Good to hear that you solved that first problem. Believe me, I tried changing virtually everything
in the BIOS of my Athlon XP machine without being able to repeat the problem.
Try installing in text mode. Type 'linux text' at the first prompt during install.
This could be an issue with drivers for your graphics card. One more thing, sometime during installation you have an option for graphical login or text login. It would save us all some headache
if you choose text login. That can be changed back later if you'd prefer graphical login.