an 8800GTS 320mb pulls right around 100w.
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/ ... html#sect0
and will give very similar performance to a stock 8800 ultra with 2/3 the power consumption.
The bleeding edge GFX cards are really only for people who feel the need to brag about synthetic benchmark results to their friends.
The 8800GTS is a good card. One of the reasons I went for one instead of the 8800GTX was because it doesn't use as much power.
At stock speeds it's still a room heater though.
If you're thinking of getting an 8800GTS be prepared for how much hotter it is than the older GF7 cards.
Benchmarks don't tell the whole story with these cards either. When you see them reviewed by websites they always seem to use Intel Core 2 Duo X6800 processors at 3ghz+ or AMD FX-60's. If you match the 8800GTX/Ultra card with a slower processor than that you can lose a lot of performance. You really need to budget for a quick processor at the same time to get the full benefit of the upgrade.
A lot of games that are popular but not used as benchmarks are often CPU limited. Medieval 2 Total War and GTR2 are examples where you need to make sure the whole PC is up to speed to get good performance.
A good example of that is my mate's PC: He has a 8800GTS 640mb card but matched with an old Intel Pentium 4 2.8ghz Socket 478 Northwood CPU. It runs games at just 1/3 of the speed the same card manages in my PC.
It's quite easy to reduce the 8800GTS card to a crawl in some current games even at 1280x1024. Colin McRae: Dirt is a good example but another one is Rainbow Six: Vegas. At 1280x1024, full detail and forced 16XAA, 16XAF it runs as slow as 11FPS in places on my PC.
Have you seen how choppy the frame rate is in places on the Crysis gameplay movies too? Hopefully they'll sort it out before release but it looks like it will bring a current high end system to a grinding halt without any difficulty.
As newer games come out over the next few months there are sure to be plenty more games where the 8800GTX/Ultra cards are a worthwhile investment too.