After a little while they stopped just locking the shaders and started actually laser cutting them off of the chip. They are no longer doing it that way.
Either way, most of the early models came with the reference coolers, which are not that great. The cooler on this model is much better and will be much nicer for overclocking the card. Ones like mine that you could unlock the shaders on heat up nicely, because the reference cooler sucks and sounds like a jet.
Either way, the card is still a power house, and at that price is the best buy there is right now.