OK - my thoughts on trying to triage this.
- Is this a compiz issue?
Try logging in as ubuntu classic
Switch off all visual effects. Does the garbled display occur? If not, likely to be a compiz issue. If it does, maybe a nvidia driver issue.
Now switch on visual effects - Does the garbled display occur? If not, then likely to be a Unity type issue. If it does, more likely to be a compiz issue.
- Is this a driver issue?
Deactivate the nvidia driver through the Additional Drivers window. Does the garbled display occur? If it doesnt then is likely to be a nvidia driver vs compiz issue.
CCSM was deliberately left out of the default install, because it was found that users making changes could make the graphical display unstable. If you have been playing with various CCSM setting maybe this is your issue.
Try resetting compiz to its defaults:
gconftool-2 --recursive-unset /apps/compiz
sudo reboot --
Repeat the above to see if the issue was due to changes in compiz that you may have made.