1 why are you asking that question here? check my sig for the 79xx thread, very gpu savvy ppl in there ~ although they will probably give you the same answer you got here and didnt like ....
2 7970=280 or 280x i dont keep up with it. people are flashing bios and working fine.
3 saphire, xfx, msi, all have high reputations, although all have had their complaint threads.... however with AMD it is best to buy ref unlike nvidia, at least with current gen there really is not a non ref board to match .... i do not see amd not continuing the tradition with the new gpus
4 you really do come off as the aggressor here. just personal advice, keep it clean i can see a mod cleaning here soon.
5 nvidias cant keep up with higher res as their memory bus is slower.
6 i would agree that a 290x might be overkill and i would suggest borrowing or buying a used 7970/7950 for testing as it is a 280/280x ( not sure sorry, been working way way way too much to keep up ) ppl even are having stories of flashing a 7950 and unlocking the extra shaders.... awesome !~
7 i would highly highly highly recommend spending more then that on a wireless adapter ( granted you were not asking ) ~ 50, for me the 15~20 always loose connection and i assume you play online games of some form
8 please do yourself a favor in case you dont know and get a quality psu for it, wont need to be big but the quality of the power will kill your new flagship gpu.....
feel free to disregard.