The standard X driver hangs the system
It looks to be an issue with the mobo itself. The MSI forums have several "so you want to install linux on this, eh?" style posts, all of which indicate that you need to set the BIOS a certain way before you install the OS at all. So I guess I'll be going down that path now; hope it works.
In either case, to get all that output:
# startx -- -verbose 5 -logverbose 5
That's all you need to do. Thanks again for your help.