My wife was kind enough to let me go purchase a new laptop. I chose the Asus G73SW-A2. Aside from games, I’m doing a lot of work with virtualization, and the 16GB of RAM will make this easier. I got the laptop on Amazon for about $2000 plus shipping. It’s a great value.
Getting Ubuntu running smoothly was a little rougher then on my “old” Acer but it wasn’t awful. I wouldn’t suggest trying it unless you’re comfortable with Ubuntu and the command line. Things that didn’t work out of box included screen dimming, suspend/hibernate, and the keyboard backlight. I went here to get instructions to fix these items. The webcam works out of box.
Getting WoW running was straightforward. I installed the Nvidia 3d drivers via the System/Administration/Additional Drivers menu, installed some build tools like this:
sudo apt-get build-dep wine
I then downloaded the latest wine, compiled and installed it. I copied my .wine-wow directory from my old laptop and ran the launcher.