Originally Posted by xzfuzzyzx
How about this
Lenovo have a there ultrabay, you can either have a bluray, 2nd gpu, 2nd hdd/ssd or extra cooling.
Thanks, I was actually looking at this series as well, and its one of my considerations in addition to the ones previously recommended in this thread. I've honed my search a bit now that I've become aware of things like Optimus, and that there's actually technology out there to switch to integrated to save power when not in use (which is exactly what I need). Right now I'm looking up the various Clevo base models (used in the xoticpc builds) to see what their estimated battery life is during wi-fi use. I'm thinking 5 hours would probably be enough, which means laptops like the Alienware 14 still would work, depending on more reviews of battery life (even knowing its excessive and overpriced).
To be clear, my schedule will probably look like this:
Work-8-4, no battery usage
At school 5-7, lounging somewhere probably plugged in, either working on papers/readings or wasting time playing games
In class 7-10, taking notes, unplugged
Since I'll never be at school with no recharge options for an extended period of time (6-8 hours), a battery life between 8-10 hours isn't really beneficial. At no point am I likely to be playing/tabbing in games while in class (hopefully...), so 4-5 hours should be enough since I don't keep brightness on very high and I'm sure in some classes I'll disable wi-fi completely. The desire for a gaming (capable) laptop is the diversity it gives me. Having possible downtime in between work and class will be when I get the most of the laptop. When I'm at home, the laptop will be used when I don't want to sit at a desk to write a paper (and this desktop for heavy gaming).
Alternatively, I could get a computer that doesn't have a dedicated graphics card and run Guild Wars 2 on the lowest settings if I really feel the need to waste some time. Its really the only game I currently play, and its not the highest graphics intensive game out there. Thanks again for all the suggestions, its really enlightened me on the laptop market out there.