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Help me choose, please!

February 20, 2013 11:18:30 PM

I'm looking for a new laptop, and I could use some advice from people more knowledgeable than myself.
This will be my only computer, and its primary uses will be as follows:

-Streaming HD sports, netflix and hulu to my flatscreen tv via hdmi cable as a second monitor while I ditz around on the internet.
-I'll dock it to my old desktop peripherals when I want a bigger monitor for word processing or playing with my wacom bamboo tablet.
-The usual internet stuff: e-mail, you tube, browsing forums.

It'll primarily stay at home, so I don't mind it being too big, but since I'll regularly hook it up to my nice monitor or tv, I'm also perfectly happy with a smaller model. So 14-15" seems about right.

I don't do any gaming unless NES emulators count, and I'm not picky about aesthetics.

The catch is that I'd like this computer to be able to continue to be functional in its intended uses for at least 5 years, so I don't want to go too low-end with components.

A couple of friends recommended I look for a 3rd gen i5 processor with 6-8 RAM and at least the intel4000 integrated vid. One of them really recommended I go for a 7200 RPM hard drive, while the other said save my money there and just upgrade to SSD with the 256G drives are affordable enough for me.

The very top of my range is around $650.

My specific questions are as follows:
1. In general, should I got with a 7200 RPM hard drive and figure it will be good enough (if not great) for 5 years? A little lag in booting or loading doesn't bug me too much as long as it streams HD well :)  OR should I go for a similar machine that is cheaper with a 5400 RPM hard drive and then upgrade it to SSD. 256G will be fine for me. I don't store a ton of stuff, and I have a 1T external if needed.

2. Based on the above question, I've gravitated to these three computers:
A) which has the 7200 RPM (and win 7 pro, which is a little bonus for me) maxing out my price range
B) which is identical to above, but with windows 8 and 5400 RPM
C) which is similar to B, but with slightly nicer (is it enough to matter?) hardware, but out of stock everywhere, and I'm sort of impatient.

Of the three, which would work best for me long-term, and are these good deals? I could upgrade B or C's hard drive to SSD next year.

3. Is there something else you'd recommend for me based on my needs? Either different hardware for me to search for or a specific make/model?

Thanks so much!

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