Last week I saw a presentation from ATI about their new FireGL cards. The presenter said, that the new cards will come with new drivers that have been completely rewritten from scratch. We all know (and they know it too) that their drivers have been a weak point. That's also why I always did vote for Nvidia cards. My experience with ATI cards under 3ds max (i.e. in 2004) have been very bad. Also when I needed 3d acceleration on multi-monitor setups, ATI didn't offer that feature at all. Last time I checked (i think dec 2005/ jan. 2007) they had just release a very new driver having this feature and it didn't work very well for me, which only confirmed my choice of preferring NVidia cards.
An interesting aspect was, that he mentioned a collaboration with Dassault Systemes: as they provide one of the most widely used CAD application in the industry (CATIA) they worked with them to improve performance. He said, that once DS reported of being able to display and handle 90 million faces (? or was it vertices – sorry I don't remember anymore exactly) inside CATIA. This is done via Vertex Buffer Objects.
The cards will have up to 320 unified shader pipeline and up to 2 GB of RAM – these numbers are of course from the high-end version "V8650".