Sounds to me that you got your mind made up. HPs are good laptops, as I owned a couple of them, and always regretted giving them up. Not that there was anything wrong with them, they are reliable..just wanted the 'better' systems when they come out. Of all the HPs that I owned...Pavilions, XEs, ZEs, and now with my new DV8000, they are responsive, dependable, and I could never tire them out....even if I left them running all night listening to on-line radio. Knowing that the 8000 is similar to the 5000 that you are looking for, I would say that you can't go wrong with it. Mainly just take it out of the box, boot it up, and you are on the go. With the CPU and GPU, you will get 'decent' gaming on it, leaving graphic settings at the 'medium' level. In my experience, Nvidia GPUs are better for gaming, and the Intel Duo would certainly help. But for all other applications, writing papers, watching DVDs, surf the web, the DV5000 will last you a long time to come. Not like you are going to use this thing mainly for gaming....this isn't built for that anyways. The Dell XPS or Alienware laptops are more suited for that, but comes with a huge price tag.
Good luck at Berkely, and your HP laptop!!!!
ah crap. Well, college is about to start in 2 weeks, and I've just begun looking into a laptop. I'm thinking about a dv5000z...because i've found countless sites (msn,yahoo, etc) where they recommend this as the best laptop for college. Not to mention, a lot of the reviews I've read are pretty good. I plan on playing games, listening to music, typing papers, watching movies...i dont know... a lot of things.
current setup for dz5000z: (1,193 w/ HP damage plan)
Windows Xp Media Center
AMD Turion(TM) 64 ML-40 (2.2GHz/1MB L2 Cache)
128MB ATI RADEON(R) XPRESS 200M w/Hypermemory(TM)
1.0GB DDR SDRAM (2x512MB)
120 GB 4200 RPM Hard Drive
LightScribe DVD+/-RW w/Double Layer
12 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
I'm going to berkeley in 2 weeks..and I'm pretty sure they're mac-friendly, but i dont really want to deal w/ learning how to use something else besdies windows.