Nvidia drivers were the 256 or 257 series WHQL
since you said you only used the 191 and 196 series drivers it wasn't clear if you tried using the latest drivers to see if made any difference
i have seen a lot of issues coming out of the most recent drivers. looking on other forums and such people said that the 196 or 197 were pretty solid so i figured i would try those. i guess the next step would be to try updating all the way. but then the question in my head that pops up is why my little brothers computer is working just fine? but maybe im just unlucky.
thanks for the advice once again. ill try everything posted here to see what works best for me.