okay, i fixed the problem...for the most part. i reset all configurations in the bios. reseated everything - including ram. turned off the agp shadow setting. set the bios to look for agp first (it was defaulting on pci first) then i booted in safe mode, removed the drivers, and reinstalled them after a normal boot.
now my only problem is the case is an old generic beige case...very cramped up inside not alot of room to work..i noticed the periphrials looked as if they were completely seated, but upon closer inspection i noticed the case is pretty, for lack of better terms, poorly made. the motherboard is properly mounted, i know that for a fact. yet the cards seem to be seated at somewhat of an angle....mainly the video card. back to my main point, the case will not allow the agp card to be properly seated and i think this is what is causing the new problem of screen distortion. differenct colored 'blocks' (like the flashing cursor in dos programs) appear all over the screen. im going to take everything out and reseat everything without a case and hook it up to an extra power supply to see if it is actually the case causing the problems!
thanks for all the input! i greatly appreciate it.
p.s. sorry if this post isnt too readable, im in a rush - i have work soon. hehe.