Input needed for new college gaming/work laptop

I have been browsing around some of the more popular sites for customizing laptops alienware, dell, gateway and have been trying to find a good gaming/work laptop for college this fall. I have a budget of around $ 2000 (give or take a few hundred.) I do have to keep the brand fairly mainstream for parent’s financial backing. I am still relatively new to the browsing laptops but do have lots of experience with desktops. Two laptops that really caught my eye sorta were the dv9500t customized (with the Intel Core 2 Duo T75002.2GHz/4MB L2Cache) with the 511MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GS. (Link: http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/cto/computer_customize_components.do ) I was wonder about the video card, how it would perform in some of the new and up coming games (I play all sorts of games, mainly fps and company of heroes.) The other laptop I was looking at was the Gateway® NX860XL (with the NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS Graphics w/ 256MB DDR Video Memory.) (Link: http://www.gateway.com/systems/product/529664469.php ) Now I know it might be a bit hard to directly compare computers (both will pretty much have vista and 1 gb or more of ram,vista ) but I was wondering whether the 7900 would truly outperform the 8600 and was worth considering. I really don’t care too much about dx10 but rather more which one will last longer and be able to play current games longer and how long it will take before it becomes outdated and useless. If anyone has any other suggestions for possible buys I am truly open and would greatly appreciate it!
Thank you for valued help and suggestions!
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  1. If you look at this chart: Notebookcheck.com, it looks like the 7900GS outperforms even the 8600GTm. Now keep in mind that these are only 3dmark scores. I'm not sure how worth it it would be to buy an 8600 only because there is no telling how good it will do in DX10 anyway. Other suggestions would include the Dell E1705/9400 which is the same thing as the gateway you saw. Also look at Sager notebooks, especially the 5760, just be aware that Sager's support is not known to be the best (kinda like Dell). Gateway on the other hand has been getting better and better reviews as of late. The only thing that would make the Dell more appealing is that you can find coupons online to save yourself even more money.
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