(Starting new thread to keep things clean and tidy...
My thanks to Dior, jtt283, joe the dragon and hokiejimbo for their earlier suggestions!).
The last component needed for my new build:
a quiet video card that is easy to install and will fit comfortably into a small-to-normal sized case. Price around $125.
It's for a new system with Q6600 cpu, Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R motherboard, 4gb RAM, Raptor hard drive.
I don't have the case yet, but I'd really prefer to get one that's not a huge monstrosity. Really prefer smaller case rather than larger one.
My technical skills are limited to "insert card, twist screws... and it works!", so it's important to me that the card doesn't require any technical/mechanical skills like bending the pipes, adjusting the settings or other things. I'd just prefer something that is easy to install and works with no hassles out of the box... and that is quite quiet.
Dior recommended the silent MSI 8600GT.
I was all set to get it until I saw several reviews of the MSI 8600GT mention the pipes as too large and problems fitting in the case, need to bend pipes, etc:
No, Gundam1s. The OP will be using this PC for fashion design and graphics work; no games.
I have a 7600GT like the one Solariscs linked (the predescessor to my current 7900GS). It worked well. The stock fan, though audible under load, was not obnoxious. It is also fairly easy to replace with an aftermarket cooler later, if necessary.