System behaving erratically

Hi, all,

I hope this is the right place to put this. I'm not entirely sure whether it's a CPU, Memory/Mobo, or GPU issue.

Tonight all of a sudden my gaming machine started behaving erratically. I was in the middle of playing Eve Online when suddenly the entire dual monitor display showed crazy colors, and the sound began looping. After failed attempts at recovering my display, I disconnected the power and after a few seconds booted up the computer again. Windows 7 launched and I was relieved to find that my display was fine and figured it was probably just a strange glitch. So I started Eve Online and within a minute, the same exact thing occurred. At this point I figured something was up with Eve, so I decided to begin searching their forums to see if anyone else encountered similar issues recently. To my surprise as soon as I opened Google Chrome, the display once again went crazy and I had to disconnect power again.

This time, I decided to unplug everything and take a good look inside the case. I did a good dust removal, checked connections, looked for tell-tale signs of a major hardware problem such as a bloated capacitor or burn marks, but found nothing on the motherboard or other components. I then went as far as taking a multimeter to the power source in case it was an electrical issue. I then decided to replace the UPS with a spare surge protector just in case something was faulty with the power supply, plugged back everything in and booted up the machine again, fingers crossed. This time I gave it some time to see if the issue was truly related to my using Google Chrome or anything else. This time instead of the display giving up, it simply froze.

I tried a few more times, and each time it behaved similarly bad, but it was seemingly random. Sometimes it was fine when I left it alone, and after 15 minutes of idle time as soon as I launched Google Chrome the display went wonky again. Other times it would go wonky within a minute of launching Chrome.

I'm quite perplexed by this issue. I haven't updated drivers or replaced/added hardware in over a month, and the only major software update I made was a routine Windows 7 update in the last week or so. I searched for discussions of similar issues within the last week on various forums but didn't find anything.

I'm not sure if my motherboard or something else is on the fritz. The computer is almost 4 years old. I am performing a memory check right now, and it keeps recounting the bytes over and over again. Perhaps the issue has to do with the memory sticks?


NVidia NForce XFX 790i (BIOS v2.053.D6)
Intel Core2 Quad CPU 2.67Ghz
NVidia GTX 280 GPU
8Mb DDR3 Memory

Here's a shot of the crazy display:

I'll appreciate any help.
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  1. Just in case anyone else had the same problem, I eventually found the answer, although it necessarily good news...

    ...I concluded that the graphic card was somehow damaged physically. I am not sure what caused this to happen, although I am wondering if there was some kind of a surge that the surge protector did not protect against.
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