He said he's not doing 3d cad, so if he intended to map for gaming then I think he needs to pick a card that performs well in the games he likes to play. He won't go wrong with nvidia or ati, but some cards as we all know perform better than others in certain engines.
As for the firegl or quantro, I think that's a waste of money for what he wants it for, i.e. no 3D CAD work.
That link I posted above has good information on soft moding nvidia cards to quantro's. ATI probably has a similar thing for firegl cards.