I had a rather peculiar issue with my Geforce card and Ubuntu. I’d get a strange looking graphic on trying to boot X normally. It would boot fine in recovery mode, and if I chose to continue loading Linux in recovery, X would start just fine.
Following are the steps to install:
sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-`uname -r`
sudo /etc/init.d/kdm stop
sudo chmod +x NVIDIA*
sudo sh NVIDIA*
sudo /etc/init.d/kdm start