I've made a couple threads recently but thought I would get a fresh start with the FAQ guide for suggestions.
1. What is your budget?
$2,000 but would like to keep it to $1,500
2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
Prefer 15" but would take 17"
3. What screen resolution do you want?
4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
5. How much battery life do you need?
6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
SWTOR, SC2, WoW. Med-High to High
7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
I want a laptop with 2 hard drive bays. I already have an SSD so a data HDD would be what I want in the laptop.
9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
As long as I can.
11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
None, DvD, or Blue Ray.
12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
Like intel and nvidia. Dislike HP.
13. What country do you live in?
14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
i7 is a must
I would go to one of the building sites like malibal, sager, or xoticpc. Get a 17.3" with a i7 7970m, as bare as possible unless they have deals, upgrading stuff like ram and stuff will be cheaper if you do it. Also since you're installing the ssd pick up an oem windows that you want it should come stock with 500gb. It'll run about 1500$, 100$ windows and say 100$ for ram you want. Probably best cheapest option for what you want.
If not newegg has an ibuypower or cyberpowerpc 17.3" both are marked at about 1400$ have 675m should play games you listed med-high.
A 17.3" usually has extra drive bays from build sites or you may need to convert the dvd drive to a hdd.
I would say for the best upgradable ones, msi, ibuypower, cyberpowerpc, malibal, sager, or xoticpc.
I feel most of the main brands are overpriced for what you get.
I have an msi 219us works well for me, I here some have customer support problems with them, haven't had to deal with it yet.
Friend has a malibal, besides a bad ram stick he hasn't had problems with it yet.
Out of those ibuypower and cyberpower I've only had experience with a cheap cyberpower desktop, the bios needed to be flashed and drivers were out of date all parts were there and it worked though. From the complaints I've seen it sounds like their QA is low meaning I'd check everything is plugged in, sounds to me like they through stuff together quick and ship them them out. Parts are there, sometimes stuff isn't plugged in like hdd or power to cpu for ex. That's what I get from reading reviews on them and my experience.
I think since you plan on opening it up and making modifications right out of the gate you may be fine, check everything when you have it open. Update bios and drivers ect...
I'd say 1. malibal, then 2. msi, and last 3. cyberpowerpc in my experience. The others I haven't used. Malibal and sager are on par more specialized on notebooks for clevo. MSI I think is the only other option to clevo for what you're looking for. ibuypower, cyberpowerpc, and xoticpc have a wide range of products they put together so I think their QA is lower.