I almost decided to play the waiting game for Spring releases, but then just dove in and purchased an ATI 8500. You can't go wrong with the price (Current PriceWatch.com price of $169.00) and the hydra-vsision and fantastic performance are big time sellers. Sure, most reviews out there will have Nvidia winning Quake3 benchmarks and such, but these advantages are only minimal.
Now, if you want to wait until this Spring, there should be some real interesting outcomes. This could be where ATi suprises Nvidia. According to this article at TheInquirer.net, http://www.theinquirer.net/14010201.htm
, ATI is set to release a graphics card that supports DirectX 9 and is faster and cheaper than Nvidia's GeForce4. You know the GE4 isn't going to be cheap upon it's release in Feburary. If you're looking for the best, stick around till Feb/March and see what both comapanies have to offer. Either way, we win.