Actually, the best deal has been, and will continue to be, the 9700 pro. The 9800 is really powerful, but stupid expensive. The 9700 pro is crazy fast, and you can find them for as little as ~200 bucks if you look around. Barring that, the 9800np is also a sweet deal.
By all means, if you've got the loot a 9800 pro is a great investment. But if you can't drop 350 on a video card, you might want to check em out.
Draft: male model, NOT a male prostitute.