I've just gave 250$ on Asus EN7950GT...playing Ghost Recon@1024x768 (i have 17" CRT Dell and it doesn't support better resolution at 85Hz..anyway i'm thinkin on upgradin to 20" LCD & maybe then i'll play at higher res) with all options HIGH! i think 250$ it's OK... and in 1year i want to add another EN7950GT to go SLI ... and i will be able to play maybe another year without a problem...
so i say $$250-300MAX!!!
p.s. video card is not the only thing you need to play games...
AMD Athlon64 3200+@2000Ghz; Asus A8N5X; 1GB DDR; Asus EN7950GT 512DDR3 650/1550Mhz