Originally Posted by Jeffy
I find Nvidia drivers easy to install. There is no need for secondary programs. When I was running an ATI (x800 then a 9800LE) back in the day, I had to install the drivers then install .NET because CCC required it to also be installed. Have they changed this? I have no problems installing Nvidia drivers but you still have to play around with different version just like AMD.
What I like about two cards is that you can buy two lesser cards and get top-end performance while usually being cheaper. The downside is the additional trouble shooting you have to do since you're now running two cards and they need to sync up. Not all games support it and you sometimes have to resort to tricking the game to run in SLI/CF.
Honestly, I don't need a new video card right now. My 280SSC GTX is still pretty fast. I have it OD'ed as well. Although it would be a lower mid-range card today I think. Games like Dirt 2 and L4D2 run in the 90-100FSP but they are optimized to take better advantage of the card. ARMA 2 OA on the other had is a beast. On the core maps I get 30-50. On some of the user made maps I get 14-100 depending if I'm in the weeds or out in a snow field. The game isn't very optimized so it's very dependent on hardware.
A 560 runs about $259USD here. A 6950 is $300USD for a XFX with a double lifetime warranty or $275 for a some other brand with a 1 year. A 460 is $195USD.
On the Tom's March 2011 Chart
which just came out yesterday, you can see the 280 is 4 slots down from the top which is shared with the 460. From what I've read I believe I could get some nice speeds if I could find another 280. It would be at least as fast as a 480/570. But I don't like buying used cards with an unknown history and no warranty.
Supposedly the 590/595 will run two 570 chips. Or rather that's what people are speculating. I expect both AMD and Nvidia cards to be $600-800 though. Well outside by budget. I couldn't imagine spending that much of a GFX card. People are speculating that the card will be announced at PAX East which is this weekend. I might wait and see if it changes the pricing scheme any then buy something the following week.
I was totally annoyed by that .net thing, too. Tons of programs need it now and it is included in win7 anyways.
ATI improved their drivers quite a lot.
If you are mostly happy with your card, wait until you buy a new monitor, too. Maybe even tone down quality if necessary. The new cards are still expensive as hell and until you go to full HD only 1 game seems to need it.
The 560 runs 222€, the 6950 is 232€ here in Germany (including 19% vat).