Wow, that's a lot to consider. Here's how to straighten this mess out.
AMD rocks, go for it. They offer a great value for the money and are compatible with everything out there today. I have been running AMD for over 5 years, not one complaint to this day.
As for the Video Card, It's really hard to say because not all laptop video cards are created equally. I personally run the Nvidia GeForce 4 440 Go, and it does a great job. Now, is it a GeForce GT? NO. But it's a laptop after all and many things are compramised due to space and heat considerations. Laptops will probably never compete equally with a desktop for performance, expecially for games, but they are making them better now than they used to.
You will want at least 512 Meg of RAM for sure though. DDR is fine, don't get too caught up in the specs as they will eventually just clutter your mind. DDR works, it's cheap, and the way to go.
CDR's are great too if you can get it, and don't count out wireless networking capabilities. The days of wanting that are here now and you won't be sorry you have it.
Good luck. Hope this helps. Just remember-DON'T SPEND A FORTUNE, THE CHEAPER ONES WILL DO WELL FOR WHAT YOU NEED. Don't fall for all the targeted marketing gimmiks, as all of the laptops out there will be out of date by March or April, or whatever.