The problem is, new drivers often bring support for NEW games that might be lacking in older releases. I believe this is true for Starcraft II and ATI 10.3 and older.
ATI seems to have used a different installation routine and other changes that started in 10.5 or so where some users have problems.
Its best to uninstall everything ATI option in the windows control panel before updating.
I know people get away not doing that, but I believe its recommended.
Newer drivers fix problems with some applications and games. The reason a GPU would overheat after a driver update would be the fan profile was changed, nVidia had that problem with a driver version, They pulled that version off and put on a new version as fast as they could. I have a HD4870X2 and I have used the newest drivers all the time. Even if the drivers did not list a fix for that card.
Its just like a BIOS update, Some people will not update a BIOS unless they need to. Some update with every BIOS version available.
The big difference between a BIOS update and a driver update is if a driver update goes bad you can roll back a driver or god forbid have to reinstall you OS, If a BIOS update goes bad you can brick the MB.
If I was you I would try 10.9, I did not install 10.8, Because I was using my Linux box for the past few months, So I went from 10.6 to 10.9 for Windows 7 x64 and I have not had a problem, If you have problems with a driver version, just go back to a stable driver, or wait until a new version is released,
1) "You should use the ATI Catalyst drivers that were current for your video card, not necessarily the latest ones."
Well, the claim is generally false, but sometimes fixing something that is not a problem can cause the issues. So if you're comfortable with the features, stability and performance of a driver version you're using, it's best to leave it at that, unless that new version has features and/or performance improvements you want.
2) "Some ATI Catalyst drivers (10.x) can overheat certain components (like chips and transistors) on certain cards."
It's generally just recommended to just wait when a new driver version is released.
Because sometimes there's a chance there's something seriously wrong with the release that could kill hardware. Both Forceware and Catalyst drivers did have driver versions that has serious flaws in it's fan settings that could easily cause overheating.
As a general rule: If it aint broke, don't fix it. Drivers, on the whole, don't add significant increases in performance over time, so I tend to wait for VERY stable versions before updating. (EG: 9.12 -> 10.4). Right now, from everything I hear secondhand, I'll personally stick with 10.4.
Well common sense told me to stick with 10.4, but I went ahead and upgraded to 10.9 anyway and have had no problems so far.
If I get a single freeze hard lock, I'll be running straight back to 10.4, though, as with those I never got a single freeze.
Benchmarks on games I play were similar with 10.4 and 10.9 under exact same conditions.
You hear a lot of negativity about driver releases. 10.9 has lots of whiners but just how many people find them fine and aren't whining?
There is a vocal minority of unlucky people out there; I've been one of those before.
This is why I decided not to buy a 5k series card as the driver out right suck depending on the game. I liked how my older ATI cards run any thing at the very least right like my x1900xt, 2400pro, and 3870 sound reliable cards. Drivers for ATI have been crap depending on what you are using and what you are trying to do. Drivers are what screwed up their TV tuners, 200 series worked and was rock solid. Any thing newer woe on to those who have bough them. Had two TV wonder 550 pci and one died while drivers for the other was horrible in winsta x64.
I did have problems with version 10.7. It seemed to randomly check the enable manual fan control on it's own. At first, that would leave the fan stuck at 20% until I caught on and set the manaul setting higher before I unchecked it again.
That problem definately could have cause overheating issues for people.
10.6 were the ones that gave me the most grief. Freezes and sound loops aka hard locks (I have 5770). Although, when I think back, it could have been that I had traces of the drivers that came with the installation disc and that was the cause.
Back then I didn't know about Driver Sweeper and CCleaner. Both are great apps for getting rid of remnants before you install your drivers.
10.6 could have been fine, I repeat. It might have just been my ignorance.