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Update screwes up bios (or something)

Hi all,
I'm using the gcc-3.4 version of amd64 and have just installed gnome-desktop and x-window-system. I also installed the nvidia drivers. The installation went fine but when I try to start x (startx) the screen goes blank and won't recover. So only resort was reboot but still a blank screen. I had to clear the bios first to the display back! Ok, boot again, got the grub menu, booted 2.6.8 smp and I see the usual grub messages, then the screen goes blank again! It's like it's turning off the video card, which is btw, a Leadtek FX5200 card. The system is totally unusable right now.
Has anyone else encountered this?
System spec:
Tyan 2885
2 Opteron 244
4 x Kingston DDR 333 256MB
Adaptec 2940UW
NEC DVD rom (scsi)
Plextor Plexwriter (scsi)
HP DAT 24i (scsi)
Fujitsi HD 17 GB (IDE)
Leadtek FX5200
So as you can see there is nothing fancy nor brand new in the box.

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