Bah, update, finally.
Seems the Geforce drivers thread that was stickied at the top of the forums got removed.
Anyhow, I did a complete reformat, fresh install, etc. Installed the laptop's drivers from the Dell resource CD, except the video driver. Got Tony's drivers onto the system, installed, and rebooted. Same slow performance as before, was like a driver wasn't even installed except for the high resolution. Then it crashed on me.
Uninstalled, then put on the Dell stock driver's from their support site. No problems, but the same damned flicker is still happening in games.
Further, I have been able to play around in a new game "World in Conflict" and get the issues there too (z-fighting/flickering) and, even more frightening, I got what I recognized as a vertex issue, where textures are stretched off to weird points in the distance. It happened in WIC when I backed the camera through a building and came out the other side, to find that the textures in the game world had been basically mutilated. I didn't know the screenshot command for WIC, so I didn't get an image of it, but I have gotten one from World of Warcraft before, with my old video card.
Here are a few shots of the World of Warcraft version:http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f6...707_182427.jpghttp://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f6...707_182417.jpghttp://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f6...707_174510.jpg
At this point I am at even more of a complete loss than I was before. The Warcraft problem was the first sign that my 7900gs was heading downhill. Short of a Memory Parity Error BSOD and BIOS artifacting, this 7950gtx has now officially shown IDENTICAL symptoms to the faulty 7900gs.
My gut tells me there must be something else wrong with my system, there is just no possible way that I could have gotten 3 consecutive faulty video cards with such similar symptoms. On other other hand, though, why would a problem elsewhere in the computer result in failed video memory tests using the diagnostic?
The motherboard seems like the only possible culprit, but I currently don't know how to go about testing it. I haven't tried reseating the video card on the mobo, primarily because opening this thing up is a rather large pain, but I am willing to try that if a loose connection has any reasonable chance of being at fault for these problems.
At this point, I'm willing to try anything. I just need to know ASAP so that, in the extremely unlikely case that this card is also faulty, I can make good use of it's warranty. I figure if it IS my MOBO that is frying cards and Dell keeps having to send me replacements, they might get a bit pissed off and, considering it was their idiot tech support that couldn't figure it out in the first place, just send me a new one.
Ya right. But I can dream.
Any help is, as always, greatly appreciated.