Unlike with the ATI RV770 launch where we were able to report on their evolutionary leap in Linux support through providing same-day Catalyst drivers and many other feature improvements and also had out Radeon HD 4850 and Radeon HD 4870 Linux benchmarks. This time around though, we have nothing. We have no Evergreen hardware in hand and have not even received any technical briefings on this new hardware.
About all we know is that the Radeon HD 5850/5870 graphics cards should be working with either the Catalyst 9.9 or 9.10 proprietary driver releases. It's anticipated that there would be a similar level of support in terms of features to that of the current Radeon HD 4000 series (R700) support. Earlier this month AMD did release a 24 display Linux demo using Eyefinity Technology found on these new ATI Radeon HD 5800 series graphics cards, but that is using an internal Catalyst driver release.
In regards to open-source support for the Radeon HD 5800 series, we would expect initial mode-setting support to appear within the xf86-video-ati driver within weeks and hopefully we will also see kernel mode-setting support shortly thereafter or around time of the Linux 2.6.33 kernel, We would expect it to be at least a couple of months before there is any open-source 3D acceleration support for these new graphics cards.
When we manage to get our hands on the ATI Radeon HD 5850/5870 graphics cards we will have our in-depth review with plenty of graphics benchmarks.