FINAL UPDATE: Here is the best solution that I found after going through this problem lots of times. The question below is outdated because as it turns out the computer is not the problem; the monitor is the problem.
I've just set up a new nettop computer (Acer Aspire Revo 3700: CPU:Atom D525, GPU:Nvidia ION2). I've just made a clean install of Ubuntu 10.10 using the standard USB pendrive method. Almost everything works OK, but the graphics are not OK: the recommended Nvidia driver is activated but the monitor is not detected, so the resolution is wrong.
How can I make Ubuntu detect my monitor?
How can I get the proper resolution (1280x1024) in Ubuntu?
I know that my monitor is not a CRT but an LCD: it's a BenQ, model T905, with 1280x1024 resolution at 60Hz, connected via a normal VGA cable. DVI or HDMI is not an option.
When I go to System>Prefs>Monitors, I get:
It appears that your graphics driver does not support the necessary extensions to use this tool. Do you want to use your graphics driver vendor's tool instead?
If I say NO then I get a window:
or for YES I get this:
In both cases I don't see that I can fix this problem. The main reason for getting this new computer was that I was sick of having graphics problems on the old one with a very ugly solution that didn't give me hardware support - but at least I got the resultion. Why is this so difficult... sigh!