My problem is exactly how devotional
described it in the dell forum:
I am using the latest NVIDIA driver (1.0-4496). As soon as I use this driver I will get a "burning effect" on the screen when I start X - it does not look healthy at all. When I bail out of the X server, the console is messed up with a red flickering all over the screen. By starting the X server with the default VESA driver I can reset it back to normal.