For your educational and entertainment needs you could get along easily with a decent $500 laptop.
It's wanting to do some gaming that's going to push the price up a bit to the next level.
Here is a great deal at the moment:HP Pavilion dv6 Select Edition Core i5 "Sandy Bridge" Laptop
Configure to just above $1000 so you can use the 30% coupon code.
For example, add: Radeon HD 6770M graphics card, 7200rpm HDD, Bluetooth, Hicapacity Li-Ion battery. Roughly $758.