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Urgent: Laptop Recommendations, Please?

December 10, 2012 1:20:23 AM

I'm no tech whiz, and I've become VERY overwhelmed with trying to find a laptop. I'm starting an assignment right after Christmas, so I need to order it ASAP. Can anyone offer a recommendation? I'd really appreciate it!

1. Budget? $1200

2. Size? 13-14" (or a very portable 15")

3. Screen Resolution? No idea. I tend to stack windows (e.g. PowerPoint, Word, and internet), if that matters.

4. Portable or desktop replacement? Portable - light enough to lug around every day, but capable enough to serve as my only computer

5. Battery life needs? As long as possible... 6 hours minimum?

6. Gaming? The Sims 3 is the only game I play. I'd like it to run on high, if possible.

7. Other tasks? Some SAS/STATA and GIS work. Mainly streaming videos.

8. Storage capacity? Preferably 750GB, but 500GB would probably be sufficient.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
I've been thinking about this one:
Sony VAIO 13.3" S Series, i7, 8GB, 500GB, AMD Radeon HD 6630M (1 GB). I'd get the sheet battery, too.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? As long as possible.

11. Optical drives you need? Just CD/DVD.

12. Brands? Vaio's been good to me. I've had the same Vaio laptop since 2006 and it's still going strong. I'm definitely open to other brands (except Apple).

13. What country do you live in? USA

14. Additional info:
- Prefer a sleeker look.
- Prefer Windows 7.
- Will be traveling with this laptop pretty much everyday.
- It will serve as my only computer and must be moderately durable.
- I'll be doing international development work, so reliability is important - don't want to stuck trying to get it serviced abroad.