two things to remember:
1 that 17" is huge, it will take up alot of deskspace
2 the 8 cell battery will be heavy and I highly doubt you'll get anywhere near the specs listed
Also, get an additional warranty. Asus's warranty is good for 2 years, 1 year on the battery(which will drain in a year, trust me).
Think about lugging it around along with textbooks or even in it's own bag. It will get heavy quick.
I have a 15" Sager NP8662 and it only gets 2hrs battery life, so carrying it's charger sucks. Its a pain to have to lug around in a laptop bag(seperate from books) but then again I can plug it into my desktop LCD and play GTA4 or Prototype.
Nobody else's can do that.