well a PC's components will be better, but the Core 2 Duo's are great, even in notebooks.
for a not-too-pricey 17" gaming notebook, check out the Dell e1705. has Core 2 Duo and a 7900gs.
the guys in the Dell forums here could...
Asus S96j barebones can be configured with
Windows XP Home
Core 2 Duo T5600 1.83
1 GB DDR-2 677 RAM
80GB 5400rmp SATA HD
Intel PRO/WIreless 3945 Tri-Mode 801.11a/b/g
8 x DVD-RW
Asus has some models that fit. for a start check out the S96J
Core 2 Duo T2700
2GB Kingston DDR2 677
100GB 7200 RPM
8x DVD RW
for around $1500 from gentechpc
the surface of my A8j scratches really easily.
the touchpad is wonderful to use if you have a light touch. if you press hard and try to move the mouse it's difficult.
the keyboard is fine. mouse buttons do require some pressure.