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I have the Nvidia one that you refer to and I find it is more than powerful enough to handle everything I throw at it, including UT2004 with all options turned full blast. My opinion would be to go with the one with more video-memory (Nvidia) but you really should choose by which brand you are more comfortable with. I've used an ATI 9000 Pro in the past on Linux and didn't like the support from ATI, this was my main reason for switching to Nvidia. I have found Nvidia's support and drivers to be easier to install and use to get the most out of my video card.
actually, the ram is not so much of a big deal (unless your doing more than 4 monitors), the 9800 should perform better however the nvidia card really will have better support, right now I consider the best performance to value ratio to come from a nividia geforce FX 5700 Ultra 128 mb card but that 9800 should outperform this too
[i]<< you really should choose by which brand you are more comfortable with >>[/b]
I've only used Voodoo 3 and ATI Rage before, so have not had any experience with nVidia.
The ATI Radeon 9800XL is actually cheaper than the nVidia.
I've also used ATI, and liked them a lot however not used nVidia, so cannot really comment on them. However, I guess I'll be going for the ATI one due to various reasons.
I have an ATI 9800 pro and don't have any problems with it, but what I did is look up comparisons on the 2 and based my judgement on the benchmarks that I read from the reviews. The ATI 9800(XT) is clearly the fastest card out there but if you are limited on choosing between the 2 look up the benchmarks. For linux I would probably go with nvidia, but remember that 256mb vs. 128mb ram, more is not always better, and in some cases the more ram actually would make some cards slower. Do a search on the both of them - judge by the benchmarks, then make your choice.
So, has anyone heard of the ATI Radeon 9800XL and does anyone understand those posts really? To me, it seems the 9800XL is only as fast as, or worse than, the ATI Radeon 9800 Pro. Any comments or help on this?