Intel Quad Core 2.83GHZ
Intel DP35DP Mothboard
Windows 7 Ultimate
HP 2309m monitor
Geforce 7600GT XXX Edition 256mb with two DVI-D ports..
My monitor went blank few day before.. which was working fine for last 2 years... with DVI-D cable.
However when i used the DVI to VGA converter, i can boot in safe mode, after uninstalling drivers i am able to boot in normal mode as well but as soon driver installs and the system is restarted it again doesn't boot in normal mode.. with DVI-D cable i jsut getting blank screen..
Sounds like a bad card. The fact that you can work in safe mode pretty much points to that, with the drivers installed the card starts actually doing some work, and fails. It may be a driver issue, but I bet if you tried the card in another computer, the same thing will happen.
I did took it to a hardware shop, who checked it via VGA on another system, but it did not worked there..
However i forcefully downgraded the driver to "Standard VGA Graphic Adapter" and its booting in normal mode now, i am able to set resolution to 1280*1024.. but the video is distorted as my monitor is an HD monitor.. the display looks streched..
The card is dead. There is no test utility available aside from the regular benchmarks people run, but what you tried shows that it is dead. Not working in another system points right to that. It works in VGA mode because the card is not doing much work at all, a card that is not totally dead but has bad components will run just fine on basic VGA drivers. You can run it in VGA but it won't get you much speed.
Since you are looking at lower end cards, I'd get a Radeon 6670, it will be a lot faster than the two cards you are looking at, and should not cost much more. Both the 240 and the 520 are a bit low for games.