I've encountered this problem on several different systems with several different monitors: a monitor functions perfectly under Windows. I install a Linux and the max resolution is at some impossibly low value, mostly 640x480, changing it in Xorg.conf doesn't work. The X.org log file then shows that the driver cannot determine the correct refresh rate for the monitor, so it ignores everything in Xorg.conf and just loads in some default minimalistic mode. Googling the problem leads to an easy solution: set the HorizSync and VertRefresh in Xorg.conf, and everything works.
The problem seems to be a common one, and I've seen dozens of results recommending the solution. Each of them contains the warning that you should use the value ranges provided with the monitor. Because if you don't, and your video card sends a signal with the wrong refresh rate, this can damage your monitor.
Of course, you don't have a user manual for your monitor any more. If you are lucky to find one on the attic or on the net, it doesn't contain any information about the supported refresh rate. So you just type in the value suggested in the solution description, which varies wildly depending on your source, and cross your fingers. You restart, and...
... you've set the wrong values. So the monitor shows a short message like "input signal out of range", and you do a hard restart, repair your Xorg.conf in recovery mode, and everything is fine, including your monitor.
So does this warning reflect a real possibility, or is it just a geeky urban legend? Or is it something which used to happen in the past, before manufacturers started protecting the monitors against it? Is it technically possible with every monitor technology, or is it maybe something which can only happen to a CRT? If you think that it's true, why? Have you ever witnessed a monitor die from the wrong refresh config, or have you read of it in a reputable source?