New GPU advice

I am in the market for a new GPU my MSI 7950 is starting to struggle with all of my Skyrim mods. I'm shopping within the $500-$300 price range, any suggestions that will get me the best performance for the price?

Either the R9 290X or the GTX 970.

If you got the R9 290X, it would just be a matter of plug-n-play; no need for driver befuddlement.  Just some $0.02

I'd go with an R9 290 (X). Your choice there. The X is a little faster but the R9 290 can be had for $250. The wider memory bus should help out especially with a lot of texture mods. The GTX 900 series struggles there. It is still fast but doesn't kill the AMD offerings.