I've been trying to get this resolved for the last two days now; I've done a complete/clean reinstall of 11.10; I've tried reinstalling and uninstalling the nvidia drivers multiple ways (ie, using jockey, downloading from nvidia website, etc) but nothing has worked.
I get horrible performance from the 173 drivers (slow gnome-shell operation/animations, slow web browsing, file browsing, etc). When I "Activate" the nvidia-current drivers in jockey then reboot, I get great performance and everything runs smoothly, but the system goes into complete lockup after about a minute of use. everything on the display freezes/stops responding including the mouse and keyboard.
I have a bit of terminal knowledge, so feel free to throw some code, etc, at me or tell me to retrieve/post log file outputs....
My system is a Gateway P-6860FX with a 1.8GHz Dore2Duo, 4 gigs of DDR2 RAM and a nvidia 8800M GTS (512mb version). The problem has been present both times I installed 11.10 on this machine.
I have gotten 11.10 with gnome-shell running perfectly on my desktop which has a 3.3 GHz Core2Duo, 4 gigs of RAM, and a nvidia GTX 460.