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My old monitor I've been using as a second screen finally gave up the ghost this past summer, and I just recently got around to grabbing my brother's old monitor as a replacement. Nothing fancy, just a Samsung SyncMaster 712N. Worked fine, and I thought all was well.
If I turn the monitor off, there's a good chance it won't come back on except with a message that it's not in "Optimum Mode" which is the settings I already have it set to (1280 x 1024 @ 60hz). If I unconnect the monitor and unplug it, this will generally solve the problem. This ONLY happens when the monitor is turned off. I have had it happily run continously for hours otherwise. It has not randomly switched to this error message while already on.
While a quick google search shows that this seems to be a common issue for the monitor, I haven't found anyone with the same cause. Every result is upon boot-up or a random occurance. It's becoming really annoying now as I have to drop what I'm doing and fiddle with cables any time I come back to my computer after breaking for food or something.
If relevant, my video card is an GeForce 9600 GT. My other monitor is also a Samsung (only higher resolution) and works fine.