Originally Posted by netllama
I'd definitely encourage you to get a serial console setup. That will provide a good starting point to debug the instability, regardless of its source.
Okay, I'll do that as soon as I possibly can.
I now have older kernels that crash when the 'nvidia' driver loads or don't work at all, and newer kernels that crash under load whether the driver is loaded or not. In both cases kernel output seems like the only thing to pin it down, so I'll have to find a serial cable. Hopefully the kernel will still dump the error message over the serial port even though it crashes hard (even magic SysRq breaks).
Thanks for helping.