Buying a laptop - need help..........

So I’ve decided to buy a laptop. Just got myself a Zen-Micro and feel that my current desktop at home might not be up to adequately assist me in burning cds etc…

I did some searching around, and boy are there plenty of choices out there - I’m stumped. I have no clue as what to look for, where to start, what’s good, what isn’t…so I turn to you guys.

Here’s what I’m looking for;
a relatively fast laptop (512MB or higher) with 40GB or more HD
a screensize of 15" or more
I will most likely only use it for games and burning cds to my MP3 player
Total price below or just about $1K

So what are you guys using out there or can you recommend for my needs? What make/model should I go with?

Any suggestions are greatly apprecaited…

I’ve been very happy with my eMachine Laptop Notebook M6805 Athlon 64 3000+ 15.4" WXGA 512MB 60GB I bought a couple of months ago.

It got good reviews, is fast, has a wide screen, and cost me under $800. Cons are that it has a short battery life, the hinges tend to crack, and gets hotter than blue blazes.

I don’t know about eMachine laptops, but their desktops have a lot of problems. They are much cheaper, though, so if shoddier hardware and lots of pre-installed software doesn’t bother you, then it could be a good route.
What kind of games do you play? If you mean of the solitaire/free-cell variety, almost anything will do. If you want to play the latest and greatest, it might be harder to find one sub-$1k that’ll really work well.

I play pretty simple stuff - Sims2, CivIII, was thinking of picking up Pirates!..I don’t do the big massive first-person shooters or online play