for those of you keeping score at home, it turned out to be the power supply. i popped in my old raptor drive and my system continued to crash. PSU tester always read the right voltages without anomaly. eventually, nothing was working whatsoever. i was about to send in my MoBo and CPU which were still under warranty, but i wanted to test the PSU first since I wasn't convinced. well, the cheapo 400W from Best Buy fired her right up and no crashes since. it baffles the mind. I considered this problem 9 months ago when the crashes were very infrequent but since the PSU tester said everything was fine I wrote it off. now 70 crashes later (apparently the SSD keeps track), i finally have it figured out. hopefully those didn't take a big toll on my CPU and harddrives.