November 4, 2010
I tried loading a Kubuntu live CD. I would get the blinking, but not the glitches. I tried upgrading the Nvidia drivers and XOrg. There was no difference, so that left it to the video card (an EVGA GeForce 8500 GT) or potentially the motherboard.
I purchased a new video card, but was hoping to find another one to test and verify if it was the video card before opening the package in case I needed to return it. Thankfully, a friend had one, but I could not get it to work. My monitors would detect a signal, but would not show anything.
At that point, a closer look at the EVGA video card brought attention to one of the capacitors, which had bulged and burst, pictured in this post. I plugged in the video card I purchased, and things were running again.
The EVGA video card ran my system for about 3.5 years. It's the first time I've had a video card fail on me.