Just to clear something out…are the first 8 lights in OGL free on GeForce cards? (ie they are dont through hardware and do not slow down the rendering process?) I just need to make sure I got this point right.)
No, not free.
Lighting is much faster than cards without Hardware T&L, but you still lose performance when you add lights.
nVidia has a performance faq that has some figures for GeForce256/Quadro hardware. You can find it on their developer site.