1024x768@85 please

This is the first time I have used a Linux system with a display manager -- that is, a program whose job it is to run X and log me in. I have run the xserver-xfree86 configuration many times in an attempt to persuade it that my monitor can handle a refresh rate over 70 Hz. At 70 Hz I find the shimmering of the display uncomfortable. Checking the file /etc/X11/XFree86-4 it definitely appears to have changed. But how do I restart X so that it takes notice of the new configuration file?

There is no option in GDM to restart X. There is an option to reboot the computer, but that is not what I want. In the end it seems that 'logging out' of X and back in again resets the server. I know this, because it has regressed from allowing 1024x768 at 70 Hz to only allowing 640x480 at 60 Hz. At this resolution, many KDE configuration panels are larger than the screen itself, which is a bit silly.