FUD Zilla heard from AMD that a small number of Radeon HD 6850 press samples shipped from add-in board (AIB) partners have 1120 shaders instead of 960. The site also heard it's all in the hardware, and that it won't be possible to unlock shaders via a BIOS hack.
“Apparently a small number of the AMD Radeon HD 6850 press samples shipped from AIB partners have a higher-than-expected number of stream processors enabled.
This is because some AIBs used early engineering ASICs intended for board validation on their press samples. The use of these ASICs results in the incorrect number of stream processors. All boards available in the market, as well as AMD-supplied media samples, have production-level GPUs with the correct 960 stream processors."