2) What size notebook would you prefer? Between 13''-16''
3) Where will you buying this notebook? You can select the flag of your country as an indicator. Canada
4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like? Doesn't matter
5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed I'd rather have a new one.
6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook? Programming (second year university).
7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both? Taking it to university and back home.
8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games? Yes but i dont expect to run BF 3 on the highest settings. Probably something along the lines of prototype and sc2, but again im not expecting it to run on the highest settings.
9) How many hours of battery life do you need? Minimum of 4 hours.
10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK? No problems buying online.
11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (XP or Vista or Windows 7), Mac OS, Linux, etc. Windows 7.
12) From the choices below, what screen resolution(s) would you prefer? 1280x800 or 1440x900 or 1366 x 768
13) Do you want a Glossy/reflective screen or a Matte/non-glossy screen? Doesn't matter
Build Quality and Design
14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you? No
15) When are you buying this laptop? Preferably before January 10th, 2012.
16) How long do you want this laptop to last? 2-3 years.
17) How much hard drive space do you need; 80GB to 640GB? Do you want a SSD drive? Minimum of 120GB. Doesnt have to be SSD.
18) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a CDRW/DVD-ROM, DVD Burner or Blu-Ray drive? DVD-Rom
If i was you i would wait until january or febuary, Amd radeon 7970 just could benchmarked, meaning 7000 series of amd radeon card are coming very soon, Nvidia will have to release the gtx 600 series as competition, Since they are pci 3 they will have to release with ivy bridge, which will get released in 1-2 months... meaning that prices will drop for amd cpu and amd apu, which means you can get a better system if you wait for 1-2 months
easy way to explaind- wait 1-2 months, new stuff will be released
And if you can't exceed your budget, then how about this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834200340. Its got a core i3 so it'll be slower, but should still be ok for programming at varsity (I'm still using a core 2 duo laptop, which is 4 years old, for exactly that). Also no discrete graphics.
It seems that discrete graphics in your price range aren't easy to get. You may have a problem with the games as a result.
Dell laptops seem to be pretty rugged, plus I quite like the next business day service on their warranties.
Invest in a good backpack bag instead of the traditional laptop bags that you hang over one shoulder - I wish I'd done that years ago.
At your limit I would suggest the ASUS A53TA-EH61 Notebook AMD A-Series A6-3400M(1.4GHz) @ $600 CAD. The CPU is somewhat weak, but the integrated graphics core is better than what Intel has to offer. Since programming doesn't really use too much processing power and you want to play games this would be your best option.