As you can see from my sad tales of terror above, the problems between Via chipsets and Nvidia cards is an ongoing battle. Remembering all of the posts of problems in the past several years, I specifically held on to my trouble-free Voodoo card until it was just to far behind the curve. Hoping that Nvidia and Via had reached some level of cooperation by now, I took the plunge and was rewarded with hours and hours of troubleshooting. Basically the Nvidia/Via combination will always be volatile and a real minefield awaits those who are brave enough to change any performance settings beyond the default installation. More details on the continuing conflict can be found at ViaArena.com. The faq's, troubleshooting sections and the forums are full of hints and tips and tales of woe, and I think that you and I are lucky that we figured out the solution to our individual problems in less than a week. There has always been a trade-off between stability and performance, but with the deadly Via/Nvidia combo, anything other than default is russian-roulette. My best suggestion to anyone brave (foolish?) enough to try fooling with settings is get that old 2-6 gig drive out of the scrap heap, install the operating system, various test programs and games, unplug your current main drive, and make the old drive work again as your test subject. Worst case = swapping drives back. It's a lot of trouble to go to, but it beats the hell out of reformatting your main drive.
For those about to bork, I salute you!