Artifacts even on bootup, cant boot normal mode win7 any longer.

Hello everyone.
Last week, while playing League of Legends (which is not exactly demanding graphics-wise) all of a sudden I got tearing and artifacts all over my screen, and my pc froze.
I rebooted and no problem.
A few days later the same problem, windows GPU recover worked and I switched my LCD to the other plug on the GFX card, that seemed to resolve the issue aswell.
Since then I didn't have problems, though now all of a sudden it happened again, playing LoL and pc lockup. Though since then I have been unable to make the tearing go away. I'm getting bluescreen when my pc is about to enter the windows 7 login screen, giving me the 0X00000116 error code along with nvlddmkm.sys being pointed out as the problem.
So at first I thought/hoped this was a driver issue, especially since my system core/cpu runs at about 40 degrees celsius, GPU runs at 49-50 degrees celsius.
I've tried going through different sets of drivers, but nothing seems to work, especially as even the first screen I get when booting up my pc has tearing, all the way into the blue screen.
I've had this system for about 3 years I believe, intel quadcore 6600, 8800 gts 512, 2 gb kingston hyperx ram, etc, a very decent build never experienced any problems so far.
Things getting progressively worse (although I can still tinker in safe+networking mode, theres tearing everywhere) leads me to believe it could very well be the GPU.
Anything I could test/resort to before going out and buying a new GPU?
If so, what kind of card would I be looking to get? I don't really want to spend much more than 100-125 euros, since this system works just fine for me and I'm in a bit of a clinch when it comes to the dough.
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  1. I would definitely continue monitoring the GPU temperature. Artefacting is usually caused by overheating, so I would open the side of the case and assure that the fan on graphics card is spinning properly.

    Also if you have not cleaned the cooling fins in a while, I would give the card a good clean with some pressured air when the computer is turned off (hold the fan though so that the bearing doesn't get damaged).
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