Windows won't go past welcome screen after installing AMD drivers

Okay, yesterday, I got a HIS 7950 - had an issue with the fan (which I RMA'd it for) it wouldn't drop below 100%, but that's got nothing to to with anything, short story for that card, it had the same issue that my RMA replacement has (FYI - an ASUS Direct CU II Top 7950). So I'm guessing it isn't the fault of the GPU (unless both had the exact same issue but that's unlikely...)

So - first of all, I reinstalled Windows, totally fresh Windows 7 Professional install; the PC loaded fine with the default windows drivers, I can use the PC as normal - but obviously with with windows driver, games aren't really playable.
I installed the AMD driver and it asked to restart (as you normally would do). After this, it just freezes on the Windows welcome screen, nothing I do at this point helps, no matter how many times I try restarting, it always freezes there - The only fix is to load safe mode and do a system restore to before the AMD Catalyst driver was installed.

CPU: Intel i5 2500k
Motherboard: ASUS P8P67-m Pro
RAM: 2x2GB Corsair
PSU: Corsair TX750

Everything was working fine last week - with the above specs but with a reference HD5770 1GB. Both 7950s I've tried do the same thing. I can't think of anything at all that it can be, I've tried everything I can think of and have been googling all day to find a way to get it to work, it's utterly depressing and I really want a solution :( I just want to play with my new 7950....
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More about windows past screen installing drivers
  1. Did you try an earlier driver, like 12.6 or 12.4?
  2. michaeljhuman said:
    Did you try an earlier driver, like 12.6 or 12.4?

    Tried 12.6 and 12.8. Where can I download older ones?

    it was under previous drivers/software link on the right side
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