Recently bought this for the exact same purposes and extremely similar constraints you're running with:http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=77114&vpn=S46CM-DH71-CA&manufacture=ASUS
I got mine at London Drugs -- they sold me an extra two years warranty for $160 so now I have four years total warranty with one year accidental.
I know you can get more power for less but I think the super reasonable warranty and super low failure rates of Asus laptops are worth the slight premium.
Also of interest:http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=77113&vpn=S46CM-DH51-CA&manufacture=ASUS
My review: I kinda wish I had a quad core but honestly that's just in my head. The card is underpowered but I have come to realize how outrageously low powered all mobile products are. For your price range and needs, you will be hard pressed to find a better product.
Cheers, interested to know whatever you choose.
LOLOL only for a couple more bucks than you want to spend and a bit too big. /endtroll