Since my previous post about the intel X.org driver and the i830 chipset, Keith has fixed the remaining issues and as far as I can tell, everything is working as expected. Specifically, the load detection code now works and can see whether or not there's an external monitor connected, scaling of non-native panel modes work, and the output code does a better job of automatically assigning CRTC to outputs.
If anybody out there with i830 laptops wants to give this a spin, that'd be great. The master branch in the xf86-video-intel git repository should work out of the box, or you can try one of these RPMs, if you have at least a 1.3 X server:
Once rawhide gets rolling again, we'll push it in there, and if everything goes well, phase out the old bios-based driver.