When purchasing a laptop and going to college, one thing to consider is support for the system when bad things happen. Unlike a PC, repairs can be must less user accessible.
My daughter (will be a junior this Fall) had a rough time getting her notebook repaired earlier this year. Her MacBook Pro died and the local Apple knuckleheads couldn't fix the problem and it was no longer under warranty. We ended up buying a new notebook (with longer warranty) and I got the old one fixed (the knuckleheads actually broke it more....) as a backup.
When I attended a school for the military a couple of years ago, I purchased a Dell with a 3 year "full coverage" warranty. When the GPU died last year, it took but a phone call for a Dell tech to show up at my house to replace the mobo.
Dell and HP (and Apple if you are so inclined) offer good support (if you pay for it) and STUDENT discounts. While Maziar's recommendation is a good one, you will be your tech support. Just something to consider.
This looks pretty cool but like COLGeek pointed out I'm probably going to need this fixed at one point or another so a few suggestions from HP/Dell would be nice. (if all else fails though this one does look really cool)
I couldn't find any 15" laptop with a 5850 with 3-4hrs of battery life(AW M15x and Sager NP8690 have the same/better specs but with lower battery life)
Also when you customize the GX640 you can choose 2 kinds of warranties
1_3 Year MSI US Parts & Labor 1 Year Global Warranty w/ Lifetime Tech Support + 1 Year Accidental Damage Warranty (Accidental requires registration)
2_3 Year Parts/Labor Warranty 24/7 Tech Support w/ LCD Accidental Damage Protection ( + 349 )
Which is good IMO
If your budget is 2000, I personally would go for two computers. Get something like this http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/computer_can... which will give you good battery life and be able to do word, excel, all that school stuff pretty easily (not necessarily that one, snoop around HP's website and find one you like more). That one specifically is 500 dollars. Now the rest of your budget can go towards a powerful one that will be able to play any game you want at high settings. Personal recommendation is the Asus G73, but MSI and Sager both make very good gaming laptops as well. This way, you get:
1 on the go, note taking, powerpoint creating, internet browsing laptop that should have the power to do whatever you need in class.
1 powerhouse computer to play games and whatnot. Plus, if the first one breaks, you can use the powerhouse as a backup for a few days.
The Alienware M15x is a great gaming laptop. It has a super fast and powerful 2.8 GHz Intel® Core™ i7-720QM processor and NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 240M graphics. It is a bit heavier at 9 lbs, but the specs are great (and many gaming laptops are even heavier than this one). It is also within your budget at $1499.
so from looking at this (and some other forums here) I'm thinking of going with the MSI GX640 as my gaming laptop/backup and get a cheaper one (like $amurai suggested) for school stuff. I think that'll cover all my needs just wanted to check one more time to make sure I'm not over looking something glaringly obvious/important (it would not be the first time)