In another pleasant surprise Mrs mbp, suggested that she might get me a wide screen monitor for Christmas. Such generosity will accrue her many brownie points I can assure you.
Of course the choice of such an important item in a gamer's life cannot be left to chance so I have been perusing websites for recommendations. It seems that the sweet spot in terms of value is presently at 22". This screen size has the added bonus that the natural resolution is around 1600 x 1000. I won't need to upgrade to quad 9900GTX graphics to drive this plus the desktop should be easily readable.
Three models suggest themselves: Samsung SM226BW (2ms), the LG L226WTQ (2ms) or the ACER AL2216WSD (5ms). Each of these models is targeted at the value conscious gamer and each gets very good reviews.
My initial leaning was towards the LG as I am very happy with an LG Flatron screen I have been using for the last three years. Unfortunately a bit of googling revealed that a certain percentage of customers have experienced severe ghosting when playing games on the LG monitor. The problem may or may not be solvable by adjusting the monitor settings but the whole business makes me reluctant to take a gamble on this LG screen.
The Samsung screen has similar specification to the LG and was my natural next choice but again Google threw a spanner in the works. Apparently this Samsung display uses panels from multiple manufacturers and while the original Samsung version is superb the substitute panels may not be as good. Curiously all reviewers seem to have got the original Samsung panel.
That leaves the Acer. The Acer is a bit cheaper than the other two panels but also a bit lower in specification. I doubt my 43 year old eyes could distinguish the difference between 2ms and 5ms but the image is not supposed to be as good and the mounting is somewhat flimsy. The good news is that Google did not reveal any skeletons in Acer's cupboard.
So here is my dilemma: Do I go for the lower spec but safer Acer panel or take a gamble on the Panasonic or LG models?
Edit: According to X-bit labs analysis the alternative panel for the Samsung display is still pretty good. So I think I will plump for the Samsung!
Oh and PS Santa - Can I have a copy of Call of Duty 4 too please? (Aside: Whatever happened to COD3? I don't recall that ever being released for the PC).