Need a new system for university - must be prebuilt.

I posted this in the wrong category, so if you re-read this in mobile please just ignore it. I'm apparently just a meatball today.

Hi everyone,

I've long been a reader of this forum, lots of great advice on here. I am planning to purchase a new system for school by the end of august. Below I have listed the components on the two machines

Dell XPS 15 1077.95$ + tax
Intel i7-2630QM @ 2.00 ghz with TurboBoost up to 2.9 ghz (4 Cores / 8 Threads)
Nvidia GT 540M 2GB GDDR3
750GB HDD (7200 rpm)
1080P Display
8x CD/DVD Drive

Apple iMac 21.5" 1149$ + tax
Intel i5-2400s @ 2.50 ghz with TurboBoost up to 3.3 ghz (4 Cores/ 4 Threads)
ATI Radeon 6750m 512mb GDDR5
500GB HDD (7200 rpm?)
1080P Display
8x CD/DVD Drive

Mobility isn't a huge concern to me, I presently have a laptop I could use should I need to use one.

I'll be using this machine to do:

Presentations / Papers (General school work)
Light Photoshop work
Entertainment (maybe once an adapter comes out I could use the iMac as a display for my xbox360?)
Playing Starcraft 2 / Portal 2 (I'm really not that big of a gamer, but I'd like to play the games in high quality)

I'd prefer to avoid the fan boy discussions etc. and just come to a conclusion. I have built computers through highschool but that was 5-7 years ago, and now with all the new technology that has come out since then it's rather overwhelming to get back into it. I'm particularly confused about GDDR3 vs GDDR5. On both cards scored -/+ 5% of one another's benchmarks, as well I'm a little lost about the i7/i5.

I would like to keep this computer for the next 3-5 years, once I finish university in the next two I can build my own full desktop once again.

If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to contribute :D
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  1. That Dell XPS laptop cost a little less than Apple but still it overkills it. While it has a default processor clock 20% lower than the Apple, it has a better processor, and it possess hyper-threading capability making it more powerful in theory.

    Ok maybe you won't be using that much horse power, you could do more things at the same time: download a lot of files + watch Dr.House + burn a DVD + compress data using your favorite software + do your homework, all at the same time (this may be a bit inefficient as most of the time you will be distracted but still it has the potential. ^^)

    Also that bigger HDD makes it the way to go if you wanna stock some movies, mp3, your homework and games why not.
  2. Thanks MrBig55. I've always been slightly weary of the Mac craze, with an HDMI out I could just purchase a 21 - 24" HD monitor with multiple hdmi ports and use that for my xbox as well ... I just really enjoy the design concept mac has, if only they had the components to support it.
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