Re: 8800 GT
Grab the 9600 GT, it's at the most 10% slower then a 8/9800GT and it's quite a bit cheaper. It's also easier to cool which should mean lower fan noise as well.
I don't think that anyone could tell the difference of the performance of a 9600 GT or a 8800 GT without relying on a fps counter.
Btw most of the "Bad 2D performance" is only when using bleeding edge window managers as Compiz or KDE4.
Computer stuff I've owned at one time or another:
CPUs: K6-3 400, Duron 600, Thunderbird 1400, Barton 2500, Duron 1800, A-64 3700+, C2D E7200
Motherboards: Shuttle Via MVP, Asus A7V, Asus A7V133, Asus N8X-VM400, Abit NF7, Abit UL8, Asus P5Q Pro
Graphics Cards: TNT2, GF 2 MX, GF 2 Pro, GF4 MX, GF FX 5500, GF 6600, GF 7600 GT, GF 9800GT