half life 2 graphics card

I am considering upgrading the graphics card on the home pc, one of my benchmarks is that it should be capable of playing half life 2. The other is that I shouldn’t have to take out a second mortgage.
Some websites have done some benchmarking of half life 2 apparently it needs direct x9 support and 256 mb of ram. It seems that the geforce cards are being forced to run in direct x8 mode. So far the best contender is the radeon 9800. Its still pricy (EUR 154)
Sapphire ATI Radeon 9600 AT 256 MB AGP 8x

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