So then it's probably not overpriced? I still love my Lenovo Y530 though, it's been all over the world with me and it's still spittin' a mean game.
Those non-ThinkPad Lenovos are probably among the most underrated machines out there IMO. They're reasonably priced, have decent specs and the build quality isn't half-bad either. Get the right deal and you can have an i5, 4GB RAM and a decent sized HDD for under a grand. The catch, though, is they mostly have Intel integrated graphics which makes them unsuitable in this case, but for a large chunk of the market, they're brilliant.
My sister has an older model, a 3000 C200, that she paid about AUD$735 (sticker price was 899, but she got employee discount on it) for about 4 years ago and it's been a great little machine for her. Initial spec wasn't great: 1.6GHz Celeron M, 512MB RAM and a 60GB HDD, but it was par for the course at the time and almost enough for what she needed. It's still going strong, though I've since upgraded it with a 2GHz C2D, 4GB (though due to chipset/BIOS limitations, only 3GB is visible to the OS) RAM and a 250GB HDD which made it more than a match for anything in the same price bracket prior to the arrival of i3/i5 models.
Ok... I've never had my RAM use less than 1.2GB on my machine. Well, assume between 512Mb and 2Gb, but the more, the better.
As for the RAM, remember that W7 requires atleast 1.5GB just to run it's operating system
No it doesn't. I've used Win7 with 512MB RAM.
I think there's also some kind of pre-caching and allocation voodoo going on in the background that self-adjusts based on how much RAM the system has as well. Vista had something similar, but it had a tendency to go overboard leading to higher than expected memory use. I hardly ever see it drop below 1GB on my 4GB systems either, but on 2GB machines or below it sits around 600-700MB...