In my view the refurbished 15.6" 15R Special Edition with better specs (e.g., 7730M 2GB) is a better deal for $20 more, assuming you're not specifically looking for a 17.3". This Sony is still a great deal though.
7730 is definitely a better card, by a lot, but some people like the extra real estate. Also the product is new compared to refurbish which matters to some but not all. I know I dont mind used/refurbished products as long as the price is right. Also im not sure but does the 15R have back lit keyboard that is a deal killer for some.
Low-Medium settings with new games without a problem. Max settings not with newer games, older games no problem.