So, yeah. I want a gaming laptop that is mobile, and still has decent power. Keep in mind, this does not mean running on battery while gaming, that would be ridiculous for a gaming laptop. Yes, a desktop would have equal or better performance at the same prices, and I can build it myself, but I need the mobility. I have looked at the Alienware 13, put the dual core i7 and thickness is off-putting. Any suggestions?
If the Alienware 13 was in your sights, check out the Gigabyte P34W. It's a 14", but lighter than the Alienware (1.8 kg vs 1.97 kg), thinner (21mm vs 28mm), and only slightly bigger (340x239mm vs 328x235mm). It's got a quad core i7 and 970m, mSATA SSD + HDD. I get about 4.5 hours on battery with mine (not gaming).
The main drawbacks are noise when gaming - I usually game in stealth mode which limits the CPU and GPU clocks so it performs more like a 960m, but the noise is then tolerable. At full clocks you'll want headphones or an external monitor and keyboard to filter out the noise. And the fit and finish quality seems to be spotty. Mine is great, but based on the owner's forum mine seems to be the exception.
A lot of people consider it a good, cheaper alternative to the Razer Blade 14 which costs over $2k.
Gigabyte also makes a 15.6" version with optical drive and bigger battery, that you can get with up to a 980m (though that option is probably out of your price range). The P35K, P35W, and P35X. I'd avoid the K as they've switched screens and seem to now be shipping it with a TN panel instead of IPS like the earlier reviews say.