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Possibly a bad motherboard?

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To keep this short and sweet, here are the facts:

I built the computer in my signature on February 18th and had to RMA two XFX HD7970 Black Edition cards on February 19th because of artifacting, tearing and pretty much every other indicator of back video cards. So yesterday, I get my new MSI HD7970OC cards and they work fine for about two hours of BF3 and Crysis 3. After the second hour, BF3 hard locks and I restart the system, angered because this is the same way the XFX cards behaved, minus the artifacting. So I restart, go into Crysis and 10 minutes later, BAM same thing.

I ran each card separately before setting up the crossfire, so I am very hesitant to believe I got two more bad cards from a different manufacturer. I have run Prime95 for 10 hours, Memtest86+ (new version) for about 7 hours and a 50-pass run of IBT, all of which pass with no errors.

So does it appear as if the motherboard is bad, since there are no CPU/memory errors upon conclusion of tests but all 3d applications fail at some point? I got the cards from micro center, so I can drive up there and return them, but I am just very skeptical to point my finger at the video cards at this point.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No other cards to test with, and I did test each card individually prior to running both of them together. I will take it apart again later on and try a more prolonged test of each one, but I was trying to get some feelers as to whether or not anyone thinks this is a mobo issue or has seen these signs/symptoms from another problem in the past.

@ ColdRush: The cards weren't just RMA'd, they were returned for a different brand and model. So I think its more ammo against the mobo. I'm running another 50-pass set of IBT to rule out CPU and memory one final time.

Update: 50-pass run of IBT went fine, but then I went into OCCT to run a one hour GPU test at 2560x1440 in full screen to enable SLI support, and it instantly locked up. Is it looking like I probably have a PCIe issue here?
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