I strongly recommend against getting a gaming laptop. I'm currently using an ASUS G53JW-A1 and while it's a darn good laptop (when all the parts are functional), it doesn't compare to even low end desktops for games.
Just get a cheap laptop that runs the stuff you need and stick with desktops for gaming. Plus, Warband runs on a potato, so shouldn't have any trouble with that.
This. Can always just buy a good used laptop for a few hundred dollars and spend the rest building a good desktop PC.
If you have no room though then that might not be an option but it is the better choice.
That being said, any of the third generation ivy bridge laptops would be the best option right now. Not sure how well it would run empire but it has a built in gpu into the cpu die (hd4000) which can handle games pretty well (you can just look up benchmarks to see which games score what at certain resolutions).
Not a big fan of laptops (have had a $2500 in the past, sold it for $500 a few years later
) because there isn't a whole lot you can even customize (internally) on one. At most all you can do is change the ram.
Alright, well some quick pointers before you do anything if you are going to get a laptop:
Go for the highest per-core GH/z possible. You won't need more than 4 cores.
Depends entirely on what applications he will be using. I assume he would need to produce models and whatnot for engineering (autocad perhaps) which may or may not use more then 4 cores. Typically for gaming though, anything more then 4 cores is a waste atm since no games are optimized to run past them really. Only certain programs currently are which are mostly video editing and rendering large amounts of data/video. You would have to find out which programs you will be using to see if having more cores would be of any benefit to you personally.
This is what I had thought about getting. It has a decent graphics card and upgradable RAM to 16g.
Only glaring issue with that is the hard drive which if possible I would suggest getting an ssd (if you plan on buying that). The gpu is probably the 2nd or 3rd best one in current laptops I believe as there is also 660m 670m and 680m above that one (I believe).
Best bang for you buck memory right now are samsung 30nm :http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147090
There is the laptop version. Not sure how many ram slots the laptop has as the description is a little confusing (4GB x 1+2GB x 1). My system (once I get it running) has the ddr3 desktop samsung memory and people have been getting amazing overclock results with them.