First of all, GPU specs: GTX 660M with driver version 320.18.
It had been awhile since I had last tried to game, and then when I tried to play something just a couple of days ago the game wound up crashing on me. Typically, the screen would freeze so that the graphics were not being updated, but the game was still running (as could be deduced from the sound reacting to my input); shortly thereafter, the game would crash.
Because of the particular symptoms, I suspected that the problem was with my video card, so I decided to monitor its temperature and I noticed that, the drivers consistently crashed (with a little bubble popping up on the task-bar saying that it had also "safely recovered") at 77-78 C.
Any idea why the driver would be crashing at such low temps and how to fix it? Could my video card be damaged? I should mention that, before it hits the critical temperature of 77-78 C, all games run perfectly fine: no artifacts, no tearing, nothing abnormal at all.
For what it's worth, while I had not been gaming recently, I had been using my GPU to mine Litecoin. Is it possible that the mining could have damaged my card in such a way so as to cause this particular problem?
Additional Specs: OS is 64-bit Windows 8 Professional, processor is Intel Core i7-3630QM @ 2.4 GHz, 8 GB RAM
EDIT: This result happens uniformly over all games I have tried. Same effect (screen freezing) occurring at the same temperature. I also tried un-installing and re-installing the most recent drivers before the current 320.18 drivers (314.22), and oddly, they wouldn't install, but instead complained that they couldn't detect an nVidia card on my system. On the other hand, upon re-installing the 320.18 drivers, everything went smoothly.