dj_bridges, you are in very able hands already, but I have some similar experience lately that might be of help.
I used a live usb with my acer laptop with nvidiaG105m. I got to the desktop, but a screen with 6 miniature desktops. Normal behavior since recent nvidia update.
However the nvidia didn't allow logout-login. So graphic adjustments couldn't be applied.
I created a usb with persistence and eventually booted to console, played with /etc/X11/xorg.conf and got a kde desktop, then finetuned, logout/login was then allowed. All ok.
Hope that is of help.
Back to the experts.