i5 > i3 > A6 as far as pure processing power is concerned.
The integrated graphics of the A6 is better than either the i5 or i3, though, should you ever want to game any. There's a bit of a caveat there, too, though, since the A6 is a relatively weak and slow CPU, in general, and wouldn't be that great for gaming in and of itself.
Yes, because you totally need a super duper fast processor to run Microsoft Office to take notes in class, or type a report, or use google to research. *facepalm* Hell, my 5 year old Core2Duo laptop can still do that, so can my Athlon TF-20 laptop (although it is a heap compared to the Core2) the OP didn't say anything about gaming on it.
In all seriousness, all 3 (and 4 if you include my alternate) will probably do what you said you needed done. The thing about laptops though, now I normally do not advocate "future-proofing" (spending more money on components that have more power than you need under the pretense that they'll last longer), but the problem is with laptops is they're more costly, inherently not as powerful as desktops, and not as easily upgradeable.
A little bit of "future-proofing" may not be as unwise on a laptop. However, you have to consider the fact that just like desktop future-proofing, it may be cheaper just to buy a $300 laptop that does what you need it to, then toss it in the garbage in a couple years, buy another $300 laptop then spend $1000 on one with lots more bells and whistles then you really need and hope it lasts you 8 years.
the some programming in this case means im not quite sure just yet, im assuming its not very intensive, im going into 1st year network security i mean, it shouldn't be too intensive.
Probably not lol. I haven't made it to network security yet, probably next semester for that one. I took Unix, I wrote a script file.. on my Acer with the turd of a CPU Athlon 1 (not 2 mind you) single core 1.6GHZ! That laptop sucks so bad it ain't even funny.
I'm not a big fan of the A6 either honestly. A8, yea, it would get my vote. 1 PileDriver module (2 cores) is not powerful enough to stand alone as far as I'm concerned.
Or is the A6 a quad? *double checks the specs*
yick, 1.5GHZ on PileDriver? Screw that.
Edit number 2: lol, its a Llano. Wow, I really should go to bed, at this point.