Originally Posted by snowsurfer
I agree with zmatt fully. Anything over 13.3" and above 4 pounds is just not portable for me. However, and having had several iterations of ThinkPad X series - back in '98 a 1.6kg laptop was quite something - I also don't like or recommend ULV based systems like the current X300 or the Portégé R500, because those ultra-low voltage procs just don't perform well at all, and they are stupidly expensive too. Hence, my Dell XPS1330 is by far the favourite laptop I've ever had, and I've had some very expensive stuff back when my former company used to buy me whatever I wanted.
With the XPS 1330 you can get a real proc (up to T9600), discrete graphics (mine is 8400GS, I think you can spec up to 8600M), and if you need a bigger monitor just use the built in HDMI and plug it in any old HD-Ready set with perfect image quality. There is even a free IR remote in the PC Card slot! All that at 1.8kg (cca 4lb).
As for "gaming" on a laptop, I take a different approach - I just use older games (currently on my laptop: NWN 1 + expansion packs + modules, World of Warcraft, No One Lives Forever 1 & 2). I think I'll pop on Trackmania United soon, that should run well too. It's just a matter of adjusting the mentality a bit. There are plenty of old (and not so old) games that run just fine on a system like this.
I think a low spec 1330 can be had for somewhere around your budget.
EDIT: Something a bit more on topic: Several of my staff have Acer laptops, I get good deals on them, and some have been using theirs for 3 years+ without a problem. So I guess that my experience with them is OK. I like Dell and Lenovo though. Those Lenovos are made to last, really, just like their predecessors (IBM) were. Incredibly sturdy.
I agree 100000% bro. I used to run Civ 3 when I had an x86 laptop and there was nothing wrong with it. The game is awesome and it is practically unpalyable on a 1680x1050 screen since its fixed res.
I have to carry a bunch of other stuff with me every day since I'm a college student. And i have to fit it all into a backpack since I bike to school. So I don't have the luxury of toting an 8 pound monster in a nice leather bag. I carry a 12inch powerbook G4, and although I hate the OS it came with and the hardware is museum quality by modern standards the battery is good, the case is rugged and its light. That's what matters to me. If I were to upgrade today I would consider the Inspiron 13 and the Thinkpad X200. They both fit my needs and are very capable for the size and price.