It appears the Steam crash at launch is triggered by having the default triple buffering enabled in the AMD Catalysts Control Center in the OpenGL settings. See: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showpost.php?p=25493732&postcount=33
Here is the fix (high-five to CatatonicMan for posting it):
I fixed the crash after startup by turning off Triple Buffering in Catalyst Control Center.
This is using the RAGE-specific AMD drivers with a pair of HD 4870s in crossfire. It is also repeatable (triple buffering on crashes game; triple buffering off does not).
For me, it is under:
CCC -> Gaming -> 3D Application Settings -> OpenGL Settings -> Triple Buffering
Last edited by CatatonicMan: 10-03-2011 at 10:20 PM.