I had a FireGL 5000 (HP nw8240) running linux, and getting s3 suspend to ram to work was practically impossible, and ATI had poor/no support for many X features... Have been using nvidias binary driver since it's first release without half the trouble.
Presently what I have is this card with a DisplayPort, DVI, and HDMI connector that came pre-installed in my Dell Vostro 420:
It's low power consumption, low heat, and low noise, coupled with great outputs (I need DisplayPort for my 2560x1600 30" 3008WFP display), make the card seem a good choice for general desktop work: qt/kde dev, graphics processing, vdpau, XV video, x compositing, and some OpenGL.
My problem is the ATI fglrx drive is a lot worse than the Nvidia binary drivers. The ATI driver won't compile/install well with the current kernel 2.6.28, and doesn't seem to enable the DisplayPort so I have to use DVI -- thicker cable with no audio.
Yes, I would buy an nvidia GTX 285 if it could be made to run at 50W the 350days a year I wasn't playing Crysis. That said, I wan't a quiet card too!
The reason I want a low wattage nvidia is for the better driver/module support. A 9400 or 9500GT seems ideal -- take a look at the TDP/Watts here:
I might get this 9600GT, since it has DP, HDMI:
The above card was hard to find, and it's double height... that's why a product number for the original reviewed 9500GT would have helped!