Hey stodge, I'm in the same position as you atm, choosing between NVidia and ATi for a new graphics card. I have minimal Linux experience so I can't comment on the drivers for ATi cards, but I have a couple of things up my sleeve that may help:
1) NVidia cards are known to perform significantly better in OpenGL than ATi ones (under Windows this is). This is from various Tom's Hardware/Anandtech articles, where there is a noticeable difference. (Look for articles comparing the two new generation series of cards). As Linux uses OpenGL for graphics, this obviously gives NVidia hardware a bit of an advantage over ATi (assuming that this phenomenon occurs on Linux as well as on Windows... I'm not a graphics expert so I don't know for sure whether it would still apply or not).
2) The NVidia cards aren't neccessarily going to be that noisy, it depends on what cooling solutions the individual vendors come up with. One vendor does a single slot cooling solution for example, which frees up the extra PCI slot but makes the card run a bit hotter. The original GF5 card cooler was a hoover (I've heard the sound samples, lol!) but the same may not apply for the 6800s. Hopefully the vendors will come up with some nice, quiet (relatively) cooling solutions for them.
There's no getting round the extra Molex power connecter on the 6800s though, lol.
Last edited by Foxy; 07-22-2004 at 10:30 AM.