Black Screen and fan irregularities

Hey all. I'm about at my wits end. My main rig, desktop, I built gradually about ten months ago. Since then, I've had occasional bouts of system crashes. They seem to come in waves; hit one day, gone the next, not seen again for a month or two. The system will be powered on, can be gaming, sitting on the desktop, pumping tunes, or even, after a crash, starting up. The display goes black, acts as if it isn't receiving signal. The typical behaviour is a fan (GPU, I think), often spins up to what sounds like ~100%, although sometimes it will slow down drastically first. If there is music going, the music will keep continuing for usually five to fifteen seconds after everything has blackscreened and the fan has went crazy, then it'll loop and eventually die.
Specs: MSI mobo, i7 2600k, 8gb Kingston, h20 cpu cooler, HAF 920 case, XFX HD6970, 750W Corsair, no OC. (Storage is SSD for OS, RAID array for data)
My first guess was heating issues, ran sensors and kept a history; my cpu cores go in 23-37 C, which sounds fine; I don't like the gap, but I suspect that's my fault for a questionable job on the paste application, doesn't sound worrisome. GPU runs ~ 45-55 C under load, with fan turned up to 75%. Voltages in BIOS look fine.
Another very weird thing; once it blackscreens, 95% of the time, if I try to just power it back on after hard-powering it off, it will power on the tower, no display on the monitor, fan spins to full, and stays there. This will happen, even if I let it sit for a day powered off. If I open the case physically, the fan will usually spin back down. Usually though, not always.
Anyways, at this point, I'm inclined to submit a warranty request on the GPU, because I'm figuring that either it or the mobo is at fault. Any recommendations or tests would be greatly appreciated though.
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More about black screen irregularities
  1. Remove your HD 6970 and move to integrated graphics.
    If the problem persists, it's most probably because of your motherboard/PSU.
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