Obviously this isn't the full spec, I can get that for you upon request if it would be helpful.
My monitor is a Philips 226V 21.5" 1920x1080.
It's been finished as of two days now, and as of yesterday it was working fine. Last night I installed Windows, Microsoft Security Essentials, set up a firewall, desktop/customizables/etc and all was well.
Today, I installed Steam and some accompanying games, and got great performance all round in everything I tested with practically no flaws. I was playing Skyrim, however, and got a crash near the beginning of the game (where you're escaping from Helgen and you have to shoot the sleeping bear with an arrow, in case that's relevant). The monitor went grey and stripey, and displayed no image. My PC still appeared to be on although I couldn't do anything, so I restarted the PC.
All was normal. I started up Skyrim again, had lost my save game, and after about twenty minutes of playing again received the same grey shutdown of death (I'll call it this since I have no knowledge of what the problem is and/or if it has a name). I restarted the PC again and rebooted Skyrim, only to be greeted by a further bout of dissapointment in the form of a third grey shutdown of death.
I was rather cheesed off at this point, so I began to scrape across google looking for endless possible solutions to put me out of my misery. The only thing I found was "try installing the newest graphics drivers for your card". So I downloaded the AMD Catalyst 12.11 Beta drivers, and lo and behold, I started up a different (much less graphically intense game), and lasted a whopping six seconds before the grey shutdown of death struck for the fourth time.
I'm a bit of a computer newbie. I had help putting the thing together from a friend who's quite computer literate. I've asked him, but he just (probably jokingly) told me to turn it off and on again.
I know this is an issue with gaming, as I've idled on my desktop for around two hours now without making any changes since and there have been no issues. Does anyone have any idea as to what could be happening? Is my PC broken? Is my monitor broken?
My friend (who helped me build it) said he did, but it's probably advisable to take it into a PC repair center for diagnostics and analysis, I'm pretty sure it's a faulty card. The repair center have said that from the issues I'm experiencing, it sounds like a fault with the card.
I've uninstalled the drivers and reinstalled the latest Beta drivers, some drivers my friend recommended and the XFX drivers that came on the CD with my card (not all at the same time though). Nothing seems to work, and I've tested the monitor with my old PC, and it worked fine.
It's at the point where I really think it's a faulty piece of hardware...
I hadn't had a PC to post back from as it was in repairs. The fault was indeed with the graphics card, a new one has been put in and everything is working like a complete dream. Thankyou for your suggestion, I made sure to check