Looking for help finding a good laptop

Hello! I'm looking to buy my first laptop, and I'm a bit out of my league. I'm fairly knowledgeable about desktops, but I know very little about laptops. I've filled out the survey questions below. My primary concern is the graphics card - I'd like to be able to run modern games (low settings are fine) and the integrated video cards I'm seeing on laptops in my price range worry me. I'd really prefer a dedicated card, if there's something good and affordable.

My budget is $800 tops. I'd prefer closer to 500-600, but after looking at my options I may spring for the $800. If people could be so kind as to recommend laptops in both the 500-600 and 700-800 range, I'd really appreciate it.

Screen size should be 15" or more. I don't know a lot about screen resolution though.

The reason I need a laptop is that I will be doing a lot of traveling over the next year or two. I generally prefer desktops but I need something that I can easily bring on a plane. Still, it doesn't need to be too small, it will spend most of the time sitting in my apartment.

I'd say 2 1/2 hours minimum battery life? But obviously more is better.

I would like to play games, though I don't have many specifics in mind. Arkham Asylum looks good but beyond that I haven't really thought it out. I play TF2 and L4D sometimes but I don't think those are too graphics-heavy. The lowest settings are fine, I don't care about how it looks as long as the FPS is good enough that I can play the game without trouble.

Beyond gaming, I just need something for web surfing, basic office-type work, watching DVDs, and so on. Pretty simple stuff.

I'd like a 320 gig Hard drive, but 250 could work if necessary.

I'd like the laptop to be good for at least 2 years, after which time I'll probably be stationary and using a desktop most of the time.

For optical drive, I just need a CD/DVD burner.

I have no brand preferences. I've had great luyck with Athlon processors and, all else being equal, would take them over Intel, but I'm good either way.

I live in the United States.

Lastly, I'd like Windows 7 on the laptop. Thanks again for any help you can provide.
6 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about looking finding good laptop
  1. Well like I said, I'd really prefer a dedicated video card, I'm just not sure if there are good options in my price range.
  2. Best answer
    This guy will do:

    I can't find much else on newegg for that price range.

    You can get a 14z from Dell, but the 9400 will struggle gaming:
  3. Hmm, that HP looks pretty good! I might go with that one if I don't see anything better.
  4. One thing I do notice, looking over that HP again, is that it doesn't have Wireless-N. Is Wireless-G going to restrict my speeds, and how easily can I upgrade that on a laptop?
  5. Unless you're streaming HD video from another local computer, or sharing files with another local computer wirelessly, you won't notice a difference between it and G.

    Edit: You can easily upgrade the card - you'll just have to install the 3rd antenna yourself. (G cards generally only use 2 antennas)
  6. Ok, I think that'll be the one then, probably. Thanks for the help!
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