I'm planning on doing a GPU upgrade to an ATI 6950 or 6850 soon and wanted to get a new monitor to go with it.
Currently I'm running two 1680x1050 22" monitors that are alright. I want to try out the IPS realm and am looking to do the following in order of frequency:
Web Browsing/Video Watching
Gaming (WoW, Black Ops, Civilizaiton)
Working from Home (4-8 applications up at once)
I considered the 30", but it just seems a bit overkill. 22" is a good size right now since I have two, but if I step up I'd like to go to either a 24 or 27.
1.) Apple 27" Cinema Display - I LOVE the craftsmanship of Apple, though I don't know if I'll like the glossy screen. I also question it for gaming.
2.) HP ZR24w - I've heard good things and I can get a good deal on one.
3.) Skip IPS and just go with a typical 24" monitor, maybe even do 3 for Eyefinity.
** I really want to avoid using Dell. I hate the company and unless there is a no-brainer reason to use one, I'd rather support another company.
I really like the Apple but I'm not sure how I'll like the glossy. I don't have to deal with a LOT of light so it might be a non-issue.
Dell actually have pretty good monitors that actually seems to fit your general criteria; U2311h, U2410, and the U2711. All three are good general purpose IPS monitors. But since you want to avoid Dell...
The Apple 27" shares the same H-IPS panel as the U2711, but the Dell has a matte finish instead of glossy. I hate glossy so Apple is out of the question for me.
Not really interested in Eyefinity myself. I have two 25.5" H-IPS monitors and only use the 2nd monitor when I'm watching a movie and surfing at the same time or if I am doing stock research. I suppose three monitors will be great for day trading, but my desk is too small for another high end 25.5" monitor.
If you do go w/ Eyefinity, then the HD 6950 is the way to go. But I'm sure you already figured that out yourself...
Here are reviews for the Dell's in case you are interested:
Unfortunately, I have not read a good in-depth review of the HP ZR30w. Based on a few somewhat shallow reviews it does seem to be a good monitor. When properly calibrated it does have good accurate colors and the backlight is pretty uniform. I believe that the input lag is also pretty good at less than 16ms or less than 0.5 frame vs. a CRT monitor for gaming purposes.
Between the Dell and the HP, I would go for the HP especially since it is 2560 x 1600 instead of 2560 x 1440. I don't know how the anti-glare compares to the Dell. The Dell is suppose to have a pretty think AG coating making gray colors have that dirty or "sparkly" look to it. NEC monitors have a lighter AG coating treatment than Dells so the effect is not as noticeable.