Advice needed: CPU speed and HD rpms


I am helping my girlfriend pick a budget laptop. She is used to Mac but can't afford one right now so she will go PC and Windows 7 (which is no problem since I am a PC person and can help her switch). Basically my aim is to configure a PC similar to the current Macbook 13" but with a 15" or 17" screen for much less money. :D :D .

She wants a basic wordprocessing, email, internet (those three should be able to multitask!) and music and movies computer. And if it wasn't for the risk of not being able to play HD movies, a Celeron cheapo-CPU would probably suffice, but I am going to recommend her a Core 2 Duo lower level CPU. (We will buy Dell as I and my friends have good experiences with them and when I compare I get more bang for my/her buck than if I buy a Acer/Asus/HPCompact in the high street).

But I would like some help with a few questions:

1) CPU: How much more bang does a Core™2 Duo Processor P7450 (3M Cache, 2.13 MHz, 1066 MHz FSB) give compared to a 100€ less expensive Core™2 Duo Processor T6670 (2M Cache, 2.20 GHz, 800 MHz FSB) ? Bear in mind that she will not need to use Photoshop, Excel or Powerpoint.

2) Comparing the two processors above, would the faster processor make the laptop more noisy, other things being equal? (E.g. more heat and more fan activity)

3) What about harddrives? Would you notice a preformance increase if using a 7200rpm drive as compared to a 5400rpm drive? Or would you only see the difference when running beanch mark software?

4) And again, would a 7200rpm drive generate more noise (from itself of from the fan) than a 5400rpm drive?

Thanks a lot!
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  1. 1. The difference between the two CPUs is negligible. The extra money spent for the better CPU isn't worth it.

    2. Since they perform very near one another, any additional heat or noise can also be considered negligible.

    3. She may notice a performance difference in terms of boot-up time and time it takes to start applications, but that, also, is a pretty small difference.

    4. Hard disks do not have active cooling solutions (fans) in notebooks, so they will not create additional fan noise. Usually manufacturers put quiet disks in their notebooks, so I doubt the disk itself will be making a lot of noise. The 7200RPM disk will make slightly more heat...but not to the effect of actually noticing it.
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