New graphics cards support compatible standards used by older cards. You don't think about why MS-WORD would not be able to handle a new graphics card or CPU do you? The same instructions and API that was used for older graphics cards using OpenGL is still present and working in new graphics cards.
I eventually seemed to find the apparent source of the problem: Adobe.
I reinstalled Windows over itself doing an upgrade to the same version over itself. That reinstalled Photoshop to its intial state as well. I then found that Photoshop started working with my newest graphics card (before it was allowed to connect to the internet). After Adobe's licensing dialed home to verify my license, it stopped working with the graphics card again. Over time, the registry entries for PS/CS5.1 were deleted so that Photoshop would no longer work. Now it just generates a crash.