I currently have a Pentium 4 2.5 Ghz machine with a GeForce4 Ti4600 card. I would like to upgrade my video card to one of the faster ones, but I don't want to do it if my processor won't be able to get the most out of it. Are the new NVIDIA and RADEON models (the latest ones) going to give me good bang for my buck, or should I just wait until I can get a newer computer with a processor over 3 Ghz and the newer motherboard? Thanks for any and all insight you can offer.
You definately DON'T have to worry about bottlenecking your new card.
So the question is really how much do you want to spend? The 9700non-pro like Crash suggested is a solid value choice. But I figure you will want to put more performance distance between your next card and the Ti4600. And for that you would want either the 9700pro($275-300) or 9800pro($350-400).
I would say through THGC "browsing" that most people are leaning toward Ati. I myself was a big fan of Nvidia for a while but as of now I'm on Ati's side. I don't lean one way or the other, I just buy what's best(EVERYBODY should go by that motto), all things considered.
Right now Ati has two SOLID high-end choices. The 9700pro and 9800pro. Nvidia has one. The 5900 Ultra. But don't forget that they are still scarce, come at a slightly higher price than the 9800pro, and tend to get hotter as well. Altogether though, the 5900 Ultra is still a solid card. I won't count the 5800 because I would never suggest that to someone. Even if I hated 'em. They are loud and get extremely hot. Not practical at all.
As for drivers Nvidia tends to have less bugs than Ati's. Although you should put ALOT of stock in the fact that Ati just put out the Catalyst 3.5's which took out the 3dMark enhancing code. Nvidia is gonna stick with the cheating thing I guess.