"The damn game chokes on a 9800xt at that level with a 3.2 800fsb processor."
I have a P4 3.0 not O.C.,with a 9800XT and have no probs playing the game at 1280*1024, i even use that res online, all fx max.
I haven't tried fsaa in it, and i guess it would choke, but works great with 8X quality Anisotropic filtering ( trilinear ).
A P4 3.2 or a AMD 3.2 should run this game pretty well with a 9800XT.
The 2.4 CPU could be weakest "link". 1024*768 res should be ok.