2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
3. What screen resolution do you want?
4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
5. How much battery life do you need?
preferably 3 + hours but negotiable
6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
starcraft II, would like medium-high setting
7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
video viewing, iming, note taking, internet surfing.
8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
heard good things about Asus, but is willing to consider all brands that provide good laptop
13. What country do you live in?
14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
Dell XPS 15 $800 has all your requirements nicely covered.
Core i5-2410M 2.3GHz Sandy Bridge CPU, 4GB RAM 500GB 7200rpm HDD 15.6" 1366x768 LCD w/ GT 525M graphic card/Optimus
For an extra $100 you can upgrade the graphics card to GT 540M.
Another $150 would get you a 1920x1080 LCD screen if you want to squeeze that into the top end of your budget. You can probably catch a sale or a coupon and get it at the top end of your budget.
From Asus and equipped very similar to the XPS 15 (except the GT 540M is standard at the base price): ASUS K53SV-A1 $829 not yet available - but you can get a pre-order in now.
Core i5-2410M 2.3GHz Sandy Bridge CPU, 4GB RAM 640GB 5400rpm HDD 15.6" 1366x768 LCD w/ GT 540 graphic card/Optimus
I am very happy with your recommendation, but there are just a few things that I have in the back of my mind to ask:
How long would the battery life last after a full charge?
Are the $100 and $150 upgrades you mentioned really worth it for the improvement, (mainly for playing starcraft 2 and watching high end videos)?
Can you enlighten me about the difference of i5 and i7 and how much that matters in the specific usages I have mentioned above?
Also, in the past I have had multiple problems with my laptop which failed on me with a broken screen and ended up with no warranty. Would you recommend to purchase a better warranty plan just to be safe?
Overall, I think that I am probably going to make this purchase, but just need a few more clarifications and ideas.
Thank you so much for the friendly recommendation!
Battery life: depends on usage. Check the Dell review for more info.
The Dell review used the optional 9 cell battery and got a max life of 9hr in 'class note-taking mode' vs 4'48" in WiFi web surfing mode. With the standard 6 cell battery you can probably expect 5.5hr note taking mode and 3.5hr WiFi surfing.
The upgrade options are more along the line of luxuries.
Video card upgrade is no added benefit to HD video watching. If you're at all concerned about wanting to play a 2013 game the GT 540M might be a good option.
For just SCII there doens't seem to be a $100's worth of improvement.
Full HD 1920x1080 screen. Not a requirement for classwork, HD video or playing SCII. It does help you see more of your term papers on screen at the same time. And of course it's good for HD video and games.
For the workload you describe there doesn't seem to be much benefit going from the fast dual core to the slightly less faster clocked quad core CPU.
Here is an Asus K53E dual-core Sandy Bridge notebook review
It's not identical to the model suggested above - for example there is no graphics card in the review model - just the IGP.
And the CPU is different. But it's close enough in the chassis and LCD screen, battery life, etc, to give you a pretty good idea what the Asus is like.