A few days ago we reported, based on findings of Speedy1612 from PC Games Hardware forum, that the R9 290 can be unlocked to a fully fledged R9 290X via BIOS update. Apparently it looks like the latest mass production models are not unlockable anymore.
In the beginning it looked like chances for successful unlocking were at almost 100 percent when using a R9 290 graphics card from Powercolor or XFX. Underneath the coolers of these cards, there was a fully equipped AMD Hawaii GPU, which featured the product number 215-0852000, which is basically the chip AMD was using for the flagship R9 290X.
Rumors say, that this might either have been very clever marketing or AMD simply had to find a way how to cope with shortages.
After a few days investigation it looks like only R9 290 graphics cards, which have a chip from before the 38th production week can be unlocked. All cards with chips after production week 38 can't be unlocked anymore. AMD is still using Hawaii 215-0852000 chips on their R9 290 cards, but these GPU come with quality issues that a certain amount of shaders needs to be deactivated and meanwhile these "faulty" shader are cut off by laser cutting.