Yeah, I would try to get an 8 series Nv card such as an 8800 GTS or 8800 GT.
You might have to go a tad over $100, but it would be $$ well spent considering that these cards were considered pretty high end just weeks ago (before the 4xxx and 2xx launches).
An 8800 GT or GTS won't run Crysis completely maxed out unless you run at pretty low resolutions (which you didn't mention if you do or not). If you run at say a 1600x or 1680 rez (pretty standard these days), you may not be able to max everything out, but you still might be able to manage all around "High" settings on the game, which is visually still VERY acceptable, just short of completely maxed out.
Also, it depends a little on whether or not you are playing Crysis in DX9 in XP, or DX9 or DX10 Vista. Playing DX9 in XP should give you better framerates. You don't get the DX10 goodies (which are often subtle), but you stand a better chance with High settings or a mix of High and Very High. So yeah, your resolution, OS, and DX version play a pretty big role in how much you can max Crysis.
Also, your resolution would tell us what kind of vid ram you need. For example if you play at like 1680x, then I recommend getting at least 320mb of vid ram (which some versions of the 8800 GTX have). And with the 8800 GT I'd get the 512mb for sure.
But if your rez is lower than that, then 256mb or 320mb just might be OK for you if you really can't afford anything more expensive (as 256mb and 320mb are the cheaper versions of the 8800 GT and GTS).
I had an eVGA 8800 GTS KO with 320mb last year (w/ high factory OC) on my 1680x display and not only could I run Crysis on Vista DX10 at all High settings (not "Very High"), but I could even toss in 16xAF and a little AA. That particular KO card with its factory OC was pretty much a GTX though, except with just 320mb ram.
Anyhow, yeah definitely search for a cheap 8800 card, they are out there! And be careful not to buy like an 8600 unless you are totally away that it won't perform like an 8800 card, and it better be dirt cheap! Try to make sure you get an 8800 card (two 8's).
And FYI, there is a huge difference for you being able to play Crysis at High settings, and High settings with like 16xAA as mentioned in the above post.
First off, even 4xAA on Crysis does an amazing job, not like you need 16xAA. Heck, even no AA at High or Very High settings is still stunning.
Just know that AA has an enormous impact on playability. Like playing at high settings without AA can be done with a $100+ card. But if you want to add 16xAA, there isn't a single gpu in the world that can handle that.
4xAA is much more reasonable, and playable, but even 4xAA takes quite a bit of horsepower to pull off.
Aside from Crysis, I'd say an 8800 GTX or GT will be able to play pretty much anything else with maxed settings (although there are some newer games that are pretty intensive, there is still no other game as intensive as Crysis). The only variable, as usual, would be how much AF & AA you could apply.
Well i was Quite impressed to see a 1gb on board card at 85.
I heard that this Ati hd 3850 is better than the 8800 cards. Not very sure though.
If i am not mistaking it has more main stream processor than the 8800 cards.
By the way , not necesary to put the resolutions on crysis to high, just minium like around 1024x or lesser like 600 or 800x. Would like to set the graphics deatail all high .
how about 9600? There is a 9600 for 100 usd or 90 usd only.
I heard about 3850 cards was better than the 8800 cards, dont know if it is true or not.
How about a 3850 crossfire?
I havent seen 4850 cards price yet.. anyone knows?
At least.. as i know the 3850 is better than 8600 gt and ofcourse better than my own 8500 gt.
a 4850 is very good its about $199 The 9800GTX+ is pretty much on par with it (the price is also good but its kinda hard to find) the 9800GTX+ is a dual slot while the 4850 is a single so the 4850 will blow hot air back into your case while the 9800GTX+ doesnt. Their both very good cards so it depends weather you want a dual or single slot.
CF and SLI should be avoided if one card will suffice. They require better mobos and dont scale very well in many games and apps.
For less than $100US, a Radeon 3850 is a pretty killer options, particularly if its the 1GB version. However, of course, don't expect Crysis supermaxed... You are, after all, paying less than $100US, so don't delude yourself.
As mentioned, the 3850 is roughly equal to the 9600GSO, and the 3870 roughly equal to the 9600GT. The 8800GT is a step above that, and then past that, the 4850 and/or 9800GTX. I went back over "The Short List," and made my own update/revision to it, that accounts for much more recent price shifts. (link)