But is it really worth the premium? I'm planning to upgrade to a next-gen card next year.
It's worth the premium at $219. It's not worth the prices (around $264) that are being asked today when it's in stock. I don't know when R700 is arriving, but if it follows the benefits of the X3850 and X3870 over the X2900 cards, then it should be great (who ever thought that ATI would be keeping AMD afloat this holiday season?).
That's why I'll get an X3850 after all. I don't mind performance close to X2900XT with half the power and almost no noise and heat. 55nm really helped ATI, whereas AMD should have waited for 45nm for a quad core.
I'm particularly interested in an X2 6400+ in a 780G chipset board for hybrid Crossfire by February. That should improve X3850 performance by at least 5%.
Single slot cards aren't that bad if you have enough cooling. Double slot cards do a better job of getting the heat outside the case, but a side fan works too. I like buying cases that either have a side fan or a heatpipe above the CPU fan.