Presario f700 laptop artifacting. Resolution?

Hi all!
I have an HP Presario f700 64-bit laptop with an Nvida graphics card, running ubuntu 11.04 and now OpenSuse (sort of)
I just installed Suse 11.4 the live cd gui was fine, but now when I boot from the hard drive as soon as it gets past the initial command line and into the gui it artifacts terribly. I can’t see what I am doing at all.
Is there any way to change the screen resolution in the failsafe? Is it even a resolution issue?
Ubuntu still works fine, (after I fixed grub.)
I’m still new to linux so please talk slowly.