One of the reasons I switched from Ubuntu to Debian was their driver manager (at the time it was Jockey-gtk). It was terribly broken for me. I recommend doing it yourself from Synaptic when possible. It's usually just a matter of purging one package and installing another, as you've seen.
Just fyi, if you want even finer-grain control, using the command line driver tools isn't that bad (I actually find it fun). You can see loaded drivers by running lsmod, installed drivers are put in this directory:
(replacing 4.7.0-1-amd64 with the current kernel)
Then you can use modprobe to make it load the driver you want.
You can probably find more information about what went wrong with the other driver with
or with journalctl if it's set to keep logs from multiple boots, I'm not sure what the default on Ubuntu is.