I am also having the same problem but with a Geforce4 440 Go in a Dell Inspiron 8200. I'm not quite sure how or where I can get the EDID information from nvidia-settings since it won't run without the display working. Any help would be appreciated.
It seems adding the line: Option "UseDisplayDevice" "DFP"
has fixed the problem.
Found the answer here: http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=77433