Need for Speed Unbound issues with the RTX 4090 can only be resolved with a VBIOS update.

A problem with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 “Ada” graphics card was discovered by Need for Speed Unbound (NFS Unbound), the newest installment of the well-known and genre-defining race sim from EA, which was released today. This issue cannot be resolved by simply updating the game or the drivers. Never before has a game needed a VBIOS update to fix issues—this is a first for the entire world.

EA claims that the game’s display flashing/blinking issue on RTX 4090-powered systems necessitates a firmware upgrade (i.e. video BIOS update). Thankfully, this avoids the tense NVFlash manual BIOS update procedure (not that there’s any risk as the majority of RTX 4090 cards ship with dual-BIOS). The video BIOS of the RTX 4090 may be updated with simplicity using the fully automated Firmware Update Tool that NVIDIA has developed and that can be used from within Windows. We verified that the system is indeed updating the video BIOS (by comparing the VBIOS dumps before and after using the tool).

We confirmed this by using the tool on a Palit RTX 4090 GameRock OC and the NVIDIA Founders Edition card, which is fascinating because it does not violate the factory-overclock or custom power constraints established by NVIDIA’s add-in card (AIC) partners for custom-design cards. It appears that the tool, rather than being optimized for certain boards, is made to operate on all RTX 4090 cards. While the BIOS checksum is unquestionably changing, it is apparently not affecting the digital signature of the BIOS. The tool is somehow able to update a specific region of the video BIOS without changing the BIOS version, its build date, or custom settings by AICs. This indicates that NVIDIA appears to have a handy way of changing certain portions of the video BIOS from within Windows without compromising its crucial digital signature, which helps prevent the computer from operating with modified firmware.