Probably a bit of an odd title, but I think simply what I'm looking for is a laptop that can do everything, and not look terrible while doing it. I don't think I want a 9lb 17" monster gaming rig. I want something that looks decent and functions well as a daily computer, and isn't terrible to transport (figure 16.x" max).
I currently have an ancient 13.3" C2D White MacBook (4+ years old) and I've been missing out on a few games due to my horrendous graphics.
I'm in a dilemma where the only Mac option for me seems to be the $1,999 15" 2.2 GHz i7 Quad-Core with the AMD 6750 OR a gaming rig like an Alienware M14x that might be acceptable enough (cosmetically/portability speaking) for me to get OR something like a new Dell XP 15z (or whatever) that has middling graphics.
The issue is the Mac has one of the best graphics cards in a not-hulking gaming monster laptop, but of course has a $500+ cosmetic/OS premium. I'd really like something that would be able to run current and future games in Medium+ graphics. I've never had a great gaming rig, so 16x AA and all that isn't a big concern for me. I just want it to look pretty good, be a fair price, reliable, and run well.
In regards to the FAQs:
1. What is your budget? While I would be willing to pay $2k (figuring I sell my old MacBook for $250-500), I'd like to keep it around $1,000-$1,500.
2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? No larger than 16.x" Perhaps the popular 15.4"
3. What screen resolution do you want? Not highly picky about this really. I've been using 1280x800 and it's been fine for me, but I also use a 25" iMac at work and appreciate the extra real estate
4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? My laptop is my sole computer and I treat it as a desktop with the ability to occasionally take it somewhere. I don't tote it around even once a week on average.
5. How much battery life do you need? Irrelevant, my laptop is almost always plugged in.
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. No real titles in particular, but a mix of everything that can be run ideally at Medium+ now and hopefully in the future.
7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.) Just nonsense
8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? Not much. Only have my 500 GB 7200rpm HD about half full, + 80 GB music external
9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links. Just done some browsing around at HP/Dell/Newegg
10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? My past two laptops have lasted 4+ years. Ideally, something that would be capable of 3-5 years.
11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ? Anything. Have no Blu-rays, who burns CDs, think I've burned a DVD once.
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. My pre-Mac laptop was an HP, which was great, so perhaps them. Their Pavilion dv6ste or whatever looks decent. Really open.
A couple good options in your budget target range that should do pretty much everything you want. ASUS G53SX-A1 @ ~$1400 due out in July. Customize as you prefer.
Core i7 2630QM quad core Sandy Bridge CPU, 8GB RAM, 750GB 7200rpm HDD, 15.6" 1920x1080 LCD w/ GTX 560M graphics.
If not for an extremely short supply of the AMD Radeon HD 6970M graphics card I would be suggesting a few options with that card. It would be toward the top of your $1500 range. This same website XoticPC.com has been offering it but has recently de-listed the option due to short supply at the moment.