Flickering horizontal lines during (intensive) gaming

Hi guys,

A few months ago I bought and installed the club 3d 7870 xt. In the beginning I was happy with it and played intensive games fluently. During the summer I didn't touch the computer for a month and a half and afterwards I started to notice some artifacts during graphically intensive games. I noticed when the fps starts to get low or with heavy textures, that horizontal lines flicker. These lines are just the texture of the games compressed (so sort of like screen tearing?). For now, I have noticed it with Borderlands 2 during graphically intensive shoot-outs and in Shogun 2 on the battlefield.
I have a hunch that it's a faulty GPU. I underclocked it and it looked like the game was smoother, but I'm not sure. The lines still appeared and it's not like I counted the number of lines per second. It's just a feeling.

Could it be related to the fact that I didn't use the pc for more than a month?

Also, I already re-installed drivers using driver sweeper and it didn't help. It's not caused by overheating either, it's always under 70°.
Any other suggestions or tests that I can do?

My specs:
CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1045T
MOBO: ASRock 970 Extreme3
PSU: Antec High Current Gamer HCG-620
OS: windows 7 64-bit

Thanks in advance!

EDIT: just tried Borderlands 2 in windowed mode. At first it looked it was better, but I think it has more to do with lower resolution than windowed mode. In windowed mode, nearly the whole game screen flickers...
Just tested on Metro Last Light and The Witcher 2 as well, which are both graphically very intensive games and... No problems at all! Very smooth (and two beautiful games ;)). I am starting to think that it's related to CPU?? Or perhaps just coincidentally two unoptimized games (though a bit surprising with Shogun 2)??
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  1. Just did a reinstall of windows 7 and the problem's still there.

    So it's definitely a hardware problem or game optimization problem....
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