Hey I just graduated and was told I could choose whatever laptop i wanted. Knowing that id probably mess up if I tried to do it alone, I decided to ask all the great people here! I like to play demanding games and edit videos. I would also like some decent data transfer rate on the hard drive. Im not a big fan of apple laptops.
You do not NEED a SSD, and IMO they are not worth it for the price, but many people praise them for them being able to speed up their boot times. yay. They cannot hold as much data as a HDD, but emit less heat, are smaller, and are faster than a HDD. I like Asus laptops and they make much of th laptop themselves instead of taking parts from other makers like Gateway.
Xotic PC has many laptops for gaming or home use/ school. If you want to just to use the laptop normally for movies and some gaming get a 15 inch. If you want portability, get a 13 inch. Get a 17 inch if you are using it for gaming or just want a big screen. IMO 17 inch screens are horrible to travel with because they feel like you are hauling 2 bricks around and they are hard to use on a bus/plane.
For starters, you want an i5 processer. They give the best value for the money and work fine with gaming. However, you plan to have many programs open at the same time, get an i7 quad core. An i7 quad core laptop will give you just over 2 hours battery life however, so you might want to stick with an i5.
For RAM, get at least at least 4GB. The MHZ on ram is only as good as you Front side bus speed. For example, say you get a processor with a 1333 FSB speed, and ram with 1600 MHZ speed, It will only be 1333 MHZ.
For a hard drive, make sure to get at lease a 5,400 rpm 250 GB hard drive, however if you are downloading movies or games, get a 500 GB+ hard drive.
For a graphics card, it all depends on what you are doing. Howwever, all the ivy bridge processers now have intel HD 4000 graphics built in. (They are not that good.)
Don't listen to jimmy, my computer boots in mere seconds on my SSD, not to mention if you install programs you use frequently on it then they will also respond and run much faster. I have an SSD basically just for booting and gaming then everything else is on my HDD's. You're also not getting them for huge amounts of storage but you get it to help in certain respects. Using an SSD for something like storing your music and movies would be pointless but they're great for other things.