First, sorry for a really long wall of text, but I wanted to give as much of information as possible of what I have been trying and what issues I have been having.
Ok, so I have been having these really annoying issues with my new graphics card. The problems started out small but have been escalating to the point where my computer bacame unusable and I had to remove the card and install my old one again.
Here is my current system with my old card
CPU: Core i7-920 2.66GHz
MB: Asus P6T Deluxe v2
RAM: 12 Gb DDR3 (I think)
GFX: MSI GTX295
PSU: TX 750W
Windows 7 SP1
I have been having some overheating problems with my graphics card, and also its quite loud so I have been thinking about getting a new one. I finally decided to go with the Asus GTX580 DirectCUII, and got it a few days ago. The issues I had with the GTX295 (besides overheating) where related to TDR (http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=100800&hl=...) when i was playing games. I did not know it was a common issue and had not investigated it before i got the new card.
I installed the GTX580 and updated my drivers, so far all good. Then I wanted to test it in a game for performance and started Star Wars: The old Republic. The card seemed to work perfectly and I had the game running at high graphics settings for about 30 minutes or so with 60-100 FPS average. The temperatures at this time were around 70-80 degrees C with the fan running at around 30% speed, not loud at all so I was very satisfied.
A few hours later I wanted to play for real and started the game again. After only 1 minute the game crashed and I got BSOD. After reboot I tried to start the game again, but a few seconds after the character screen was showing, the screen froze and 2 seconds later my monitors got black. Since I had been having issues with TDR on my old graphics card I thought that this might be the case again, however the screen never recovered and I had to reboot the computer manually. During the black screen I could still hear the music from the game, so I dont think the whole system froze.
After rebooting I tried again, but the same thing happend again. Time for some googling! I found out about TDR and read some other threads about people having various issues. While surfing around, suddenly my screen got black and recovered (TDR), but then got black again and I had to reboot manually since it never recovered again.
I started to get frustrated and decided to reinstall the drivers from scratch. I deleted everything Nvidia driver related and did a driver sweep in safe mode. I reinstalled the drivers (latest from Nvidia, 296.10) and tried again. I could still not get any game to start, as soon as it started the screen would go black. A few times I noticed that there were artifacts on the screen just before it got black.
All this was yesterday. Today I surfed around a bit on my work to see if I could find any solutions to my problem. I found some threads suggesting updating my BIOS drivers, trying to underclock the card and increasing PSU voltages. However, when I got home I could never get that far and try anyone of them out. As soon as Windows had started and I was logged in, the screen would go black and I had to reboot. By now, I would see screen artifacts more and more often. The only way I could work with the computer was to start it in safe mode and uninstall the drivers. With no drivers installed, I could finally get into windows at least.
So I surf around for a while, trying to find solutions to my problem but no luck. I turn the computer off, deciding to try again later.
The next time I start the computer, I would see A LOT of artifacts on the screen right from the start before windows even had started, and in windows itself it got even worse. At this point no drivers were even installed so I begin to think that the card must be malfunctioning.
Anyway, I decided to try one last thing, and that was to update my BIOS drivers. After a bit of fiddeling I had them updated, I installed the Nvidia drivers and rebooted my computer. I could still see a lot of artifacts when booting and while windows was loading. However, as soon as the drivers for the card were beeing loaded, the screen got black. I didnt even get to the login screen.
By now I had had it with the GTX580 and decided to install the GTX295 again. So I did, updated the drivers and my computer now works as it did before all this mess.
I don't really have any conclusions yet and were hoping to get some input here. Other stuff I tried in all this were making sure the card was properly seated, fans working, temperatures normal and stuff like that.
Of what I have read, the GTX295 seems to be more voltage hungry than the 580, so I dont think its a PSU related issue, or am I wrong here?
My only real conclusion would be that the card is broken from factory
Any help, thoughts or ideas with this issue would greatly be appreciated.