How much difference does the manufacturer make for cards in the $200 range? I've heard (mostly) good things about XFX - but does it show in performance, reliability, or anything else? Do you have a particular brand you swear by - or a brand you swear AT?
Look at warranty! Hardware tends to break. 2 years is better than 1 year. Lifetime is nice but hardware gets outdated so not worth it unless transferable.
I will always look at price/performance/warranty and look at as many customer reviews as I can find to see if there are any major problems. Brands I have had ATI, Pallit, Albatron, MSI, Sapphire, EVGA and a couple more that I cant remember names on all with out any issues apart from failing memory on sapphire x1900GT after 18months. That was covered under 2 year warranty and I got replacement through RMA.