Buy your card from a company with a good return policy. I say this because Maya is meant to be compatible with the Quadro Nvidia cards, so you could end up with serious graphic anamolies that make Maya borderline unusable. I know this from personal experience.
7950 GT - had issues with Maya, but installing Quadro drivers did fix the issues.
BFG8800GT 512 meg OC - Same issues as the 7950 GT, but I recall not being able to get Quadro drivers installed like I could with the 7950, so I returned this card.
EVGA 8800GTS 512 meg - Worked like a champ with the standard Geforce drivers in Maya. I have absolutely no idea why the 8800GT wouldnt work while the 8800GTS would work when they are practically the same card.
I remember having good luck with consumer level ATI cards with Maya. I'm not as up to speed on ATI offerings, but they do offer some very competitive cards at a good price. If Maya is of utmost importance to you, then you may want to consider an ATI card if you are looking for more of a budget offering.
thanks for the info guys! didn't hear nuffin about the 9800....me waits for more info/pricing.
super: thanks for that run down...its the kind of thing i do myself and also had exact same issues with the 7950 GT. seems laggy on game side of things for some weird reason though (i my experience anyway).
ATI with Maya was a big no no last i heard. so this has changed???
google is my friend!!! here i come again god damn it!