Random freezing, black screen and noises

Hi all and thanks for taking the time to read and help.

The issue:

Within the past month I've been having some issues when playing games. Everything will be running fine until randomly the game will freeze, the screen will turn black (sometimes followed by weird stuttering sounds) before coming back on like nothing happened.

This happens on majority of games, one exception being TF2 where it just goes to the desktop but the game still runs.

I have also seen on few occasions a pop up from the task bar notifying me that the nvidia drivers xxx.xx have stopped working.

Furthermore and very rarely sometimes my computer suffers a BSOD (atleast the error notification says so) when i just leave it idling on desktop, or it wont turn the display on from sleep mode.

Graphics Drivers:

1. I first updated my drivers to 285.62 (oct 2011) by uninstalling the current through device manager and installing. (never any issues)

2. I updated those more recently to 296.10 simply by installing over the previous using nvidias express install. (issues started happening after installing these)

3.today i tried 301.42 by using nvidias custom install and selecting 'clean install'. (issue persists)

Basic System Info:

i5-2500k (stock)
8gb G.Skill Ripjaws (stock)
Samsung Spinpoint 1tb
Gainward Phantom GTX570 (stock)
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3

My Questions:

So im a bit lost as to what my be causing this as i keep my pc clean (software and hardware) and only play through steam and origin. The only other pieces of info i can think to add at this time are that i follow http://nvidia.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2900 and when looking in C:\Program Files (x86)\NVIDIA Corporation after installing new drivers today everything is dated accordingly except the PhysX folder which is from 8/04/2012

So ill leave it with those who are willing to lend a hand, im more than happy to provide you with any puzzle pieces that may help. Appreciate the efforts.
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  1. Not that im an expert at this kind of stuff but is anyone running 301.42 drivers? if so could you tell me what is in your program files nvidia folder and what OS your on? Would be much appreciated so i can rule out residual driver files.
  2. Feel like a bit of a one man army here but figured I would keep it updated in-case someone else falls down the same hole.

    After investigating friends computers it seems the PhysX folder on my machine hasn't been updated with previous driver installs (i.e. the different folder creation date) and so i ask this hopefully simply question to anyone who has an idea:

    What will happen if i uninstall "NVIDIA PhysX system software x.xx.xxxx" from windows uninstall or change a program interface? am I going to get a black screen indefinitely or will I be fine until I update?

    I would imagine someone would know from back in the day when you had to do this kind of stuff paired with a 3rd party driver cleaner program.
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