OS: Windows XP SP2 / Windows Vista / Windows 7 (32 or 64-bit)
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 Ghz or AMD Athlon X2 3800+
Memory: 1GB RAM
Video: NVIDIA GeForce 7950 / ATI Radeon X1800 / Intel HD Graphics
Sound: DirectX 9.0c Compatible Soundcard
DirectX: Version 9.0c or Higher
HDD: 10GB Free Disk Space
Network: Internet Broadband Connection Required
Disc: 6X DVD-ROM
These are the minimum requirements....
Basically what you need to run the game on the lowest settings...
To give you an idea of what is needed, and I obviously don't have the best setup in the forums...
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
AMD Phenom II x4 955BE @3.71ghz
8gb DDR2 1000 RAM
ATI Radeon 4870 1gb @ 1920x1200 w/ 27.5" Hanspree LCD
Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtremegamer
2TB of HD space
I can max out all of the details, AA and AF settings, view distances, etc and having a playable framerate around 45-60fps.
You build a cheap comp you get cheap and lacking performance. I think it's been reiterated a few times already. Secondly, any serious gamer would never look to buying a laptop to play anything. Alienware has a few high end models that would handle most games with ease, but they cost a premium.
In short, a sub $500 laptop, let alone a sub-$1000 laptop will never be sufficient to max out the details in this game. An E-machine or any other bargain model is not going to let you max settings on this or any other more recent game.
Most serious gamers either spend alot on a prebuilt, or build their own comps. There is no easy way around this, sorry.