My VisionTek video cards are officially DEAD. Sadly, the reason for their demise only became clear as they flashed their final BSOD. They were defeated by HEAT.
After all my praise and high regard for the Arctic Cooling VGA solutions, it turns out they are the culprit in this epic failure. The Twin Turbos suffer from a critical hardware deficiency. They are not programmed to have the fans start when the computer is powered on. In fact they do not start until the OS has actually loaded and whatever utility that controls them (i.e. CCC, Riva-Tuner) has started.
This translates to anytime you are in the BIOS, in Safe Mode, installing the OS, or in a situation where the boot hangs, the fans on these cards are NOT running. Your video card is being cooled by a large and ineffective heat sink. So it is in fact slowly cooking itself to death. Kiss 700.00 goodbye.
Most video card manufacturers do not honour the warranty if you "modify" your video card. So you are pretty much out of luck. I, however, refuse to go down without a fight and at this point I am holding Arctic Cooling responsible for the damages. I don't think they were clear enough when they stated "the fans spin up late". They should have pointed out the fans do not start at all until the OS loads. And that situation pretty much renders these VGA coolers as useless AND dangerous.
I am going to be making a lot of noise in the next little while to anybody who will listen. I doubt AC is going to make good on my loss. But I can't help but wonder how many others are suffering the same aggravation without realizing what the actual cause is. There may be a Class Action Suit in Arctic Cooling's future.
In the meantime, I am out of the gaming scene until I can save enough cash for the repairs.