After seven solid years of service my first LCD monitor, the groundbreaking SGI 1600SW, a stylish, super bright and clear 17" 1600x1024 widescreen display from before widescreen was in, finally got too unreliable to use. I use a two-monitor setup - I draw on an 18" Cintiq 18sx (which I'll upgrade to a 21ux when funds permit) - and do most everything else on my other screen. This allows me to have mail, videos, websites, etc. availble while I'm drawing.I looked around at the state of the art of widescreen LCDs for a while, and determined that this was the lay of the land:
Long story short I decided the 24" monitor was the sweet spot in terms of value for money. The killer for me is that this is the minimum size screen necessary to show 1080p HD movies (1920x1080). Despite that, if my graphics card had three video-outs I probably would have gotten two 20" or 22" screens for roughly the same money. I got this Acer AL2423Wdr which NewEgg was selling for under $700 including shipping. I set it up this morning, ran some 1080p trailers and several side-by-side browser sessions and already I love it a lot. The main downside is that my Cintiq looks extremely dim - and small - by comparison. Which makes its eventual upgrade all the more certain.
Caveats: I am not a gamer. Is this a good gaming monitor? I will probably never know. But the clarity and brightness is excellent and I am looking forward to using it to lay out our next book.