Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: The Netherlands
Re: Video Card for casual gamer.
You'd probably be best off with a last-gen card, which could be a GeForce 7600GS or some 7900... or a Radeon X1950 (I don't know the exact prices, and I'm not in the US anyway, so my prices are probably different from yours... But there should be variations of these cards that just about fit the $100 bracket).
They give you a lot of performance for DX9-based games, but don't support DX10. This is not a problem as there are very few games out that support DX10 at all, and the ones that do also support DX9. So you won't be missing out.
The newer budget cards, like the Radeon 2400/2600 or GeForce 8400/8500/8600 support DX10, but their performance in both DX9 and DX10 is quite poor compared to the last-gen cards, so they aren't such good value for money when it comes to playing games.
You probably don't want to go for more than 256 mb memory, because this won't improve gaming much, but it may make the card much more expensive.