I have a budget of £1000-£1400, I'd much rather spend less but want to best bang for my buck - primarily gaming machine with some programming and movie watching on the side
Just found an asus g73 for £1145 (specs below).
ASUS G73SW Republic of Gamers 17.3-Inch Gaming Laptop, Full HD (1920x1080) LED Backlit Display, Intel Core i7-2630QM (Quad-Core with Turbo Boost up to 2.9GHz), 8GB DDR3 Memory, 500GB 7200RPM HDD, DVD Combo, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M (1.5GB 192-Bit GDDR5), 802.11n, Bluetooth, USB 3.0, HDMI, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
Should I get that or the below machine from pc specialist
vortex II 17.3 with i7-2630qm, 4gb ddr3 ram, amd 6970 2gb graphics card, Gigabyte LAN & killer wifi, and 2 year warranty for £1212 (heard I should get an ssd drive, so with a 120gb ssd and 240 gb Hd comes to £1316)
Thanks hpfreak I'll go with the vortex, I can only choose 4,8,16 1333mhz samsung, or 4gb (2x2gb) or 8 (2x4gb) 1600MHz Kingston. Should I get the faster Kingston or will the samsung suffice (I'll email to ask if they can do one 4gb and one 2gb).
Also, thoughts on upgrading to an ssd hd - is it worth the big cost difference or would I be better to get a faster CPU?
Don't worry about the hard drive. It is somewhat worth it, but I don't use one, and I have no need for one either (I have a g73.) It will make Windows boot faster, and it will improve games a tad. But like I said before, I don't use or need one, and I play games on max with no problem.
You'll benifit from getting the extra gigs, but 4 will suffice, besides, if you were to upgrade, you'd be paying a lot of extra money for those 4 GB of RAM, You can just stick to the 4 GB.
For gaming, that Vortex laptop is your best bet, if you want to also do programming, video editing... business related stuff, the Asus would give you a few nice features.
Stick with the Samsung 4 GB 1333 Mhz,
Your CPU is fine, upgrading will make the price go much higher... And the performance increase wouldn't be worth it.