depths and therefore make it so that connecting the surface dots does not actually make the connection?
2) Something else which is not visible?
There is one other thing that has been a bit confusing so far. I would have expected some people to connect up the two dots and enable the extra pipelines (4 or 8) but then find that they have bad pipelines and have to revert back. That has not happened yet. All that has happened is some people have been unable to activate any at all. Is there something that is detecting the bad pipelines and simply not allowing them to be activated because they are bad?
So, we need to attack this problem from different angles and not get stuck on one idea which leads nowhere. That is what happened in the initial bios hacking attempts. Everyone was focused on the bios and now we have some people with 16p and no bios hacking or dead cards. We also need to consider the possibility that some cards have up to 8 bad pipelines which is why they are not being enabled when connecting the dots. Maybe ATI does something else to disable bad pipelines so they cannot be enabled but allows the good ones to be enabled or disabled via the laser cut. Any thoughts?