I believe you.
Have a HD 5750 and play BF3 all at high settings fine sense the game came out. (also have a Intel Quad Core 3.6 Ghz and 8 GB of ram)
Yeah its true, with today's games, it's not the GPU that counts, and it's not the CPU that counts, its the combination of the two. I have a hardware monitoring app (open-hardware-monitor) that graphs, among other things, CPU usage over time, AND GPU usage over time. When I play older DX9 games, like Hitman: Silent Assassin, most of the work is being done by the GPU, and the CPU only occasionally chimes in with some processing. But if I play Splinter Cell: Blacklist (with the settings turned down far enough that I can get 30fps out of it), my GPU only hovers around 80-90% usage, but each one of my four CPU cores are pretty much locked at 99% usage.
You really have to have both, nowadays. So just skimp on the RAM and the HD. I've had 4GB DDR3 for several years now, and I've never needed more. The only situations where more would have helped, was when I'm doing video studio editing. It makes other programs slightly slower, because they don't have as much memory to work with. But games? Even if your video game of choice needed more than 4GB of RAM, it wouldn't affect the average framerate latency, it would just add the occasional spike in latency when the game is forced to use the HD instead of the RAM.
An SSD won't help you much in gaming performance, either. It'll blow your mind at how fast everything else loads, including the game's loading time, but it won't do a damn thing for the game's framerate.
As for your monitor, well I've been using a BenQ v2200 22" 1080p monitor, and while its an EXCELLENT monitor for the price ($180, 5 years ago), it's just too damn small. The monitor is only 4 feet away from me, and I wish it was closer. Maybe it would be fine if you're an office-chair-and-desk kind of gamer, but I have a loveseat and an ottoman, with the monitor on a little (but sturdy) end-table. So I can't really get much closer than 4 feet away unless I get rid of the ottoman. And that's just not gonna happen
I'd say, if you can, go for the 23" or 24". Fark resolution, you don't need any more than 1080. Hell, even the Xbox 360 only plays games at 720, and most people aren't complaining about that. Unless you're using it for office work and you need the extra desktop space. But for gaming? I'll tell you this, I've played computer games on my 22 inch monitor at 1080, I've played them on a big screen 2560x1440 40inch TV, and I've played them on a big screen 1080p 48 inch TV. All using my computer, so there was no difference in the source video. And going back to my 22 inch, I miss the extra screen size a hell of a lot, but I don't miss the extra resolution at all.