You're really talking about gaming. 'Cause everything else you do - you can do very well on a 14" $800 laptop.
You can actually get better deals ATM - both of those under $1000Dell XPS 17 @ $950
Core i7-2630QM CPU, 6GB RAM, 500GB 7200rpm HDD, 17.3" 1920x1080 LCD w/ GT 555M graphicsHP Pavilion dv7t Quad Edition $999
Core i7-2630QM CPU, 8GB RAM, 700GB 5400rpm HDD, 17.3" 1920x1080 LCD w/ Radeon HD 6770M graphics. (included 2yr warranty)
Are you sure you want to travel a lot with a 17" laptop?
You can configure the 15" XPS 15" and dv6 to identical performance configurations.