I would be mostly using the monitor for gaming, but also for casual internet browsing, listening to music, and school work. I hear that using 1920x1080 can really strain your eyes reading text, but is good for gaming, whereas 1600x900 won't strain your eyes and still looks good for gaming?
Is it worth the extra 19 dollars to get and 1.5" bigger screen and 1920x1080 resolution? I wouldn't think so, since I don't aim to be playing games on ultra settings, medium is fine, with an Intel Core i3 2100 processor and a Sapphire Radeon HD 5770 graphics card.
brands i would stay away from are and chingchong, hannspree, or any of that other generic crapola, and acer, acer are not good quality. if you want it to last go for one of the more well known brands, LG, Samsung, Asus, viewsonic etc.
Eye strain really shouldn't be an issue but if you like to play on high settings and have an HD5770 then 1600x900 would be more appropriate for that card.
If you are looking for a good deal on a monitor this is a good page to keep an eye on; http://www.logicbuy.com/categorydeals/computers/lcd-mon...
That's a bunch of nonsense. Text will appear larger on the screen with the lower resolution (1600 x 900), but text will appear sharper (less pixelated) with higher resolutions (1920 x 1080).
If you really must read on your lcd monitor, get one with a very high resolution, and adjust the font size to a larger size (modern web browsers can do this). You'll lose some of the page formatting, but gain great looking text.
If you have the budget, don't even bother with a TN panel (most cheaper monitors use this technology), get an IPS lcd monitor. Warning: they cost twice as much and fast moving games might be bury (they refresh about half as fast), but damn they look good.