Windows 8 Fresh Install - Black Screen after/during Getting Devices Ready

I had an... entertaining... system failure, which has led me to reinstalling Windows. (A component in the CPU heatsink fan shattered, causing the fan to stop spinning without me noticing and the system to shut off suddenly to prevent damage from overheating). (As a quick extra note; I've been searching around for this issue for over a day now, none of the suggestions I've come across have worked).

It started off with Windows no longer being able to start (can't remember the exact screen that it stopped, but it was before the login page). I tried an automatic recovery, which couldn't do anything. From there, since all my data is on two other drives, I wiped it and tried to reinstall.
This is where my newest issue started: the initial install screens go by fine, then it prompts that it needs to restart - I let it. The splash screen comes up, and at some point during "Getting Devices Ready" it switches to a pure black screen.
Manually restarting at this point throws a message that Windows shut down unexpectedly and couldn't complete the installation; so I try again with the same results.
On the off chance that the hard drive took some damage during the system failure, I got a brand new drive (WD Premium 2TB) - same results.
I've also tried with all peripherals except for 1 monitor unplugged (including keyboard and mouse just in case), as well as the network; with no luck.

What's interesting is that I don't recall having this issue when I built the machine back around the end of August (<6 months ago). The machine has been rock steady until this event.

Some things I've noticed about the boot up:
  • I'm seeing artifacts at the spaces and "o"s at the "press any key..." to boot from the disc - these artifacts mostly appear as bars (similar to | ) immediately following the character.
  • The initial installation goes without a hitch.
  • At the restart, I've noticed very faint red streaks - one down the mid-left of the screen, with an edge near the middle of the Windows logo, and one down the far right of the screen. Both are about 1.5 inches wide on a 27 inch monitor, and only just barely a shade lighter than the black.
  • The exact time of the black screen is a little variable. At times it's been immediately after it switches from the splash to the getting devices ready screen (fast enough that the text doesn't get to pop up); at others it's as far as the 80% mark. Changing which peripherals are plugged in doesn't make any readily noticable correlation in the timing.

Some of the notable things I've tried:
  • Booting up with only required peripherals plugged in (monitor, mouse and keyboard)
  • Same as above without network cable plugged in
  • Same as above two without keyboard and mouse plugged in (only the monitor).
  • Switching which port on the graphics card the monitor is in.
  • Fresh install
  • New hard drive
  • Just letting it sit on the black screen (have that trial running overnight right now - will close thread if it works)

The thing that's really confusing is that with the original hard drive in the system, a format+install is no different than what I did 6 months ago when I first built it, yet I'm getting completely different results now.

Parts list is below.

Thanks for any help you can offer.


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-8350 4.0GHz 8-Core Processor ($199.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($35.98 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock 990FX Extreme4 ATX AM3+ Motherboard
Memory: Corsair Vengeance Pro 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($94.44 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($100.00)
Storage: Western Digital BLACK SERIES 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital VelociRaptor 150GB 3.5" 10000RPM Internal Hard Drive ($116.63 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($399.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($42.98 @ Best Buy)
Power Supply: Thermaltake Black Widow 850W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($113.41 @ Amazon)
Keyboard: Logitech G510s Wired Gaming Keyboard ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Mouse: Logitech G700 Wireless Laser Mouse ($99.98 @ Amazon)
Total: $1543.37
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-02-03 23:28 EST-0500)
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  1. Some updates:
    • I switched to an old keyboard (from the G510s to an old Microsoft USB keyboard that I've never had issues with)
    • Windows 7 installed and ran fine (would just use this, but my license is for the computer I frankensteined into this one; plus I'm faster in 8 anyway).
    • Updating from Windows 7 to 8 stopped in the same way.
    • According to the logs Phase 2 is completing fine, I'm not seeing any log entries for Phase 3.
    • I've tried letting it run through the problem section with nothing plugged in (no monitor, mouse, keyboard, etc.); after letting it run like this for an hour I plugged the monitor in with the same results (black screen, no noise from hard drive, etc.)
    • I unplugged the cable for additional USB ports (so the only active ports are the ones in the back)
    • I've reseated the graphics card, RAM, DVD drive and hard drive.
    • I've disabled a few items in the UEFI - network card, floppy connections, serial ports, etc. (only options I don't have on this machine).

    I wasn't entirely sure what would be useful from a log standpoint, so I grabbed everything that looked about right and had data after the events. I threw it out on my personal site at: (setuperr.log was empty)
  2. I borrowed an old graphics card from a friend and Win8 installed without issue.
    The old graphics card doesn't use dedicated power (the current one needs 2 PCIE power cables).
    I'm going to get in contact with Sapphire first, since the power supply seems OK and there were those other graphical glitches. I'll reply here with the ultimate solution.
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