If you're looking for a gaming machine you should buy a proper computer. Laptops can be okay for gaming but are normally painfully expensive to have the same performance as a mediocre desktop. Either way, i5s will work perfectly fine for games as long as, as Maziar said, they're paired with a good GPU.
On the road constantly and my ASUS N80Vb (T6400) Core 2 Duo 2.0Ghz/Ram 4Gb/HDD 250Gb/VGA GeForce 9300GSs 512mb is not even close to cutting it with the a fore mentioned game. So a desktop is out of the ?. Looking for:
Size of the notebook: 15-17"
Screen resolution: 1080
Battery life: N/A
Games to play: Scourge of War Gettysburg (ultra settings), GTA4 and like games
Life of laptop: At least 2 years
Optical Drive: DVDRW
Other: Looking for bang for the buck without overkill. Heard most games I play do not use 4 cores and will not for some time so hence the question about the i5 driving future 3d games. What are your thoughts on reconditioned laptops.
ok i have a toshiba satellite with an i7 and a nvidia 330m gpu. it will play gta4 at medium settings at about 26 fps and will utilize six cores so an i5 will hurt it a tad. i did a test and the difference is about 2fps. also my other laptop will play crysis on high settings at about 30 fps and lags moderately at ultra settings. it has a radeon 5730 though which is a better gpu by a little. i would recommend a 5870 and an i7 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or an geforce gtx and an i7 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
both should be adequate and are in your price range.