Looks like I should be getting my motherboard later today. Let me back up a bit.
Once upon a time, my graphics card started acting up last Thanksgiving. You know how when Windows boots, there's that welcome screen, then fade to black, then desktop? I would always get display corruption when the desktop would show. It looked like magenta fish scales. This was mitigated by disabling Aero (the fancy glass effects), but it would still freak out whenever I tried to watch a movie or play a game.
I RMAed my card and got it back. Same stuff. Being about Christmas at the time, I knew that Sandy Bridge was going to be released, so I waited until about a week after New Year's to get a shiny new Sandy Bridge i7, new motherboard, new RAM (16 gigs!), and a new PSU. Once I put it all together, I was disappointed when I saw... magenta fish scales instead of my desktop.
After trying and checking many things, I eventually decided to put it in my server, which by then was my old desktop parts that I had originally started out with. Made sure Linux had the drivers, and they were enabled, and mostly encountered the same problem. After an hour or so, the card had warmed up, but was not having any problems. I immediately shut down the server, removed the card, and put it into my desktop while the card was still hot. Success! I played games until I shut the system down at the end of the weekend.
Guess there might have been a bad contact on the GPU or something that thermal expansion somehow took care of. I did that "cook in server until warm" trick at least once again. I managed to convince EVGA to RMA the card again. I never got it back: I got upgraded! Goodbye GTX 280, hellooooo GTX 285! It was only later I discovered the thing comes with 2 gigs of VRAM, twice my original 280, but I don't really care about how much RAM graphics cards have nowadays. I'm more concerned about fillrate, memory bus width, and clockspeeds. Using my friends' logic, I guess I have to hate NVidia now, since I had a card with an NVidia chip on it and it broke.
In the middle of figuring out what was wrong and sending it in, here comes news that all the Sandy Bridge motherboards are bad. After 3 years, there's a possibility that the SATA ports might go bad. Great! After this system retires from desktop duties, it will likely end up in my server, and I'm thinking that working SATA ports might help with that.
I sent it in Monday last week, and should be arriving this evening. Hopefully I can look forward to months of not touching my desktop's innards. It's been extremely annoying, but somewhat fun. Too much fun by this point, needs moderation. Crap, talking like Scientist Salarian. Must stop!
I was listening to NPR last Tuesday and they had a story about Portal because Portal 2 was coming out. I HATE YOU! CAN'T PLAY BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE A MOTHERBOARD! Oh well, at least I preloaded it that weekend. Zero guesses as to what I'll be doing when everything's in order.