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Laptop for college

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Hi there,

I've been roaming the boards for a while but decided to make an account because I have a question. I am going off to berkeley next year to study computer science, and with money from graduation, am buying a laptop.

I come here for advice because I have never owned a laptop before. I consider myself good with computers, but don't know much about the laptop world.

  • Price? Not a big issue, no more than 1800 I'd say, but no use in spending more money when I won't use the extra features.
  • Mac or Windows? I'm heavily leaning towards Windows as I consider myself very proficient with it (whereas I have only slight experience with macs), but if someone wants to try to change my mind, go ahead.
  • What will I be using it for? General use (web brower, IM, MS Office), some gaming (WoW perhaps, nothing serious and too graphic intensive), some programming, some design work (Photoshop, web design, etc)
  • Size? The laptop will mainly be sitting in my dorm room, but I need it to be small and light enough that I can carry it throughout the hilly campus: to the library, class, etc. My dad has a 13 inch which seems to small and my mom a 17 inch which seems WAY too big. I'm thinking in the 14-15 range. Your recommendations are appreciated.
  • Specs? At the minimum 2 gigs of memory and a decent dual core processor. I'm a sucker for good screen resolution too, don't want to be on a 1024x768 or anything.
  • Other factors? I'd like it to be sleek, pretty, have a nice smooth look to it. A built in webcam would be nice, but if a laptop is perfect for me in every other way, then I guess I can buy an external one. As for battery life, I will be using it on planes and trains, so it should last for a few hours.

So far the Dell XPS 1530 looks nice. Any comments about it?

Thanks so much for any help!
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