The most important part is that they're the same and that tri sli isnt worth the plastic its built on.
Knowing that, go for the card that has better cooling solution (ie dual slot cooling)
better yet, forget either and go for a bit more expensive, but vastly superior, ati hd 4850. try to find a dual slot cooling solution here too.
gainwards golden sample 4850 is excellent. my model runs at 37c idle 42c load, opposed to 70c+ idle 90c+ load of the reference model. gs model is also nicely overclocked at factory and costs minimally over the regular models.
Both those cards that i posted originally are dual slot cooling.
As far as 4850s with after market cooling i've never heard of the golden sample, but like i said i did see the the:
HIS 4850 ICE4Q for $195
MSI R4850 for $195 w/$30 mir
dunno, those nvidias are only $125 ar and seem to have fewer driver issues with the game the card is intended to play(WAR) and the 4850 really only seems to shine when running huge resolutions, i run 1440x900 with no plans of upgrading in the future.
at $110.99 8800gt 512mb ram is ridiculously low. It might be slower, but it sure has better value. sli never was and likely never will be, much like crossfire never was and likely never will be- better value.
But as the single cards go, if you dont have the money for 4850, 8800gt IS the next best thing in the price/performance.
I'd advise you to avoid single slot solutions like plague.. unless you dont have money to afford better cooling solution- either by manufacturer or an aftermarket cooler.
for the record, ati drivers are no buggier than nvidias. In fact, they're both very decent.
The 9800GT uses the exact same chip and ref clocks as the 8800GT. That said go with the Asus since it has higher clocks. A 4850 is better though so if your going to spend that much money take a look at this 1GB 4850 card instead which is 169.99 after rebate