I got the card yesterday, but I haven't had a chance to install it. I figured I'd run Lenvik on my 9800GTX setup first to get more datapoints for comparison. I must take a moment to gripe--at one point Lenvik decided to download a 660MB test package from a mirror that only served 70K/sec. I let it spend all night downloading, then (re)started the actual tests this morning before I left for work.
It's still running warsow.x86_64 (been doing so for almost 3 hours, consuming 100% of one CPU core).
And...this is a fail.
The Catalyst 9.12 drivers work reasonably well. The driver install script produces .deb package sets on Ubuntu 9.10 64-bit quite well, and they install and support the card without the dreaded watermark. I'm basically able to crank up Nexuiz to extremely high settings at 2650x1600 and still get >100fps.
The problem is the cooling hardware, specifically the fan. It rattles horribly enough that I can't stand to be near it. I will have to RMA this thing, and I'm not sure I'll be able to get a replacement at current stock levels.
After looking around on Google, it turns out this is a disturbingly common problem, and not just with Sapphire cards--ATI apparently botched the reference fan design and left it for the AIBs to deal with. If it wasn't for the fan rattle, this thing would probably be near silent at typical fan speeds.
It's intensely aggravating to me that ATI could design a card with such mad GPU horsepower, then basically turn it into junk with a silly, moronic engineering mistake. They really dropped the ball on this, and they can't even blame it on TSMC.