Checking out the card, we're seeing the Twin Frozr III cooler which is the latest incarnation of the popular Twin Frozr series cooler. Overall the design isn't too surprising; it's just a beefier version of the previous one and should do a good job cooling our card once we start to overclock it.
Looking across the top of the card, we've got two 8-Pin PCI-E power connectors at the back and closer to the front we've got our two CrossFire connectors. You can also see to the left on the raised bit of PCB a little switch like we've seen from other HD 6900 series cards. This switch actually has two settings which give you the ability to unlock higher clock speeds in Afterburner. For the core we didn't find it all that handy, but for the memory it was, as achieving the standard 6000MHz is so easy.
Also across the top but moving to the middle of the card we've got three little plugs that our little voltage adapters plug in to, so the core, AUX and memory voltage can all be read. Most users won't have a need for this, but if you're going to be going crazy with something like LN2 you may find it useful.
Connectivity is the same as other HD 6970s we've seen. That means a Single-Link and Dual-Link DVI connector, HDMI connector and two Mini-DP connectors. The gold plated connectors also look awesome and just add another touch to the card.
Out of the box the HD 6970 Lightning indeed comes pre overclocked, but as usual it's not much of an overclock and instead it's up to you to get the most out of the card. This is the main reason why you choose this card over something else; because you want to overclock yourself which is exactly what we did.
Before we quickly cover what we achieved with our overclock, let's first cover the out of the box clocks. MSI have bumped the core up from 880MHz to 940MHz on the core which isn't bad at all. As for the 2GB of GDDR5, that's at the default 5500MHz QDR clock that's seen on the reference HD 6970. It would've been nice to see MSI bump the memory clock up a little, but it comes as no surprise that they didn't.
As nice as the HD 6970 Lightning clocks are out of the box, it's all about overclocking the card. With Afterburner running and our Core, AUX and Memory voltage sliders at the peak of their ability, we managed to bump the core up to 1015MHz and the memory up to an extremely impressive 6260MHz QDR.
To date the highest HD 6970 overclock we had achieved was 980MHz on the core and 6000MHz QDR on the memory on a reference designed card, so this is a nice increase over that.