After 8 hours of research, I finally have a good idea of what I want, now the trouble is finding it So far I've been really impressed with IBuyPower.com and KillerNotebooks.com, so I thought I'd post here for some more input.
Here's what I want:
Intel Core-Duo - 1.83 - 2.0 (Upgradeable to Core 2 Duo)
Graphics - x1600 or better
Memory - 1GB Single Slot (Upgradeable to 2GB in the future or if price permits)
Screen - 17" preferred, but can deal just fine with 15.4"
DVD Burner - Any
Wireless - Good internal or external with MIMO/Super G or some other optimized connection.
HDD - SATA 5400 or 7200 in the 80 - 100GB range
Everything else is just icing on the cake (internal camera, MMC reader, bluetooth, etc.)
Now, I'd like to keep my price point below $2000 if possible, but I'm having a hard time finding this configuration outside of places like Alienware (yeah right, like I'm going to pay that).
im in the same boat as you, except my price range is 1200-1300. I planning on getting the Asus s96j wich has pretty much all of that. its about 1300 without software on www.1toppc.com just configure it to those specs. Also from what ive been hearing in other forums its a great comp.
Im not sure about ibuypower, on resellerratings.com they have a pretty low score. The company i guess is just not that great.
Killernotebooks looks good, they are a little pricey for me, but the laptop you're lookin at has gotten a lot of good comments. Also there's a killernotebooks guy on this forums you can pm to ask better questions.
i suggest Killernotebooks or the Asus, i dont own one, but im not sure if im willing to spend a lot of money on ibuypower
RE: 1. I have the latest version of the wakazaichi and play WoW and BF 2 on it. So far everything has been crisp and smooth, and I currently am the Alpha of the WoW pack with it. Heck I even let one of the teenage FPS players go nuts with it at work and he loved it. And this boy is SERIOUS about FPS.
Both cards will work well for you though. I love Nvidia, but you work with what you can get.
RE:2. Probably not without sacrificing quality elsewhere.
If you really want that 17" and have the bucks go for it. I know I did originally but realized that the 15.4 suited me better in terms of mobility. And I didn't lose any quality.
Talk with K.N. he may be able to work with you a bit.