NVIDIA messed up pretty badly with the launch of their GeForce 196.75 WHQL drivers. A software issue prevented the fan from spinning and resulted in overheating, lower performance, and in some extreme cases the death of graphics cards.
The driver has been pulled from NVIDIA's website and people who installed it are advised to downgrade to an earlier release.
We contacted Bryan Del Rizzo, nVidia's PR Manager for GeForce for comment:
"We are aware that some customers have reported fan speed issues with the latest 196.75 WHQL drivers on NVIDIA.com. Until we can verify and root cause this issue, we recommend that customers stay with, or return to 196.21 WHQL drivers. Release 196.75 drivers have been temporarily removed from our Web site in the meantime."
Given that the most users that reported their graphics cards have died were using a custom-built boards featuring nVidia's favorite renaming chip of all times, G92 GPU [8800GT, 8800GTS, 9800GT, 9800GTX and the subsequent 55nm die-shrink: 9800GTX+, GTS 250]: GeForce 9800GT, 9800GTX and GTS 250 were particular victims of this issue.