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New laptop upgrade - seeking advice

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I am sure that everyone will have a different opinion, but I am seeking some general advice for upgrading my laptop. I will begin graduate school in just over a month. This will be used for school and everyday tasks. I am not a gamer, though I do sometimes run some memory/cpu intensive software. My current laptop is roughly 10 years old and I desperately need to upgrade before school starts. I haven't kept up with which manufactures are good and which ones to avoid. My budget is around ~$1000 and am hoping that possibly there may be a student discount offer I could take advantage of. My courses will be 100% online. Below are some features I am looking for in the laptop.

  • Need laptop rather than desktop
  • Interested in Windows, and not interested in Apple.
  • I prefer hardware capabilities and don't care how the laptop looks or how thin it is.
  • I like larger screens (15"+, 17") and full keyboards with a numeric keypad.
  • I'd say minimum 8GB RAM, but I'd definitely prefer more if I can afford it.
  • Would prefer SSD to improve speed and I guess 250GB minimum?
  • Not sure which CPU I should be looking for?
  • Would integrated graphics be enough, or do I need to upgrade the graphics card?
  • Battery life is lower priority since I anticipate I'll mostly be working while I can plug in. But prefer larger battery over thinner laptop.
  • Prefer laptop with ports, rather than the thin laptops with less ports

I'd appreciate any advice and recommendations for upgrading to a new laptop. Thanks

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