I've narrowed my graphics card searches down to getting the GeForce 6800 Standard 128MB DDR. I won't be going for the GT or Ultra models because they're a bit too expensive for me at the moment. So the last question I have is what manufacturers would you recommend for this video card?
As you said other cards a re a bit too expensive at the moment, try the evga stuff. They have this <A HREF="http://www.evga.com/stepup/default.asp?switch=2" target="_new">step up program</A> which might allow you to upgrade your card in the future (90 days)
Also, i generally stay away from products that have weird box designs, about 5-6 years ago PCMag had an article of how product boxes ahould be(how a shitty game like deer hunter sold >1M copies was due to its fancy box). XFX tries to show off their box, they should show off their card instead. See HIS ICEQ II, they show their card thru the box and avoid fancy shapes.
MSI has good support. Gainward double slot has more chnces of getting nicely overclocked bcos of the heatsink stuff.
I am an ATI guy, so some Nvidia guy should help you out better. But if I were to buy any of those, I would take the evga, due to its step up prog. (assuming it applies to that card)
<i> <font color=blue>Futile is resistance,</font color=blue><font color=red> assimilate you we will.</font color=red> </i>
<b>Hard work has a future payoff. Laziness pays off now.</b>
I personally have the 6800 eVGA card. I have also owned several cards from LeadTek in the past, and have always liked them, their heat sinks are always great. The MSI might be worth looking at because that one keeps being mentioned about the pipelines being unlockable.
As far as my eVGA card, I am very happy with it, the heatsink is virtually silent, and it seems to have pretty decent overclocking abilites, and still keeps the temps undercontrol.
I paid $5 extra dollars and got mine at the local PC store. They have several on the shelf, have tried any local computer shops? $5 extra, plus tax, doesn't add up to a whole lot extra, plus you don't have to wait for it.