I have an ATI 8500 LE card, in my my box. The motherboard is a via MVP3 chipset. I haven't been able to get 3D acceleration working with the ati-6.9.0 server.
I think it might be a DRM module problem, but I'm not sure. I posted it as a bug at the freedesktop.org bugzilla.
Thank you again to the good folks here who have guided me along. Hopefully this bug will get SMASHED.