From the sound of it, you're looking at a Video I/O card as oppossed to a graphics display (GPU) card - right?
In my opinion, there are three major video I/O card vendors in the Adobe world.
In alphabetical order they are:
They each offer the user something compelling. What I recommend is you define what you want to do and from there, the choices should get easier. I'm sure others will chime in on what they use and why.
If you're looking for a GPU card, then the answer is simpler - any OpenGL 2.0 card or better would be good. If you're going nvidia GeForce, look at the 285, if you're looking at nvidia Quadro, then anything will do, but I like the 4800.
Usually we have the same point of view, but here I have to differ.
You are right about the three major card suppliers, but I would strongly suggest to leave Matrox out of the equation. Their marketing hype is great, but that is about it, a hype. There have been so many users bitten by the Matrox virus, that it is better to forget about Matrox. For tape based material a simple firewire connection is sufficient or even the best solution, for card or harddisk based material it is simply transfer of data.
On the video card I think a nVidia GTX 260 is sufficient for PR and AE. Rather spend your money on a better CPU, more memory and a better disk setup. A Quadro is IMO overkill and a serious waste of money, unless you are using 3D applications like Maya, Poser, Vue and the like. A more sensible approach would be an ATI HD58xx card.
"A Quadro is IMO overkill and a serious waste of money,"
You might have to take those words back once PPro CS5's feature-set is announced.
Dennis referred to the 4800 because he knows something we don't (yet).
Well, the 4800 is around 1700 euro here, a HD5870 around 300 euro. That price difference is hard to justify, especially with the Quadro problems. For 1400 euro I can think of better improvements in a system, without taking into consideration that the HD5870 is likely to be a better performer than the 4800.
especially with the Quadro problems.
I have had just about every flavor of Quadro walk through my door over the last few years and they've performed excellently in every case. I can think of no GPU that I would more readily recommend assuming you have the money to spend.
Let me know the problems you have experienced.
the HD5870 is likely to be a better performer than the 4800.
I like ATI's as well. With my focus on broadcast and large entertainment companies, nvidia owns 80% of this market, so I usually just spit out nvidia.
ATI and nvidia like Intel and AMD can leapfrog one another. However, like Intel vs. AMD, nvidia usually has the upper hand in performance. ATI is probably faster now, but nvidia has or will announce something new (like always).
I guess I lean pro nvidia (for a few reasons)
The nVidia Quadro drivers appear to claim a monopoly on the PCIe bus. That is usually not a problem, unless you use for instance a PCIe raid controller. In that case your raid controller is severly handicapped and slows down significantly. Removing the Quadro and exchanging it for a more consumer oriented card alleviates this problem and the raid controller can run at full speed. I don't know whether a new driver version will solve this big issue.