They're right, $500 won't bag you a decent gaming laptop....not one that will play GTA4. You'd be able to play World of Warcraft on medium on that laptop you linked, you could probably get away with Starcraft 2 on low. Perhaps you could play Diablo 3 when it comes out but only on low. GTA4 requires dedicated texture RAM which that laptop does not have.
However, if you look around there are games that are fun and will play well. Examples to try (you might want to print this off)
- Angry Birds (buy the standalone versions of "Angry Birds" and "Angry Birds Space")
Steam games that might work:
- Deus Ex #1
- Monkey Island series
- Sam & Max
- Star Wars Jedi Outcast
- Left 4 Dead 2 (maybe. it's well coded)
- Command & Conquer 3 (maybe)
- Serious Sam HD
Ok, obviously none of these people have an A8-based laptop because they're feeding you a bunch of conjecture. Jawny said his cousin has a hard time playing minecraft on his $900 laptop? Probably because it has Intel graphics. I personally have (and am typing on at the moment) an Acer Aspire 5560-Sb401: http://shop.amd.com/ca/home/Detail/Notebook/ecx-Mem-ca-...
This is as good a gaming machine as you can get for under $500. In fact, it beats several Intel offerings up to $1000 in gaming. I play Skyrim on medium setting with literally no choppiness or artifacts. The ATi Radeon HD 6620G on-die graphics processor has about the same power as a Radeon HD 6500M. If you want to see how well the A8 APU plays games, here's tomshardware's own review of the mobile A8: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/a8-3500m-llano-apu,...
You'll see that regardless of what all these "experts" are saying, the Llano mobile (Sabine) platform is designed specifically for budget gaming laptops and delivers incredible battery life (over 2 hours gaming). Intel's offerings at that price point all have the absurdly crappy Intel HD 3000 which literally gets its arse whipped by the Radeon HD 6620G in every situation. Read the review, it will make you conifdent you made the right choice. As for CPU power, the Llano cannot match Intel's offerings but let's face it, hardware is so far ahead of software these days. My Quad-Core Llano A8 feels very fast in every application I've ever used on my laptop and I'm sure that won't change because most people (like you and I) never do anything that requires the higher-level CPU power. We do however, often do things that take full advantage of the GPU (like HD movies, games, etc.) and this is where Llano really shines. Seriously, I've been using MS-Office and web browsers since the days of Win95 and the Pentium-1, do you really think that surfing the web and typical programs used by 99% of people have increased greatly in their hardware requirements since then? To be perfectly frank, AMD has changed the game with Llano making "budget" and "gaming laptop" no longer mutually exclusive. Trust me, you cannot go wrong with the laptop you listed.
Thanks for the best reply. It's not really me though. I read tomshardware's review of the A8-3500M so I got one myself on sale for $499CAD and they were right. I've never been so pleasantly surprised. I installed Skyrim to test it out and although Skyrim defaulted to high settings based on the hardware, I found it to be choppy in some places at high settings. Once I went to medium, all was well. Hell, even if you go to low settings, you're still playing at the graphics level of the Xbox 360 and PS3. I NEVER expected Skyrim to be playable on a $500 laptop but I was pleasantly proven wrong.