I am updating my video card and was wondering if the $499 price tag is worth purchasing the GF2 Ultra or a GF2 regular. Is there a substantial performance difference between the two or is Nvidia just trying to pull something here?
Well it's kind of simple really. The GeForce to is ~$250. The GeForce 2 ultra is twice as fast, but also twice as much. So if you think about it, it's not that much of a ripoff, although IMO it's overkill to buy a card that fast at this point in time.
Toolbox, depending on your resolution (let's say it's something resonable like 10x7 or 12x10) I'm willing to wager that a V5 5500 would look better and possibly give better framerates in Need For Speed compared to a GF2 ultra. In my experience, I believe EA games are written for glide. If you're buying a card specifically for NFS, the V5 would be a better buy for $200 less.
From the initial benches I've seen the Ultra is not quite twice as fast as the DDR at reasonable resolutions anyway. Even if it were, would the ultra be worth the price over a GTS? Your call. I'll wait for reviews on the shipping products before I decide.