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Another question (I ask, because I have here 10 notebooks with different graphicchips and all are working fine with both kinds of suspend):
Do you use a custom kernel?
Do you use suspend or suspend2 (patch from tuxonice)?
In Kernel 184.108.40.206 and higher (may be also before, I didn't realize it earlier) suspend-to-RAM and suspend-to-disk are included in the kernel sources. There is no patch needed to have a working suspend.
I am running a 23.9 kernel based on Pat's generic-smp config for slackware 12. The only thing I have changed is to have ext3 support built in and specifiying athlon/opteron. For all the other options that changed from 21 to 23 I used the default values.
As far as I experienced there are no problems with ATI's driver. Both kinds of suspend are working here without any problems. I use a script with these lines (I call it as user in group wheel with sudo and option NOPASSWD):
echo -n disk > /sys/power/state # change disk to mem for suspend-to-RAM