UPDATE: its kinda working now
well after having to live with the nv driver for a few hours I did the following.
cvsup'd 4.8-Stable from my April source to July 8th source
build/installed world & kernel
nv driver still works
tried latest nvidia kernel driver
locks up hard still
unload new nvidia kernel module and loaded old kernel module and that works fine now.
no idea why new driver panics the kernel. I've tried every option I can think of.