After a bit of sorting out how to get the card working, I've discovered a small problem I'm having with my monitor and card. When I view my monitor from a moderate/low angle, wavy moire patterns are visible subtly flashing across the screen in diagonal lines. The effect is also noticeable from the sides, and is least noticeable when looking at the monitor from the front, especially at high angle.
Also adding to that, in this set of monitor tests, one of the squares is flashing (4 series). I did a similar test on this on my desktop at work, and no such flashing effect seemed to occur. What this leads me to believe is that the monitor I'm using doesn't match well with the card I'm using - which would make some sense, as it's an LCD monitor with a VGA plug, being pipelined through a HDMI adapter.
A lingering fear of mine is that some sort of component on my computer is overheating. I do know that even after reducing my clock speed on the cards, some screen tearing/jumping still occurs very infrequently. Here's a listing of my computer components and what temperatures they reach (Recorded from CPUID when available...) while running a graphics-intensive game (Champions Online) on high settings:
Motherboard - Dell 0R849J : 63C (some voltages seem to be fluctuating slightly. At the moment, VIN1 and -12V seem the most volatile)
Hard Drive - WDC WD6400AAKS-75A7B2 : 35C (very consistent)
Graphics Card - Radeon HD 7950 Gigabyte : 60C
Monitor - Dell ST2010: Running at native resolution, 60hz
I guess the question then is sort of twofold: Is there anything going particularly wrong with my setup at the moment? And for the monitor, what adjustments might I be able to make to minimize the wave artifacts/flickering, and failing that, what new monitor might I want to get?
My daughter had horizontal lines in dark areas rolling up her monitor with a HD7850 on VGA connection, new monitor and using DVI and tried the same adapter and VGA cable and lines disappeared. Have not found explanation for that yet.
Well, the fact that you are running the HDMi converter to VGA is one suspect. They are usually cheap and the DA conversion is mediocre in my experience. I've only used gamed consoles going to computer monitors with these devices, not a PC, so I can't say I've ever seen that particular effect. If you really think its the PC, try connecting to a different monitor, or an HDMI enabled TV. Also, try setting the display Hz from the screen resolutions on your desktop or through Catalyst to 59.99Hz.
You might notice a nice quality upgrade by getting almost any DVI or HDMI enabled monitor. I would start the search by figuring out which screen size you need and what resolution you want. If it were me, I would get one of ASUS VS24AH-P. But I have no idea what you need in a monitor or even what your budget is. If you think its the monitor, a used version of the same monitor you are using is about $40 on ebay.