In the looks department you're not seeing anything too different to what you saw out of the HD 6950. Of course, Sapphire have added their own sticker to the card and again being a huge Battlefield fan, I love the Bad Company 2 Vietnam thing that they have going on.
It seems that Sapphire want to make sure they separate themselves from the pack this release and with the package they've put together, we'd say they're doing a good job.
In the power department we've got a little more going on this time around. While the HD 6950 carried with it two 6-Pin PCI-E power connectors, this one carries only one. It does instead carry an 8-Pin PCI-E power connector for its second one, though.
Looking at the Crossfire connectors, we've again got support for more than two cards. Here we've also got that little switch which as we mentioned in our HD 6950 review lets you switch between two different BIOS'.
To extract from my HD 6950 review; "We had seen images of this float around the net and there was plenty of speculation as to what this switch would do. Well, today we can tell you; AMD say it's a Dual BIOS option that allows for safer end user updates.
Setting 1 is unprotected for user updates, and setting 2 is protected as factory defaults. The way it ultimately works is if you flash your card and it goes wrong, you can flick the switch and boot up off the default BIOS. It mainly helps prevent the bricking of cards.
At the moment we're not 100% sure how companies are going to make use of this feature, but we're sure in the coming weeks we'll see companies like Sapphire attack it with models like the TOXIC."
Connectivity wise we've got the same setup as both the HD 6950 and HD 6870. That means two mini-DP 1.2 ports, HDMI 1.4a and two DVI ports, one Single-Link and the other Dual-Link.
The main specification boost the HD 6970 offers over the HD 6950 is the increased Stream Processors; we see it move from 1408 via 22 SIMD to 1536 via 24 SIMD. So many people expected to see 1600. It's possible that AMD are maybe keeping something up their sleeve for later, though.
Texture units have been bumped as well from 88 to 96; ROPs and Z-Stencil stay the same, though, at 32 and 128. The 256-bit memory bus is also the same along with the 2GB of GDDR5 being standard.
Clocks have been bumped, which is something you would expect. We go from 800MHz to 880MHz on the core and the memory jump from 5GHz QDR to 5.5GHz QDR.
Overclocking later down the track should yield some amazing numbers, especially when it comes to the memory clock.