My budget for the new computer is:
My budget for the computer is around $700, I could go up to around $800 but I don't really want to spend more than that.
What are the primary uses for this computer (IE: mail, web browsing, programming, games, etc)?
Web browsing, watching movies/tv shows, listening to music, some gaming, some light video/photo editing nothing crazy.
What software do you intend on using on the computer?
Microsoft office, Sony Vegas, Photoshop, some games.
Do you play games? If so, what type of games?
The games I'm really interested in playing on it would be Super Street Fighter 4 AE2012 and The Mass Effect Trilogy.
I'd be fine running them with fairly light settings, I don't care about the highest resolutions and AA I just want them to run smooth.
Do you tend to have a lot of programs running at the same time, or do you close every program when you are done using it?
I generally don't have too much running at one time probably just a web browser, a music player, and one other program.
Do you store a lot of pictures or music on the computer?
I'm not worried about storing too much on the laptop because I already have a desktop with tons of storage.
-I want to go with an Intel proc, I'm thinking something like the 2.5 Core i5.
-I'm looking for somewhere between 4-6 gigs of ram
-500-750Gb hard drive would be prefferable, but I'd be willing to go as low as 320 (I'm thinking I'll probably swap it out for a ssd somewhere down the road so the only real limitation here is that it has to have a user serviceable drive bay)
-I'm pretty open to different screen sizes but I'm looking for something between 14"-17"
-Good battery life would be nice but it's not a huge deal for me because I'm usually plugged in
-As far as brands go I have had good experiences with Dell, Asus, and Acer laptops, and bad experiences with HP but I'd like to know other peoples thoughts on different brands so any suggestions would be appreciated.
-Video card is where I think I need the most help. I really just want something that will play the games I listed but mobile graphics are probably the thing I know least about in terms of computer hardware. I was thinking about something like the NVIDIA GeForce GT series but I've been reading a lot of reviews of people having problems with the "Optimus" technology. I was wondering if these are just old problems that have since been resolved with new drivers or if these are problems that aren't going away. Basically if anyone knows about this Optimus and could tell me if it runs nicely or not that would be helpful
-One last thing is I really don't love all the island key style keyboard that seem to be on every laptop available. I'm pretty much resigned to just accepting this but a laptop without this would be a bonus.