I would recommand the x1950pro by sapphire 256mb version = 136 USD and 512mb version 155 USD on Newegg.. I personally have it and i run crysis on max res and high settings at 25 to 30 fps on HDMI ... its not DX10 but it does the job very well for the price . on top of all that by each driver ATI is realsing im noticng a 2 - 3 fps gain.. and not to mention i love CCC .. makes oc'ing easy.
Not to mention it performs better then the 8600 on every benchmark ive seen.
The reason people are not seeing the true power of ati.. combine it with a 690g chipset by AMD/ATI with a ATI card and an AMD processor and you got a system in harmony.. and so yes it would work better with an AMD rather then a Intel.
I haven't seen many posts lately at all about ATI cards...
That might be a sign in itself that at least this community seems in favor of Nvidia. There are some amazing cards produced by Nvidia though, I'll say.. I've never used ATI, and most people I know who were all ATI fan boys, are loading on the 8800GT's now..
Well you have to remember the recent merger with AMD, I'm sure the r&d team over there is trying to get their act together like with the Phenoms. Right now I'm an Nvidia man.