Tempramental Nvidia GTX 950

I recently got a brand new GTX 950 to replace my GTX 460. Unfortunately, I have been experiencing some problems with it:

  • When I boot my computer, the motherboard logo is somewhat distorted - it looks quite stretched and seems to "spill" off of the screen. What's more, the BIOS does not render properly at all. It should look like this, but actually looks like this. As you can see, there is a weird rendering issue.
  • (Despite the aforementioned problem, the card does allow me to access Windows in a low resolution.) After installing the latest Nvidia driver, the card ceases to produce any output. During the installation, the screen turns off and then never comes back on again. With the driver installed, when I boot my computer, I see the same distorted motherboard logo, and then as soon as Windows loads, the monitor stops receiving output from the card. The only way I can access Windows is to load it in safe mode, which effectively temporarily disables the driver.

I tried a whole bunch of things to solve these problems but nothing worked. In a last ditch effort before returning the card, I replaced my monitor and to my surprise, the card started working flawlessly. In order to confirm that the card was working, I ran a handful of benchmarks including including PcMark, FurMark, and AIDA64, all of which produced accurate scores.

Just to ensure that it was replacing the monitor that actually solved my problems, I swapped the monitors back again. After doing this, the aforementioned problems came back. I swapped the monitors again and the card started working fine.

Understand that these two monitors are of an identical model (Samsung SyncMaster SA350), used the same cable, and had the same default settings. I borrowed a third monitor (a generic Asus monitor) and it, too, exhibited the erroneous behavior described above. All of these tests were conducted using the card's DVI output and the same DVI-HDMI cable.

In an attempt to further isolate the problem I continued to experiment with different monitors, cables, and ports. I did this for about 10 minutes but didn't really learn anything interesting. After a while I thought it best to confirm that the monitor/setup that once worked was still working but to my dismay, it wasn't. Understand that all I did was swap cables and peripherals - I didn't change any monitor settings, nor did I change any BIOS settings. This, to me, suggests that the hardware is temperamental.

The next morning the problem persisted. I swapped the monitors again and the card started working. After a couple of system restarts, the problems all came back.

Here are some more details that may help diagnose the problem:

  • The card I am trying to install is an EVGA GTX 950 SC+
  • My motherboard is an MSI P67A-GD53 (B3). It is running the latest BIOS.
  • My processor is an Intel i5 2500k
  • I am confident that I have ample power, as my old card requires twice as much power and works fine
  • I installed my old 460 and it still works fine
  • I am running a clean installation of Windows 10 Pro (64bit)
  • Before installing the driver, I booted into safe mode and ran DDU.
  • I have tried installing driver versions 355.82 (31.8.2015) and and 361.43 (21.12.2015). Both exhibited the same erroneous behavior.

Clearly this is a hardware issue. The question is: Is this a defective card or is their a compatibility issue, do you think?