NOTE: This rig isn't going to be used purely for gaming, although I will be gaming with it rather frequently.
Okay, so I'm majoring in Computer Science in university right now. I'm also badly in need of a new computer to use because the school-issued ultrabooks are a bit of a handicap. Seeing as I plan on working with Unity, XNA, as well as some other GFX/design oriented programs, the low-end graphics card and small screen can be, well, annoying.
My budget - around $1,600.
The only reason I considered going with a laptop is that it would allow me to work on personal and class projects between classes or wherever else I'm at. With my budget, I'm sure I can afford something that can run games at medium if not high graphics settings at around 40-60FPS.
I've set on a Sager NP8278-S with 16GB DDR3 RAM, Intel i7-4810MQ, Nvidia 870m 6GB GDDR5, a 128GB SSD for my OS and IDEs, and a 7200RPM 750GB HDD for whatever else. I know that laptops have heating issues, and already plan to buy a cooling pad and have extra copper heatsinks installed in my the laptop if I happen to buy it to remedy the problem.
So, here's everything summed up - Should I build a (far superior) desktop and deal with the inconvenience of being confined to working on projects in my dorm room, or buy a gaming laptop and deal with diminished game performance (although the 870m should do everything I want and more) so that I can make my projects far easier to work on?
It seems that your are really into gaming, but if you need a laptop for school work, just get a laptop. On the other hand if you get a desktop you can build a high end desktop for almost the same price as a gaming laptop. One more thing Laptops are not good for gaming they are marketed as that, but they run hot most of the time and their lifespan is lower. Good luck!
Since you heavily use a PC more for school, then I recommend a laptop. You still can play minecraft and TF2
The laptop I'll be buying should be able to handle most games on high/ultra settings. I've looked up benchmarks for the 870m and it seems to be able to handle whatever is thrown at it, with a few exceptions like Metro: Last Light (medium for smooth gameplay).