The 7600GT definitely won't let you down, many people on these forums are very pleased with them, but since I assume you won't be doing SLI (multi NVIDIA graphics cards), I'd get an ATI X850XT PE
. It's a highly underrated card IMO that almost is forgotten about now because of the launch of NVIDIA's newer 7 series cards (7600GT, 7900GT, etc.)
The 7600GT possibly would be the winner in my book if
it had a 256-bit memory interface, but the 128-bit is really weak for a 7 series card, even a 6 series one. It holds the bandwidth back so it's 1/2x the bandwidth of a 256-bit interface. Plus, the card has fewer pixel pipelines, and it's core speed can't make up for the loss. This results in fewer shader operations per second, which are necessary for pretty much every modern game.
Core Clock: 560MHz
Memory Clock: 700MHz
Bandwidth: 22.4 GB/s
Shader Ops./second: 6720
Fragment Pipelines: 12
Core Clock: 540MHz
Memory Clock: 590MHz
Bandwidth: 37.76 GB/s
Shader Ops./second: 8640
Fragment Pipelines: 16
There is a good reason that the clocks are lower for the X850XT PE. The core clock being lower is alright because it has 16 fragment pipelines. This completely makes up for the lower clock, and more. The memory clock being lower is also alright because of its 256-bit memory interface. Basically, if the clocks were the same, the 256-bit would have twice the bandwidth of the 128-bit card. So really, 256-bit @ 590 > 128-bit @ 700.
Many may disagree with me on my decision, but I really think that this is an underrated card. I haven't heard of any history regarding this card failing or DOA. Feel free to go with a 7600GT, as I've heard they're great, but I just personally think this would be a better choice for $200.
EDIT:Also, (sorry for the really long post) what kchi55 said, the 7900GS would be the best choice if you've got the money. I read right over what he had said. The 7900GS would smoke both these cards, so if you're willing to spend a little more $ (looks to fit into your $200 range) then I'd definitely go for it. So I've pretty much changed my mind
... The 7900GS would be incredible.
See, I can admit it's better. NVIDIA deserves to win this one.)
Just thought I'd throw this in:
7900GS Main Stats:
Core Clock: 450MHz
Memory Clock: 660MHz
Bandwidth: 42.24 GB/s
Shader Ops./second: 9000
Fragment Pipelines: 20