bconnolly wrote:ADD ONE: Fedora 16 reports graphic: Gallium 0.4 on ATI RV515. Sabayon 7 reports Gallium 0.4 on llvmpipe
Well, the problem is somewhat obvious:
FC16 runs the open source radeon driver with hardware acceleration while Sabayon 7 runs llvmpipe = software renderer.
Check your xorg.log for any reports if / why initializing the radeon driver for your graphic adapter fails.
BTW: Using the "getting rid of Catalyst" method isn't required. A more recent version of fglrx will not support card as old as your 1600. I trashed my X1900XTX somewhat two years ago when ATI declared the card to be legacy.
The open source radeon on the other hand is in quite nice shape. Even for gaming.