I agree with you but I will leave it up to you when you say playable. Take SS:SE crank up every slider and the res a bit, watch the GF4 Ti4600 pull under 50 fps. To me that is not playable and that is on a "old" game. Also playing around on UT2003 has shown me that my 8500 is not fast enough at the settings I have for my own tastes.
For me I miss the V5 FSAA. I have tried every card since then and they just suck for one reason or another when it comes to AA. I thought the Matrox card would be good but its just too slow. The 9700 dose not use a OG pattern on its x4 AA so finally I can get V5 (well better than V5) IQ while playing games at a fast frame rate. I can not get that with my GF4 or my 8500 today. But I am gonna to hold off till it hit my magic limit of $300.00 before I buy a R9700....come on pricewatch