I decided to try the upgrade to 12.10 from 12.04. Dell Studio 1555 with the ATI Radeon HD 6450 video card. All worked beautifully in 12.04. After upgrade and reboot, no Unity, and max screen resolution is only 1152 x 864 (should be 1600 x 900). Login into Gnome gives me a useable desktop, but screen resolution is still 1152 x 864.
update: did a "sudo apt-get purge fglrx*" on a hunch, and rebooted. I have everything back to normal now. There were two errant ATI packages that must have been causing problems. I do notice that I am running much hotter now on the Open Source driver however.