I'm heading off to college in September and I'm looking for a laptop with a mix of power and battery. I don't need an 8 lb behemoth with 3gb of VRAM, nor a 2 lb notebook with 12 hrs of battery. I'll list some things below I'd like it to contain, but of course I'm willing to make some sacrifices.
A decent 5+ hours with average usage (web, MS Office)
Less than 7 lb preferably. I would really like to be able to take it places, the library, class, train/plane trips without breaking my back.
I need to be able to do school work on it without the battery constantly needing recharging, burning my hands/lap, recreating the sound of a 747 taking off. I'd really like to be able to play a few games on it at decent settings with decent FPS, I'm thinking BF3 this fall, and some Source games, but they don't take too much power these days. I've been looking at the Alienware m14x, but it's a bit too flashy for me, and I've heard conflicting things about battery life. I've also been looking at the Dell XPS 15z, and have heard conflicting things as well. I'd probably be willing to buy either, assuming I can get some real answers to their fit to my needs. Anything Sager, Asus, MSI, Lenovo is good, please no HP. Anywhere offering some sort of an educational discount is great too.
Not enough detail here to know what GPU you need. The amount of VRAM means very little in terms of GPU power.
You can have a GPU with 1024MB or VRAM that is a miserable at gaming while a 512MB video card might be a very good gaming option.
What games are you looking at, and what are your expectations on what graphics settings (low, medium, high, ultra) do you want to be able to use?
I'd like to hopefully use it to play Battlefield 3 on medium or higher settings on an external 1920x1080 monitor if possible. I'd also like to play Portal 2 and some of the other Valve games (CS:S, DoD:S, HL). I know BF3 won't be released until the fall, but ball-parking something that could play it would be helpful. Like I said, I'm also willing to make some sacrifices in terms of power, but I'd really like to get ~5+ hours with average usage.
five hours is going to be a stretch for what you are wanting i think. i dont know what a i5 will get but an i7 will not get 5plus hours and still play bf3 on medium or higher settings. look for a nvidia gt 460m laptop that should be in the ballpark.
Drove upto DC (Microcenter, 165 Miles), loved it, but they were much more expensive than Newegg.
Pros: PRICE, Great looking LCD panel. Dual HDD bay (one of my requirements), Blu-ray/DVD writter.
Cons: 17.3 ", 6.39 #s (Slightl under your 7#s)