Frustrating Windows 7 and Nvidia graphics card problem

I inherited an HP 8000 Elite SFF desktop that has Intel onboard graphics. Update options are limited due to the dinky PS, but in researching, I found that an OEM upgrade was the Geforce 310DP graphics card. So I found a new one on e-bay and installed it.

Windows 7 Pro never detected it: just continued using onboard graphics only. The card was nowhere to be found in Device manager, etc etc. I downloaded the newest drivers from Nvida and tried installing those. I got an error that said I didn't have an Nvidia card installed. I also tried the drivers from the HP website (older versions). Didn't work either.

There is an option in the BIOS to disable the onboard VGA, so I tried that. Seemed to do something initially because the POST messages were coming through the DVI output of the card, only to have it immediately switch back to the onboard VGA graphics when Windows would load.

Then tried uninstalling the Intel graphics adapter in Windows 7. The display would switch to the generic Windows 7 VGA with low resolution. On restart, it immediately re-installed the intel on-board drivers.

Finally after hours of trial and error, and researching this and other boards on the net, I thought I had it figured out by disabling the Intel adapter AND the generic windows VGA adapter from the device manager. On restart, the display switched over to the card and I could install the Nvidia drivers, no problem.

HOWEVER, when I shut down the computer and restarted it, the system went right back to the onboard graphics! The card also is not showing up under device manager again, just like before.

Help! What am I doing wrong? Is there some way to permanently disable the onboard graphics?
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  1. So, Just wanted to give an update. Turned out to be a bad video card.

    Lessons learned:
    1) "New" from ebay is not the same as "New"
    2) Faulty hardware can cause very strange problems.

    Thanks to any who pondered my dilemma.
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