During gaming, screen completely freezes and graphics go full-on distorted. This has happened now 3 times in a little over 1 day while playing 2 different games. It was once vertical bars unevenly spaced and lengthed, where each bar is multicolored and scratchy and obscures all graphics it covers. The other two times it was full-screen distortion where the scratchy, multicolored almost cross-hatch pattern covered almost all the graphics on screen. Sometimes pieces of the screen would still be animated and stuck in loop, sometimes it would be completely frozen. Two of the three times there has been a loud buzzing sound either constant or looping, coming directly through the speakers.
Most importantly, every time this has happened it has been a hard freeze/crash. There is no way to regain control of the computer, it has completely stopped accepting inputs including Ctrl+Alt+Del, et al. and must be forced into power down by holding the power button for several seconds.
For those curious, or if it might help, the games were both on Steam: Mirror's Edge (2 times) and XCOM Enemy Uknown (1 time.)
When it happened with just Mirror's Edge, I assumed it was some kind of fault with that game specifically...when it happened with XCOM, I became suspicious it is not so acute.
In both games and all 3 times it was exactly the same kind of crash, and did not seem to occur in sync with any particular event, such as a loading screen or screen transition. Just in the middle of regular gameplay.
What I have attempted to do:
Not really double all, as I am completely stumped. First thing I thought was graphics drivers, but they are up to date to the latest Windows Update Release, which was October 2012. I ran DXDIAG, and everything shows OK as far as I can interpret. I looked through Windows Event Viewer logs and spotted a few things that look suspicious involving WMI and SideBySide. I do not know how to interpret this information though. I also ran HWMonitor to get software readouts of my voltages and temperatures. This information is probably not useful but it's a start. I included in the following sections all of the logs I thought to grab, and a screen capture of my latest Windows Event Viewer events in case anyone wants me to post a specific log.
Mobo: Gigabyte EP43-UD3L
CPU: Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5200 @ 2.5 Ghz
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS 256 MB
RAM: G.Skill 4 GB DDR2
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1 TB
PSU: Corsair CX500 500W
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 6.1.7601 SP1
Windows Event Viewer logs that might be pertinent
HWMonitor and SMBus readouts for my computer at idle
More than you ever wanted to know about my computer specifications:
Final thoughts, plea:
Anyone got any ideas? Need any more info? Have any diagnostics you want me to run? I'm willing to do it all to the letter. I'd just like to figure out what is causing this. Sorry for the long post, just want to be thorough for those who may be interested in helping.