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New Computer Build Graphics Card Problems?

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Hey Geeks To Go,

I recently built my first computer in January and, after a few weeks after running smoothly, I started experiencing some issues. The first problem I encountered was when I began playing Street Fighter 4, and the computer screen would freeze for a few seconds and then continue normally, followed by a pop-up on the bottom right hand corner stating, "The Windows Kernel Mode Driver has stopped responding and has successfully recovered." After a few freezes, sometimes the colors would be screwed up. Even more rarely, it would freeze the screen and red dots would appear alongside the sound from the game playing nonstop.

Normally, I would just take a break when this happened and the next day or so I came back to play, it was fine for a little while. This whole problem began to occur more often when I began to play Borderlands and Mass Effect 2. I did a little research and tested the theory that my graphics card was overheating. I lowered my graphics card temperature while playing Borderlands max settings to 140 F by turning up the fan speed. It did solve the problem for about a week, but the problem continued.

About a month ago, this occurrence finally rendered the inability to play those kind of games such as Borderlands, Bioshock 2, etc. without experiencing this crash at one point. These last couple weeks have shown even worse progress. Sometimes having on several tabs on my web browser and proceeding to play a YouTube video would cause a freeze. In this occurrence, however, the kernel mode driver seemed to always recover.

The worst thing, which now renders my computer inoperable unless under safe mode, is that even simple web browsing or even signing onto the desktop causes a freeze and a blue screen, which lead to a restart and dumping of memory. In this case, I tried to underclock my graphics card memory clock down 15%, which seemed to work for a day, but again fails to do anything now.

I'm not entirely sure now if the problem has to do with a faulty graphics card or a driver compatibility issue between Nvidia drivers and Windows 7. I have fully updated my Nvidia drivers and my Windows 7. Please help!

My Computer Build:
CPU: Phenom II x4 955
Motherboard: Asus M4N82 Deluxe
Memory: 4 gb Patriot DDR2 6400
Graphics Card: XFX GeForce GTX 260 core edition
HDD: Seagate 500 gb
DVD Drive: Sony Optiarc

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

- Trashman403
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