Well actually, your video card only really matters when it is in the main field of animating and modelling, which doesn't really need that much of a good one.
The rendering is mostly all processor, and this is what matters. The video card hardly does anything.
I can proove this because I had this machine running on a Geforce 2MX400 before getting the 9800PRO i have now, and I can tell you, I noticed no difference what so ever.
So rendering (and why its so slow) renders using the CPU, and so, it wouldn't really matter what video card you got, as long as it could push a few million polys on the playing field, and my card handles that perfectly well.
Most effects handled in MAX now while rendering which take the most time, could now be done in real time by new graphics cards if 3D programs took use of it, but 3D programs haven't took use of that yet, but I think we'll see a change in that in the next few years, as 3D movies will be able to be rendered out in real time with all the effects added.
You can get specialist 3D cards for rendering at the moment though that use the card as well as the processor (might not be compatable with MAX) but, it costs a few grand...so you won't be wanting that anyway