I will get round to adding the BIOS flashing and Vmod section at some point but I'm going to finish updating the new build thread first, I've already done the first half.
As for the artifacts, you will know them when you see them. Sometimes they will just be an improperly rendered pixel, like a yellow spot. Other times there will be weird shapes all over your screen. Furmark will most likely crash before it displays artifacts though, so you don't need to look for them.
You can use ATi tool with an Nvidia card if you want. You can use the artifact scanner with any card.
In regards to the manual vs direct control of a vid card fan. Since I always have it at 65% would it be logical for me to use it via direct control as well I overclock test?
I always adjust the fan settings through a BIOS flash. I promise I'll get round to that section...