After boxing up my old computer and sending it off to Dell, I began playing Half Life 2: Episode 1.
The third day I went to play it, It started crashing. It would crash every time I played after playing for 60 seconds.
So I went in search of the answer hoping beyond hope that it was a simple driver update.
I did all of the windows updates, downloaded the latest DirectX drivers, and downloaded the Steam Crash Client. The steam crash client was very helpful in that it told me that I had a VERY SEVERE problem with my video card drivers, and gave me a link to download the new ones (I was using v.6.14.1... and the current ones as of 8/21/06 were 8.282). Let's hope this isn't an evil trap by Vadar to lure me in, and that this will actually work.
After installing all drivers and updating windows, the game seems to be working fine...