I may be thinking that new mid-range graphic cards is bit overpriced and Direct 9x made a little difference in performance.
DirectX 9 has nothing to do with performance, but with programmability. It enables game developers to do new stunning effects that were not possible before. Currently no real games make use of it but with a Geforce 4 Ti you won't be able to play Doom III and Half-Life 2 in full glory. So that's why you pay more...
This is totally off the subject, but i process SETI units just to help out the cause, i can process a unit in 3hr 30min which is decently fast, i dont have a HT processor, but unfortunately even if i did their software isnt coded to take advantage of the multi-threading in its current version, which is sad because it cant take advantage of the Hyper-threading capability of the p4, also it isnt multi-processor capable either, when installed on a dual CPU machine it will run the graphics overhead on one CPU and the raw data crunching on the other which is kinda lame usage of Dual processors, considering most people have it minimized and dont even have the graphics display up while the process packets anyway.
When BOINC is released then people can really start helping them out by doubling or even quadrupling the amount of packets they can process as alot of the BIG corperations are running SETI on quad CPU machines where the potential unit crunching capability is being grossly wasted.
BOINC will be available to the public soon and it will enable this currently missing ability, and add some more like the ability to run multiple projects in one program, and choose how much system resources to dedicate to each project, i am anxious to see it debuit.