It really SHOULDN'T be this hard, but I have used LMDE Maya on the prior motherboard and liked it a lot. Also, I'm happy with the way Mint does software selection backup and restore. Thus, I'll beat this beast somehow... going from 32 bit to 64 bit with this nice new AMD MB and FX processor and 16GB of memory has been a trial in patience.
After half-a-dozen installs, this is the closest I've been.
Nouveau is blacklisted.
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Anyone not knowing how to do that from the terminal might profit from this:
sudo apt-get install vim
navigate to the directory:
sudo vim blacklist.conf
using vim you have to enter codes to quit and to save the file. To save it's ":w<enter>". To quit it's ":q<enter>".
I hadn't used vim before because I never had to edit a file from the terminal before without having the desktop / Xwindows (DE). Live and learn.
Vim also is good for reading all those config files that you want to check... like the xorg.conf file and the xorg.failsave, etc.
I downloaded the driver for my GEForce GT620 and changed it to an executable with chmod.
I ran the driver install.
Then I had no GUI. X gave me the error that I had API mismatch, NVIDIA kernel module has version 304.88. NVIDIA driver has version 310.44.
Since I was only in text mode, the only way to update again was with sudo apt-get update and upgrade.
No joy. Same mismatch in versions.
Now I'm looking for a driver that will match the kernel. If that fails, then I'll do the install again, from scratch, update, and then pick the experimental driver. If none of the above work, then I might even drive back over to Tiger and find a different graphics card. Something will work.
I already have installed nvidia-kernel-dkms, nvidia-settings, nvidia-smi, and nvidia-xconfig.
A̶n̶d̶ ̶i̶f̶ ̶a̶n̶y̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶h̶a̶s̶ ̶a̶n̶y̶ ̶i̶d̶e̶a̶s̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶m̶e̶,̶ ̶I̶'̶d̶ ̶a̶p̶p̶r̶e̶c̶i̶a̶t̶e̶ ̶i̶t̶.̶ FIXED IT.
Finally, what worked, the last step:
Go back to the nvidia download website; enter the graphics card info/linux/64bit and, from the list, get the driver THAT MATCHES THE NVIDIA KERNEL. In my case, that was 304.88. Download that driver. Install it.
A couple more notes, for anyone that doesn't know already, if you've already knackered the DE, then you have to download using the live DVD.
There are ways to unmount and remount the whole hard drive from the live DVD; however, there's an easier way. Download and view the downloads with Firefox (the browser on the live DVD). Right click and open folder. Drag the downloaded driver to a usb device. Rename the driver--I used 30488.run.
log in to the system, if you're here reading this, the DE still isn't working so you're in command mode.
plug in the usb
cd /media (if you haven't done this) and sudo mkdir mymedia
cd /dev/disk/by-uuid (There are other directories, but by-uuid gives you short labels for the usb.)
sudo mount [the uuid for your usb] /media/mymedia
ls (to make sure you're there and see the files... mine was renamed by me earlier to 30488.run)
sudo chmod +x 30488.run
sudo sh 30488.run (say yes to everything like was mentioned in earlier posts)
After the install:
It works. Thanks, bunches, to all the original posters here; and I sincerely hope that this helps someone coming along after me.