I have already discussed this with the help desk. The only solution that we found was to use old drivers. I want to post it here so others having the same problem can reply.
I am using 8400GS hardware and I have been experiencing short system hangs with the newer drivers. 295.71 is the latest driver that doesn’t do it at all. That is all that I want to say about it now. I will give more information later.
NOTE ADDED 7/28/2013: new versions of various software have made installing the old driver (295.71) no longer possible. the problem persists and seems to simply be that the new drivers expect too much from the old graphics hardware. please suggest a distro that will allow me to install a driver that is compatible with my hardware.
ANOTHER NOTE 7/31/2013: I managed to get 295.71 installed on an older kernel by copying 32bit libraries to application directory. Performance is the same, not good when adapter memory is depleted, but there are no hangs.
it just now happened with 295.71. aiiiieeeeeeeeeee