Recommend me 11.6-13.3" Notebook?

Hey all, first a background, I've always thought that, for various reasons, owning both a light, mobile notebook and a desktop is the best approach for my computing needs (these days, a 3G smartphone is invaluable as well, but that's off topic).

I've owned, for 4 years now (wow) a Dell E1505 with a T2400, and a (I think) Radeon X1400, which has been good for basic gaming and everyday computing in general, but it's definitely showing its age (The HDD makes a funny whirring sound, no doubt caused by the innumerable times I've dropped it).

So I'm looking for a new notebook, but as I game less and less now, and value mobility, and more than anything else, battery life, as well as plans to buy a desk top again, I humbly ask for the expertise of the people in this forum for some advice.

1_What is your budget?
<$500, not set in stone, can go maybe $100 higher.

2_What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
11-13 in.

3_What screen resolution do you want?
No preference, most screens are 1366x768 anyway. FYI my laptop is capable of 1680x1050, but I'm just using 1280x800.

4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

5_How much battery life do you need?
at least 3.5+ real world, prefer 6+

6_Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
Yes. Well something like SimCity 4 at 1024x768 at low-medium settings? Is that too much to ask?
Otherwise, maybe just some flash games.

7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
Prefer HD video capable (mkv files, 720p), Basic photo editing (ie, contrast, resize, etc), Basic multitasking (ie AIM, video, browsing at the same time)

8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?
Doesn't really matter, I'm fine with 80GB right now, as I have a bunch of externals.

9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
None, just no obscure sites. Prefer B&M if possible, though.

10_How long do you want to keep your laptop?
3+ years

11_What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
Just DVD DL RW is fine, internal preferred, but I know a lot of computers this size dont come with one.

12_Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
None, I have a dell, and despite what most people think, I really like it, CS has been decent, and it's lasted longer than I expected. The screen is a bit dim, esp compared to notebooks nowadays.

Other than that, any major brand is good.

13_What country do you live in?

14_Please tell us any additional information if needed.
To satisfy the battery life, I'm looking at the Core 2 SU processors, and the Athlon II Neo's, I really don't mind taking a hit in processing power if the power saved is significant, especially if it keeps the computer cool. Not quite sure now the new i3 does in terms of throttling down, if it does well, wouldn't mind a normal processor either.

I would like a comparison of how the Atom, Core 2 SU, and Core i3/5 processors (and their AMD equivalents) fare in terms of outright performance, efficiency, and battery life.

Sorry if it's a bit long to read, I hope I can get some good feedback!
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  1. This is a bit over your budget, but I think that you'd be quite satisfied with it, just as long as you do not expect much in regard to gaming:
  2. The i3s win in performance and battery life, usually cost more though. AMD and Core2 are the middle of the road options, but Core2 usually comes with weak Intel 4500 graphics, Atoms are the bottom feeders in performance but have great battery life.

    If you have the extra money get an i3 system, or for your current price range something like this, the customer reviews like it.

    Another option would be to wait a few monts for Bobcat and Sandy Bridge systems.
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