Linux OS have X11R6 which provides graphical network interface, it uses the client and server model.. The client and server model applies not only in the networking world.. not only in embedded systems e.g., SPI, Microwire, I2C or RS-422/RS-485 interface but also in the operating systems world..
Clients are simply programs and the X11R6 serves as the Server. To simply distinguished the underlying engine model as client and server, they decorated the letter "X" in front of "Free"..
Thus, XFree86 is born.. and it's name derives from intel-based PC's x86 architecture and Free means "Open to Community" or in laymann's term.. "Open Source" then from there, it supports hundreds of different video chip-sets from Nvidia, Intel, ATI, Via, Analog Devices, AOpen, 3dLabs, etc..
In linux world, There are two different types of desktop environments.. the KDE and Gnome.. Thus, segregating developers into two projects..
I guess you know this already and so therefore, there's no need for me to tell the rest of the story..
I started learning linux since the manhattan.. and by that time i'm using a notebook running at 400Mhz at 64MB..
Now for your problem, The linux installer in general configures your monitor during installation and so therefore, sa tingin ko ndi dapat problem ito not unless your video card is not recognized..
Linux provides atleast 3 different configuration tools to update or to create as well your systems graphical environment.. ( I forget the other one.. ) but..
In red-hat, you can type at terminal console "redhat-config-xfree86" (..not with the hyper-terminal) it's just like a "windows type" of graphical configuration..
but since you can't launch the graphical environment i would rather recommend the "xfree86" command which is a text-based config.
be sure to it that you have administrator privileges to launch those commands, or you have to work as a "root"
in configuring the video card, be sure to it that you must double check the specs connected to the hardware like the chip set vendor and the amount of memory. The Linux OS will 'probe' this but to make sure you have also to double check against Linux auto-probing if it is correct or not..
Now for the monitor probing, you should check your monitor's manual for horizontal and vertical frequency range, this influences the resolution display on screen.. DO NOT specify beyond the 'capabilities' of your
monitor or beyond 'clock constraints' I'm speaking about 'modes' like 24 or 32 bits, this will cause a problem for sure..
the config file is stored in the system under the location of /etc/x11, /usr/etc/x11r6/lib/x11, /root,
if you're running a text-based console log in, you can start the graphical session from the command line by launching the "startx" command.
I suggest to work with the solutions you had in your mind.. Make sure you have back-up your important data's and documents..