We mentioned in our standalone review that there was really more to the HD 5970 than just what meets the eye. We also covered the fact that ATI have kind of pushed this whole thing about the HD 5970 being "Unlocked." At first glance it's a little hard to figure what exactly ATI mean when they're saying this. Generally speaking, in the computer world the term "Unlocked" tends to refer to a CPU and the fact that it is multiplier unlocked.
So, what does this whole "Unlocked" mean for ATI's latest giant card? Well, you can't enter some secret key combination and unlock more stream processers or ROPs, nor is there a secret to gaining extra memory. What ATI mean by saying the model is "Unlocked" is its overclocking ability.
Initial thoughts on the overclocking potential of the model was that it would be alright, but not great. If it was going to be so good, why didn't the model come out of the factory faster? If the OC potential is so good, why has Sapphire strapped the overclock name to the model and only given us a 10MHz core bump and 40MHz QDR memory bump?
To be honest, we're not sure what the answers to these questions are. All I can tell you is that many hours was spent trying to find the maximum overclock and what we achieved was surprising to say the least; and when I say least, I mean the absolute very least.