Need advice about components for a light-gaming oriented, all-around notebook.

Currently own an OLD Acer Aspire 5732ZG, and I'm looking for some replacement in the range of 500~600€ (should be roughly around 680~800$ or 400~480£), mainly used for light videogaming/retrogaming and secondarily for anything else that might come up, although nothing heavy. This could span from light browsing to java development, for example.

I was thinking of something similarly sized (between 15 and 17 inches), sporting a good i5, 4gb in RAM (possibly expandable) and a 500gb HDD. I can't get my head over the gpu however, and if the system itself will meet my requirements.

I'd rather not go for an embedded gpu unless I was getting an i7 and an Intel HD 4000 with it, but I feel it would be overkill for my computational needs and not enough for my graphical needs...and also, wouldn't an A10 Amd APU be better in this case?
I'm also reading wonders about either the Nvidia 740m or the ATI HD 8750m for my price range. However, I've read that the former has 2 different chipsets versions, while the latter has two different vram capacities and technologies (either 1gb ddr3 or 2gb gddr5 from what I've read). Is there a way to tell differences without having to buy it first? I plan on checking local shops before trying online, but I doubt they'll let me run gpu-z from my USB stick on them...

Any particular notebook model to look forward to? Any suggestions for improvements/lower prices?
As a side note, if you got any model to suggest, please keep in mind that:
- I literally HATE the aluminium look-and-feel that Asus seems to be so fond of, so unless it's a good deal I'd rather not get one
- Unless they're good reviewed, I'd rather not get a Toshiba or a Lenovo. I keep hearing they're more prone to malfunction and/or breaking down...

Any opinion/help is more than appreciated.
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  1. Best answer
    Doesn't really fit in with what you've said, but most of my clients end up going Asus or Lenova, for quality and higher end components and performance.
  2. What I said about the Asus is simply a matter of personal taste, and about Lenovos it's just what I hear around the web and from people here, but it might not be so anyway (I'd be surprised if I found more praises than complaints about any kind of product...).

    The only exception maybe comes for Toshiba, and especially their Satellite series; my previous job consisted in repairing electronic appliances. Although I was in charge of TVs and monitors, we weekly had about 25-30 Toshibas to repair (overheating, broken HDD, malfunctioning panels, you name it), while any other brand was under 5 pieces...

    In both.cases, as I said, I can get my head over it if it's a good deal or known good product, so fire away if you know any good model I should look forward to.
  3. ;) I feel for you, I've had the misfortune of having to deal with things like you had w/ the Toshiba's before I hung out my own shingle, I like deciding what I work on or build with ;)
  4. A bit more info to get this bumped up.

    I've searched a bit more in the forums here, but found nothing satisfying me just as it happened before I actually decided to post my thread.

    Also, I recently set my eye on an Acer Aspire e1-572g-54204g1tmnkk from a local shop, although the price seems a bit too high for it IMO (700€). Featured an i5-4200u, 4gb RAM, 1TB HDD and a dedicated HD 8750m. Obviously, there's two models (ddr3 and gddr5) and no info on which model was inside it, so I left it there for the moment.
    Also found an Asus model whose full specs I can't remember right now, which sported an i7 and an Nvidia 820m for 620€. Seems to be nice for the price, but I fear the gpu would be too weak.
    Would they be good deals at those prices?

    To my surprise, I've also found out there are some Asus models not featuring that horrible aluminium look-and-feel. Serves me right not to search thoroughly...
  5. Still nothing, but my quest continues. Found some hp pavilions (15-n24x series) which seem to fit my price range and look like they're of good enough quality, but I'd like to look around some more.

    At least I've managed to learn a bit about laptops myself in the process (mainly about ULV chips and on-the-fly gpu switching technologies like Enduro or Optimus).

    Since it's going to be videogame oriented, I thought this was the right category. I'll try my luck asking into the mobility forums ;)
    Thanks for answering anyway.
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