I know he wants a large screen, and that the battery life is less important. It's more of a portable desktop replacement than a laptop. He does some photo editing, and wants to be able to game with it. (Civ 5; CoD4; or whatever else we end up playing LAN). Hence the 17" screen.
I was trying to choose between the sager 5170 and the G73 because both were in the $800-1200 budget range.
It's a shame about the 540m; being able to have the sandy bridge and upgrade the GPU later if he actually needed to would have been awesome.
He may want to do that anyways, as some of the g73 screens are quite poor, and photo editors can be quite picky about their screens >_>