Your laptop can play Skyrim just fine despite not being able to play the other games you listed? That's great actually; I'm still stuck playing Morrowind on my laptop, trying to make my game look as good as possible without having to suffer any frame rate drops, so no Morrowind Graphics Extender Vurt's trees for me.
I also had no idea you travel so often. What do you do?
Not traveling yet. I'm applying for a job that will be nothing but traveling. My internship boss used to work for a lot of TV truck companies. It's all traveling around the country with giant remote broadcast trucks. I would be an engineer there. I'm actually gonna put my application for like...four different companies this week. He knows people at all four of them, so his recommendation letter will carry a lot of weight. He's also going to be making some phone calls for me after I put in my paperwork.
You spend a ton of time on the road going wherever the truck goes. And these companies own everything. They do everything from sports, to town hall meetings, to presidential inaugurations, to live concerts and etc. Anything that could require a remote broadcast trucks. They also own some studios that do shows and movies. I hope I get a job at
.o. yeah, I thought it was weird that it could handle skyrim and not everything else. But my laptop literally just shut down when I booted up dead island. I think at the end of the day, it really comes down to what shaders the game incorporates. Dead island and Metro2033 are very unique in their graphics, in the same way bioshock was unique. Skyrim is such an open world that for playability I think they allowed graphics to be turned down even further. I have a lot of mods on my Skyrim and it still runs just fine. I never had lag and the frame rate isn't the greatest, but it's easily playable.
PC gamer has a lot of good recommendations, and I liked that 3 of them were under $1200, which is about what I was going to spend on a gaming desktop that I was going to build. Surely the gaming desktop would be more powerful, but I'm okay with less so long as everything runs okay. I have a pretty decent headset right now, and I also have a wireless xbox controller for my PC. It's just hard to pick one when all of the specs are pretty similar. No matter what I get, I'm going to get a external fan board for it.