Like many others in this post, I use a Dell monitor, the U2211H.
As far as calibration is concerned, I would definitely recommend it. One important thing to remember is that calibration is not a one-time thing. I have my software remind me every 2 or 3 months to recalibrate. Right now, I use the X-rite i1 Display 2 unit. It looks like it's about 160 bucks on Amazon, and it has done a good job of keeping my monitor's colors consistent.
Also, I print my photographs at a local Costco. Since the Costco printer profiles are available online at Dry Creek Photo, I am better able to predict what final prints will look like. Holding a finished print next to the proof on the monitor, and having the colors and tones match is awesome!
Best of luck!